DEPRESSION

 

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn't worth living.

Causes

It's not known exactly what causes depression. As with many mental disorders, a variety of factors may be involved, such as:

  • Biological differences. People with depression appear to have physical changes in their brains. The significance of these changes is still uncertain, but may eventually help pinpoint causes.

  • Brain chemistry. Neurotransmitters are naturally occurring brain chemicals that likely play a role in depression. Recent research indicates that changes in the function and effect of these neurotransmitters and how they interact with neuro-circuits involved in maintaining mood stability may play a significant role in depression and its treatment.

  • Hormones. Changes in the body's balance of hormones may be involved in causing or triggering depression. Hormone changes can result with pregnancy and during the weeks or months after delivery (postpartum) and from thyroid problems, menopause or a number of other conditions.

  • Inherited traits. Depression is more common in people whose blood relatives also have this condition. Researchers are trying to find genes that may be involved in causing depression.

 

Symptoms

Symptoms include:

  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness

  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports

  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much

  • Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort

  • Changes in appetite — often reduced appetite and weight loss, but increased cravings for food and weight gain in some people

  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness

  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements

  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that aren't your responsibility

  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things

  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide

  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

Risk factors

Factors that seem to increase the risk of developing or triggering depression include:

  • Certain personality traits, such as low self-esteem and being too dependent, self-critical or pessimistic

  • Traumatic or stressful events, such as physical or sexual abuse, the death or loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship, or financial problems

  • History of other mental health disorders, such as anxiety disorder, eating disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder

  • Abuse of alcohol or illegal drugs

  • Serious or chronic illness, including cancer, stroke, chronic pain or heart disease

  • Certain medications, such as some high blood pressure medications or sleeping pills

 

Treatment

Depression is a treatable mental illness. There are three components to the management of depression:

  • Support - ranging from discussing practical solutions and contributing stresses, to educating family members

  • Psychotherapy - also known as talking therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

  • Drug treatment - antidepressants

 

 

Culled from Staywellworld blog post dated October 5, 2016.

To learn more, click on 

https://www.staywellworld.org/single-post/2016/10/05/DEPRESSION-THE-WORLDS-MOST-COMMON-ILLNESS

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The contents herein are for informational purposes only, therefore, should not be used as an alternative to seeking independent medical advice, and we cannot take responsibility for an individual’s decision to use them as such. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.