In true clinical depression there are greater and prolonged symptoms of a mental disturbance. Periods of intense sadness, decreased energy, feelings of worthlessness and a loss of interest in life are usually experienced.
With clinical depression these symptoms can at times occur for apparently no reason, last for years and interfere severely with ones attempts at functioning normally in day-to-day life. Some before experiencing clinical depression were at very happy points in their lives with no reason to feel sad or depressed.
What Causes Depression?
|Reduction of Neurotransmitter activity|
An exact answer to what causes depression is still not known. Based on many years of observance and research, doctors believe that depression is caused by chemical changes in the brain. Biologically the brain of people with depression is different from those who have never experienced depression. A smaller hippocampus, lower levels of serotonin and excess amounts of the stress hormone cortisol are evident in the brain of depression sufferers.
What causes these changes in one's brain that then inflicts them with depression? This could be caused by many of reasons, it could be triggered by stressful events in one's life, it may be due to a problem with a persons genes, or a combination of both.
- Very fatigued almost everyday
- Irritability or restlessness
- Avoiding social events, isolating oneself.
- Dramatic change in appetite, often with weight gain or loss
- Persistently feeling sad, hopeless, helpless, and worthless.
- Suicidal thoughts
- Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed.
- Concentration and decision-making difficulties.
- Effect on a person's work performance.
Depressive Illnesses can have very severe effects on people's lives. However, not every person with depression will experience the exact symptoms or severity of symptoms. There are varying types and severity of depression.
Types of Depression:
- Major depression or major depressive disorder: This type of depression is abnormal because of its severity and persistence without reasonable environmental cause. It is often disabling as ones ability to function satisfactorily in normal day-to-day activities are severely effected.
- Situational or reactive depression: This type of depression is triggered by a stressful life event and usually does not persist long after the event which triggered the depression has ended.
- Dysthymia or chronic depression: This type of depressive illness is not of the same severity but is generally a more chronic form of major depression. The low moods can persist in a person for over a year yet the condition is usually not severe enough that it becomes disabling.
- Seasonal affective disorder: The depression associated with this disorder originates from ones sensitivity to the lessening of natural sunlight that occurs in winter climates. The depression symptoms with (SAD) tend to be mild and end with winters passing.
- Manic Depression: This type of depressive illness often includes severe major depression with a cycling in of mania which can cause delusions or hallucinations during the alternate periods of mania. The severity of this type of depression is often disabling.
- Postpartum depression: This depressive illness can cause a mother to disconnect from the needs of their newborn and to have an extreme fear that they will harm the baby. Severe sadness and suicidal thoughts are also often present.
Facts about Depression:
- Approximately 15 million adults in the U.S. has a major depressive disorder.
- Approximately 3.5 million adults in the U.S. has dysthymia.
- Globally more than 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression. (WHO)
- For the age group 15-44 major depression is the leading cause of disability in the U.S.
- It is estimated that between 80-90% of people with major depression can be effectively treated. (NAMI)
- Women are nearly twice as likely to suffer from a major depressive disorder than men are.
- Depression can occur in anyone even children.
- With age the symptoms of depression become even more severe.
- About thirty percent of people with depressive illnesses attempt suicide.
- An untreated depressed person will on average die 25 years sooner than they otherwise would have.
- Heart failure patients with moderate to severe depression have 4 times the risk of dying compared to those without depression. (American Heart Association)
- Depression is one of the most treatable of all mental disorders.
Most commonly used treatments for depression. (NAMI)
- Medications called antidepressants which come in various types ssri's, snri's, tca's and atypical antidepressants.
- Talk therapy which could include psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy.