Psychologist: Depression triggers chemical imbalance in the brain leading to suicide

Politician Gladys Chania from Kiambu County. [courtesy]

A few days ago, a prison warder at the Industrial Area Remand Prison Felix Kiprono turned the gun to himself and took away his life.

He was only 35 but domestic issues took a toll on him. Kiprono was at the watchtower executing his duties when he shot himself.

His was a classic case of depression that hit suicidal levels. It is just one of the many that have been reported.

Felix Kiprono, a prison warder who shot himself dead at the Industrial Area Remand Prison watch tower

Counselling psychologist Gladys Chania in an exclusive interview with Jamhuri News said depression is turning out to be a cause for concern in society. Many people are suffering in silence.

She defines depression as a mood disorder that can lead to suicidal thoughts often affecting people socially, occupationally, education-wise and interpersonally.

“Clinically what happens is that some chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters don’t pass the message from one nerve to the other correctly and depressive illness occurs. When this happens, these chemicals get out of balance,” she explains.

A depressed person experiences different thoughts before and after depressive episodes. And in most cases, the episodes end up with a feeling of helplessness and self-pity.

“People in depression fail to comprehend that they are suffering from a treatable ailment so ever seeking help don’t occur in them.

“Emotions or physical pain at a very minimal amount becomes unbearable. In a real sense, they don’t want to die but yet it’s the only option left according to them,” Chania adds.

Chania remarks that many suicidal cases reported are as a result of clinical depression but others are topped up by other mental disorders such as anxiety disorder, attention deficit disorder, bipolar illness (manic depression), or child-onset schizophrenia.

The psychologist notes that many factors come to play in extreme cases of depression that end up in suicide.

However, depression can be managed successfully if caught early.

“By recognizing and treating symptoms in early-onset we can improve the chances of a person with depression to living a longer, healthier, more quality life,” she remarks.