Depression and Anxiety
Large studies have not been done to see how common mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, are among South Asians. However, smaller community-based studies have shown that South Asians underutilize medical services related to diagnosing and treating these types of mental health conditions.
Unfortunately, the stigma associated with discussing psychiatric disease prevents many South Asians from discussing common problems like depression and anxiety with family members, friends and even their own doctors. Both men and women often accept their mental condition as a product of their given role or duties in society without seeking adequate help. The stressors of achieving financial stability, juggling family responsibilities, and fitting into a new society without the support of extended family members can make South Asian who have migrated to the United States particularly susceptible to these types of conditions.
Causes of Depression and Anxiety
People are often hesitant to disclose these conditions since they feel it may be a sign of personal weakness. It is important for both men and women to understand that depression and anxiety are medical conditions, just like high blood pressure or diabetes. The cause is usually related to an imbalance of serotonin, a chemical in the brain that affects emotions and behavior. These conditions can be inherited from your family or can exist without any family history. Stress, medical illness and certain medications may trigger an episode of depression and/or anxiety. In many individuals depression and/or anxiety may exist even without any specific triggering events or causes.
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Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety
Symptoms of depression include the following:
- Feeling sad for most of the day
- Inability to enjoy daily activities
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Significant increase or decrease in weight
- Frequent thoughts of death or suicide
- Agitated movements or slow movement
- Difficulty sleeping
- Muscle tension
- Dry mouth
Last reviewed: 2012
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MySahana: A South Asian Mental Health Nonprofit