Know Depression, If You Ever Have to Face It

A study conducted by the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) on “Preventive Healthcare: Impact on Corporate Sector” reveals something very shocking – it states that around 42.5 percent of the corporate employees suffer from depression or general anxiety disorder! This report is based on the view of 1,250 corporate employees across companies in different sectors.

Several other studies show that at some or the other point in their lives, 10-25% women and 5-12% of men are likely to be clinically depressed. So much so, that doctors and researchers have even started referring to it as a ‘common cold’. It not only causes difficulty for those who suffer from it but also puts their friends and family members in a paralytic situation because of not knowing how they can help.

So what exactly is clinical depression? It is more than just experiencing temporary feelings of sadness or anxiety. It’s a condition in which the victim’s mind and body are severely affected, impacting aspects of his daily life such as eating, sleeping, working, relationships, and what he thinks of himself. What is worse is that there is no way they can simply force themselves to feel better or snap out of their situation. Lack of appropriate treatment can keep them suffering for weeks, months or even years.

However, the upside of it is that once the person accepts or knows that he is depressed, very effective treatments are available for his treatment. Only one-third of the people suffering from it know about it and are ready to seek treatment. Truth is that 80-90% of those who seek treatment can feel better just within a few weeks. But the problem lies in acceptance. People feel that being depressed is a result of personal weakness or a flaw in the character. This is just a myth. Similar to other diseases like diabetes or heart problems, depression is an illness that needs to be treated by a health professional or physician.

There are various types of depression such as Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymic Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Cyclothymic Disorder, mood disorder due to a general medical condition, Substance-Induced Mood Disorder, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Postpartum Depression, or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. Some of these are the milder forms of it while some have some major side effects and need a close diagnosis. To identify the issue, you need to know the symptoms of depression. Here are some of the common symptoms:

  • Feelings of sadness, anxiety or emptiness
  • Low levels of energy and fatigue
  • Losing interest in activities that were once enjoyable
  • Insomnia or oversleeping
  • Losing weight or appetite, or gaining weight and overeating
  • Feeling hopeless and pessimistic
  • Feeling helpless and worthless
  • Attempting suicide
  • Finding it difficult to concentrate, make decisions or remember
  • Restlessness, irritability, and perpetual crying

People who are depressed may not always experience all of the above symptoms. Some may have many and some may have just a few. If you or any of your closed ones happen to experience some of them for a long period of time or have doubts about whether it is depression or not, it is best to consult a physician or qualified mental health professional and get it diagnosed.

Being depressed can have some serious adverse effects on the life of the sufferer. It can end up impairing their ability to sleep, eat, work, and act normal in a social environment. It can damage their self-esteem, self-confidence, and the ability to perform daily tasks. They may tire easily, not get a good night’s sleep, and have no motivation left in life.

So keeping a daily check on health and consulting the doctor at the right time in case of any of the symptoms is the best thing to do, rather than sulking in the situation and making it worse with every passing day.

5 Technology Trends Set to Revolutionize Healthcare

This year has been a promising year so far and has a lot more in store for the coming months too. Technology and innovation are on the high rise in all sectors, right from software to e-commerce and manufacturing to media. The man is more ambitious than ever and wants things to be done optimally, in an intelligent manner, and with efficient use of available resources. While the scope for every individual in the professional world is vast, the fast-paced world requires every individual to take good care of his health. With the growth in technology, we are seeing some great innovations and introductions being made in this sector too. Innovators are working towards digitisation of records and processes for more accurate results. According to a study by Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research, digital health care will revolutionise the industry and help reduce the costs up to $305 billion! Yes, that’s the kind of impact that technology can create.

So what are some of the new products or processes that doctors are practitioners are resorting to? Let’s take a look:

1) 3D Printing:

3D Printing in the world of healthcare has taken the dynamics of the industry to a whole new level. Right from hearing aids to braces and even prosthetics, this technology is being used on a large scale. Align Technology prints 650,000 pairs of teeth-straightening braces a day. In one of the latest developments, a 3D printer was used for facial prosthetics (noses, ears, etc.) The newest experimentation is organ printing. A California-based research company has printed human liver tissue for drug toxicity testing purposes and is working towards building a technology to carry out bio-printing of whole organs.

2) Brain-Computer Interfaces:

This high-tech software is designed in such a manner that it lets paraplegics and quadriplegics control computer cursors using their brains. Newer developments are looking at building devices which can control robotic limbs or even restore the functionality in paralysed limbs. Companies such as Muse and NeuroSky have been working on developing wireless headsets with brain-computer interfaces, which will be capable of monitoring changes in brainwave activity and concentration. Eventually, they plan to use it for patients suffering from Alzheimer or for pain management, and other such problems.

3) Artificial Intelligence:

Supercomputers have been used for all sorts of activities and now they are being incorporated in the premise of healthcare too. Once loaded with all the possible information from journal articles, medical textbooks to actual information revealed by patients, these supercomputers become extremely helpful and act as a robust diagnostic aid for everything. They have been used for training medical students as well managing the treatment of lung cancer.

4) Smart Medication:

A lot of times, doctors take time to decipher the disease a patient is suffering from. A complete body diagnosis is time-consuming and could put the patient’s life in jeopardy, in the case of a severe case of a fatal disease. With the introduction of smart medication in the form of implantable electronics in the body, this process can be carried out much faster and in an efficient manner. Innovators are also coming up with ingestible technologies, which can convey all the information about the patient to the doctor, and avoid the complication of a surgical implant.

5) Healthcare IoT:

A report from MarketResearch.com suggests that the healthcare Internet of Things market segment is slated to hit $117 billion by 2020. 2015 brought about the era of wearable technology like Fitbit that allows patients to keep a regular tab on their health by the use of numbers.  This data is empowering people to live healthier lives. With ‘Internet of Things’, consumers can now take better control of their health and that too in a very personalized manner. Through the analysis of personal data, data from electronic health records, diagnostic information, and monitors, physicians can take better health decisions for their patients and it also enables patients to take a more active role in managing their personal health. Healthcare IoT is fundamentally changing the way chronically ill patients take care of their health as well as the masses take measures to remain healthy.

The healthcare industry as a whole is large and is made up of various aspects. So bringing about changes on a global level is going to be a great challenge. But the benefits that it will provide doctors, patients and the industry as a whole will make all the efforts totally worth it!