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Depression; A Serious Mental Disease

Depression can make you feel like your life is spiralling out of control.

Tina S
Tina S
Jan 30, 2010
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Psychology



We all go through ups and downs in our mood. Sadness is a normal reaction to life’s struggles, setbacks, and disappointments. Many people use the word “depression” to explain these kinds of feelings, but depression is much more than just sadness.

Some people describe depression as “living in a black hole” or having a feeling of impending doom. However, some depressed people don't feel sad at all—instead, they feel lifeless, empty, and apathetic.

Whatever its cause, depression is not just a state of mind. It is related to physical changes in the brain, and connected to an imbalance of a type of chemical that carries signals in your brain and nerves. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters.

Symptoms:
 
  • can’t sleep or sleep too much
     
  • can’t concentrate or find that previously easy tasks are now difficult
        
  • feel hopeless and helpless
        
  • can’t control negative thoughts, no matter how much you try
        
  • lost appetite or can’t stop eating
     
  • weight changes
       
  • much more irritable and short-tempered than usual
        
  • thoughts that life is not worth living
  • Loss of interest in daily activities
        
  • Loss of energy
        
  • Unexplained aches and pains
        
  • Self-loathing
        
  • Feeling guilty
        
  • Want to kill oneself
        
  • Thinking dead is better than living

    
Common causes of depression:

1. Family history. Genetics play an important part in depression. It can run in families for generations.

2. Conflict. Depression may result from personal conflicts or disputes with family members or friends.

3. Death or a loss. Sadness or grief from the death or loss of a loved one, though natural, can also increase the risk of depression.

4. Stress. Some people become depressed through being overwhelmed by change and stress. We live in a time of rapidly increasing change and the demands of adjustment are difficult. Too much of an adjustment in too short of a time may over burden a person. Stress begins to wear them out and there is a loss of resiliency. They can no longer bounce back from adversity. They begin to pull away from others and their energy decreases. Depression is the result.

5. Thinking. Many people think themselves into depression. It is easy to do. All that is required is that you know how to worry.

With worry you take any small problem and think about it for a while. You imagine what might go wrong, could go wrong, and how terrible it would be. Pretty soon you have a big problem. This big problem is one that you have created, and it exists primarily in your imagination. However, you forget that you have intensified the problem by adding to it and take it for "the reality."
Develop a habit of negative thinking, always make things worse than they are, and you can lead yourself down the road to depression.

6. Other personal problems. Problems such as social isolation due to other mental illnesses or being cast out of a family or social group can lead to depression.

7. Major events. Even good events such as starting a new job, graduating, or getting married can lead to depression. So can moving, losing a job or income, getting divorced, or retiring.

Types of Depression:

1. Major depression

Major depression is characterized by the inability to enjoy life and experience pleasure. The symptoms are constant, ranging from moderate to severe. Left untreated, major depression typically lasts for about six months. Some people experience just a single depressive episode in their lifetime, but more commonly, major depression is a recurring disorder. However, there are many things you can do to support your mood and reduce the risk of recurrence.

2. Dysthymic disorder (dysthymia)

Dysthymic disorder is also known as dysthymia, or mild chronic depression. More days than not, you feel mildly or moderately depressed, although you may have brief periods of normal mood. The symptoms of dysthymia are not as strong as the symptoms of major depression, but they last a long time (at least two years).

They go through life feeling unimportant, dissatisfied, frightened and simply don't enjoy their lives. Medication is beneficial for this type of depression.

3. Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder has symptoms that are seen with any major depressive episode. Some people get depressed in the fall or winter, when overcast days are frequent and sunlight is limited. Seasonal affective disorder is more common in northern climates and in younger people. Like depression, seasonal affective disorder is treatable. Light therapy, a treatment that involves exposure to bright artificial light, often helps relieve symptoms.

4. Bipolar disorder

 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.

5. Atypical Depression

Atypical depression is a variation of depression that is slightly different from major depression. The sufferer is sometimes able to experience happiness and moments of elation. Symptoms of atypical depression include fatigue, oversleeping, overeating and weight gain. People who suffer from atypical depression believe that outside events control their mood (i.e. success, attention and praise). Episodes of atypical depression can last for months or a sufferer may live with it forever.

Treatment:

Medications and psychotherapy--either alone or in combination--are the most common forms of depression treatment.
  • Medication
  • Counseling
  • Psychotherapy for treating depression
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy
  • Vagus Nerve Stimulation
  • Mothers and Their Children



Author's note: Ref: Mental Health Site
Keywords: depression,metal,medication,psychology,brain,sadness,causes,forms,treatment,death,stress,Dysthymic, disorder, SAD,bipolar,atypical,electroconvulsive,therapy,fatigue,genetic,



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