What is depression? What causes depression?
Depression, also known as major depression, clinical depression or major depressive disorder is a medical illness that causes a constant feeling of sadness and lack of interest. Depression affects how the person feels, behaves and thinks. Depression can lead to emotional and physical problems. Typically, people with depression find it hard to go about their day-to-day activities, and may also feel that life is not worth living.
What is depression?
Feeling sad, or what we may call “depressed”, happens to all of us.
The sensation usually passes after a while. However, people with a depressive disorder – clinical depression – find that their state interferes with daily life. For people with clinical depression, their normal functioning is undermined to such an extent that both they and those who care about them are affected by it.
Abraham Lincoln suffered from “melancholy”,
known today as clinical depression.
Melancholia – clinical depression is a fairly modern term. Hippocrates, known as the father of Western medicine, described a syndrome of “melancholia”.
He said melancholia was a distinct disease with specific physical and mental symptoms. Hippocrates characterized it as “(all) fears and despondencies, if they last a long time” as being symptomatic of the illness. How common is clinical depression? – Nobody is sure exactly how many people are affected by depression. Health authorities from country to country and even within the same nation publish different figures: The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 6.7% of American adults have had depressive illness during the last 12 months, and 30.4% of these cases (2% of the whole adult population) have severe symptoms. While the National Institute of Mental Health says women are 70% more likely to develop depressive symptoms during their lifetime, an article published in JAMA Psychiatry (August 2013 issue) showed that depression affects 30.6% of men and 33.3% of women, not a statistically significant difference. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) estimates that in the United Kingdom 21 in every 1,000 16-to-65 year olds live with major depression (17/1000 males and 25/1000 females). If “mixed depression and anxiety”, a less specific and broader category is included, the prevalence rises to 98 per 1,000. In Australia only 1 in every five people with clinical depression is accurately diagnosed, according to theState Government of Victoria, “because depression can mask itself as a physical illness like chronic pain, sleeplessness or fatigue.”
What are the different forms of depression?
There are several forms of depression (depressive disorders). Major depressive disorder and dysthymic disorder are the most common. Major depressive disorder (major depression)
Major depressive disorder is also known as major depression. The patients suffer from a combination of symptoms that undermine their ability to sleep, study, work, eat, and enjoy activities they used to find pleasurable. Experts say that major depressive disorder can be very disabling, preventing the patient from functioning normally. Some people experience only one episode, while others have recurrences. Dysthymic disorder (dysthymia)
Dysthymic disorder is also known as dysthymia, or mild chronic depression. The patient will suffer symptoms for a long time, perhaps as long as a couple of years, and often longer. The symptoms are not as severe as in major depression – they do not disable the patient. However, people affected with dysthymic disorder may find it hard to function normally and feel well. Some people experience only one episode during their lifetime, while others may have recurrences. A person with dysthymia might also experience major depression, once, twice, or more often during their lifetime. Dysthymia can sometimes come with other symptoms. When they do, it is possible that other forms of depression are diagnosed. For a atient to be diagnosed with dysthymia he or she must have experienced a combination of depressive symptoms for at least two years. Psychotic depression
When severe depressive illness includes hallucinations, delusions, and/or withdrawing from reality, the patient may be diagnosed with psychotic depression. Psychotic depression is also referred to as delusional depression. Postpartum depression (postnatal depression)
Postpartum depression is also known as postnatal depression or PND. This is not to be confused with ‘baby blues’ which a mother may feel for a very short period after giving birth. If a mother develops a major depressive episode within a few weeks of giving birth it is most likely she has developed postpartum depression. Experts believe that about 10% to 15% of all women experience this type of depression after giving birth. Sadly, many of them go undiagnosed and suffer for long periods without treatment and support. Postpartum depression can start any time within a year of giving birth, according to the National Library of Medicine. SAD (seasonal affective disorder)
SAD is much more common the further from the equator you go, where the end of summer means the beginning of less sunlight and more dark hours. A person who develops a depressive illness during the winter months might have SAD. SAD symptoms go away during spring and/or summer. In Scandinavia, where winter can be very dark for many months, patients commonly undergo light therapy – they sit in front of a special light. Light therapy works for about half of all SAD patients. In addition to light therapy, some people may need antidepressants, psychotherapy, or both. Light therapy is becoming more popular in other northern countries, such as Canada and the United Kingdom. The National Health Service, UK, suggest that sunlight may stimulate the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that controls sleep, appetite and mood. Bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness)
Bipolar disorder is also known as manic-depressive illness. It used to be known as manic depression. It is not as common as major depression or dysthymia. A patient with bipolar disorder experiences moments of extreme highs and extreme lows. These extremes are known as manias.
Winston Churchill suffered from clinical
depression throughout his life.
He called it “black dog”.
What are the signs and symptoms of depression?
Depression is not uniform. Signs and symptoms may be experienced by some sufferers and not by others. How severe the symptoms are, and how long they last depends on the individual person and his illness. Below is a list of the most common symptoms: A constant feeling of sadness, anxiety, and emptiness
A general feeling of pessimism sets in (the glass is always half empty) The person feels hopeless
Individuals can feel restless
The sufferer may experience irritability
Patients may lose interest in activities or hobbies they once enjoyed He/she may lose interest in sex
Levels of energy feel lower, fatigue sets in
Many people with a depressive illness find it hard to concentrate, remember details, and make decisions Sleep patterns are disturbed – the person may sleep too little or too much Eating habits may change – he/she may either eat too much or have no appetite Suicidal thoughts may occur – some may act on those thoughts The sufferer may complain more of aches and pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems. These problems do not get better with treatment.
What causes depression?
Nobody is sure what causes depression. Experts say depression is caused by a combination of factors, such as the person’s genes, their biochemical environment, personal experience and psychological factors
A study published in Archives of Psychiatry found that MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans showed patients with clinical depression had less brain volume in several regions, including the frontal lobe, basal ganglia and hippocampus. They also found that after treatment the hippocampus returned to normal size. The Stanford School of Medicine says that genes do play a role in causing depression. By studying cases of major depression among identical twins (whose genes are 100% identical) and non-identical twins (whose genes are 50% identical) they found that heritability is a major contributory factor in the risk of developing depression. An article in Harvard Health Publicaitons explains that depression is not caused simply by the level of one chemical being too low and another too high. Rather, several different chemicals are involved, working both within and outside nerve cells. There are “Millions, even billions, of chemical reactions that make up the dynamic system that is responsible for your mood, perceptions, and how you experience life.” An awful experience can trigger a depressive illness. For example, the loss of a family member, a difficult relationship, physical sexual abuse.
The teenage years can be tough, and it’s perfectly normal to feel sad or irritable every now and then. But if these feelings don’t go away or become so intense that you can’t handle them, you may be suffering from depression. The good news is that you don’t have to feel this way. Help is available and you have more power than you think. There are many things you can do to help yourself or a friend start feeling better.
Signs and symptoms of teen depression
It’s hard to put into words how depression feels, and people experience it differently. There are, however, some common problems and symptoms that teens with depression experience. You constantly feel irritable, sad, or angry.
Nothing seems fun anymore, and you just don’t see the point of trying. You feel bad about yourself—worthless, guilty, or just “wrong” in some way You sleep too much or not enough.
You have frequent, unexplained headaches or other physical problems. Anything and everything makes you cry.
You’ve gained or lost weight without consciously trying to. You just can’t concentrate. Your grades may be plummeting because of it. You feel helpless and hopeless .
You’re thinking about death or suicide. (If this is true, talk to someone right away!)
Dealing with Depression
Self-Help and Coping Tips to Overcome Depression
Depression drains your energy, hope, and drive, making it difficult to do what you need to feel better. But while overcoming depression isn’t quick or easy, it’s far from impossible. You can’t beat it through sheer willpower, but you do have some control—even if your depression is severe and stubbornly persistent. The key is to start small and build from there. Feeling better takes time, but you can get there if you make positive choices for yourself each day. Tip #1.Cultivate supportive relationships
Turn to trusted friends and family members.
Try to keep up with social activities even if you don’t feel like it. Join a support group for depression.
10 tips for reaching out and building relationships
Talk to one person about your feelings.
Help someone else by volunteering.
Have lunch or coffee with a friend.
Ask a loved one to check in with you regularly.
Accompany someone to the movies, a concert, or a small get-together. Call or email an old friend.
Go for a walk with a workout buddy.
Schedule a weekly dinner date.
Meet new people by taking a class or joining a club.
Confide in a counselor, therapist, or clergy member.
Tip #2.Challenge negative thinking
Think outside yourself.
Allow yourself to be less than perfect.
Socialize with positive people.
Keep a “negative thought log”.
Tip #3.Take care of yourself
Aim for eight hours of sleep.
Expose yourself to a little sunlight every day.
Keep stress in check.
Practice relaxation techniques.
Care for a pet.
Develop a wellness toolbox
Come up with a list of things that you can do for a quick mood boost. Include any strategies, activities, or skills that have helped in the past. The more “tools” for coping with depression, the better. Try and implement a few of these ideas each day, even if you’re feeling good. Spend some time in nature
List what you like about yourself
Read a good book
Watch a funny movie or TV show
Take a long, hot bath
Take care of a few small tasks
Play with a pet
Talk to friends or family face-to-face
Listen to music
Do something spontaneous
Tip #4.Get regular exercise
Take the stairs rather than the elevator.
Park your car in the farthest spot in the lot.
Take your dog for a walk.
Pair up with an exercise partner.
Walk while you’re talking on the phone.
Exercise as an Antidepressant
The following exercise tips offer a powerful prescription for boosting mood: Exercise now… and again. A 10-minute walk can improve your mood for two hours. The key to sustaining mood benefits is to exercise regularly. Choose activities that are moderately intense. Aerobic exercise undoubtedly has mental health benefits, but you don’t need to sweat strenuously to see results. Find exercises that are continuous and rhythmic (rather than intermittent). Walking, swimming, dancing, stationery biking, and yoga are good choices. Add a mind-body element. Activities such as yoga and tai chi rest your mind and increase your energy. You can also add a meditative element to walking or swimming by repeating a mantra (a word or phrase) as you move. Start slowly, and don’t overdo it. More isn’t better. Athletes who over train find their moods drop rather than lift.
Tip #5.Eat a healthy, mood-boosting diet
Don’t skip meals.
Minimize sugar and refined carbs.
Focus on complex carbohydrates.
Boost your B vitamins.
Consider taking a chromium supplement.
Tip #6.Know when to get additional help
Cite this Related Literature about Depression
Related Literature about Depression. (2016, Jul 19). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/related-literature-about-depression/