Across the world, 280 million people suffer from depression. This makes it one of the most common conditions, and of that 280 million people, women are twice as more likely to be prone to depression than men.
In this week’s Health For Mzansi podcast, we chat with Dr Erica Munnik from Cape Town. She is an associate professor at the department of psychology at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and a registered clinical psychologist at the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPSA).
To understand what the research is showing us, we need to understand the condition, says Munnik. She explains that depression is a globally recognised condition and it is categorised as a mood disorder.
Some of the main symptoms of depression are:
- Isolation (more common among women)
- Lack of interest in activities previously enjoyed
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Difficulty sleeping/ sleeping too much
- No appetite/over-eating
- Lack of concentration/memory
- Destructive behaviour
We all have bad days, moments of sadness or anger, struggle to sleep due to stress or experience a lack of concentration as a result of fatigue. However, when diagnosing an individual with depression you have to look at the duration and the intensity of the condition, explains Munnik. A diagnosable sign will be that the individual has experienced symptoms for about two weeks. In more severe and chronic cases, symptoms have a duration of about two years.
In the podcast, Munnik also delves into:
The prevalence of depression amongst women and factors such as:
- Genetics (family line of depression);
- Hormonal influxes (adolescent development, childbirth and menopause);
- Brain structure (women more vulnerable to emotions and sensitivity); and
- Environment (role of women in society and household).
She also discusses support systems and how creating awareness around this theme is beneficial to women suffering from this condition.
Listen to the full interview on the Health For Mzansi podcast:
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Google Podcasts: Click here to listen on Google Podcast.
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