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Misconceptions, Symptoms and Causes of Depression

Mental Health > Misconceptions, Symptoms and Causes of Depression

Depression is an illness, which occurs when thoughts of sadness and other associated symptoms last for more than 2 weeks and challenge one’s capability to carry out even routine daily activities. About 20 million Americans annually suffer from clinical depression annually. Half of all suicides are estimated to be due to depression. It may take the form of major depression; dysthymia, which is less severe; bipolar disorder in which depression alternates with mania; or seasonal depression.

Biological, environmental factors and genetic contribute to the development of depression. The cause may be an abnormality in the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, heredity, certain personality traits, stressful life situations, certain medical conditions, medications, substance abuse, or diet. It is three to five times more common in the elderly people.

A person is said to have depression, if he has the following symptoms- Feels sad, looses interest in usual activities, is irritable, has feelings of worthlessness or guilt, has thoughts of suicide, has changed sleep patterns, and significant weight loss or gain. Children may show poor school performance, persistent boredom, or frequent complaints of physical problems. The elderly people show a diminished ability to think and memory impairment.

You should communicate your feelings to your close friend or to a family member, if you have the above symptoms of depression. With severe symptoms, you must look for immediate treatment in a nearest hospital emergency department. Specialists as psychiatrists or psychologists help diagnose clinical depression after a physical examination and an extensive medical interview. These specialists may ask you many questions to help assess the risk of depression and suicide.

Treatment for depression may include supportive therapy, such as changes in your behavior and lifestyle, complementary therapies or psychotherapy. However, supportive therapy will usually include medication.

The major antidepressant medicines are- the tricyclic antidepressants, the selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, the atypical antidepressants and the monoamine oxidase inhibitors. Psychotherapy for person suffering from depression involves working with a well-trained therapist to assess ways to solve problems and cope with depression.

Mental Health > Misconceptions, Symptoms and Causes of Depression