Depression is a serious medical illness that involves the brain. It’s more than just a feeling of being “down in the dumps” or “blue” for a few days. If you are one of the more than 20 million people in the United States who have depression, the feelings do not go away. Depression can occur for what seems like no reason at all or can be triggered by a traumatizing life event within a person’s life.
The cause of depression still remains a mystery among the medicinal world, however many experts say genes may have an effect on the likelihood of depression within a family and a lack of the chemical serotonin in the brain may be linked to depression. Just like all other medical conditions depression has a series of symptoms that can be diagnosed and treated by a medical professional and can be defined as a never ending sad mood or affect as well as a loss of interest in life and life’s activities.
Although a low mood or state of dejection that does not affect functioning is often colloquially referred to as depression , clinical depression is a clinical diagnosis and may be different from the everyday meaning of “being depressed.” Many people identify the feeling of being clinically depressed as “feeling sad for no reason”, or “having no motivation to do anything.” One suffering from depression may feel tired, sad, irritable, lazy, unmotivated, and apathetic.
Clinical depression is generally acknowledged to be more serious than normal depressed feelings. It often leads to constant negative thinking and sometimes substance abuse . Extreme depression can culminate in its sufferers attempting or committing suicide . Without careful assessment, delirium can easily be confused with depression and a number of other psychiatric disorders because many of the signs and symptoms are conditions present in depression , as well as other mental illnesses including dementia and psychosis .
Depression may be described as feeling sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps. Sometimes this is because of a loss, or a change. The feeling of sadness, though, is appropriate and transitory. When such feelings persist and impair daily life, they may signal an underlying depressive illness. So it is the severity and duration of symptoms, plus the presence of other features, that help distinguish this normal sadness from a depressive disorder.
Depression is more than just a mood disorder, it is a real illness that not only affects one’s mood and thoughts but also appetite, sleep patterns and one’s self esteem. It may also involve physical symptoms, such as stomach pains, headaches and rapid heartbeat. There are several different types of depression, so you will hear terms like major depression, endogenous depression, chronic depression, and so on. These terms tend to describe the predominant symptoms, their severity or their duration.
Causes of Depression
Depression may be triggered by stressful life events, other illnesses, certain drugs or medications, or inherited traits. Although causes of depression are not entirely understood, we know it is linked to an imbalance in brain chemistry. Once the imbalance is corrected, symptoms of depression generally improve. Some researchers feel that severe depressions are caused by a physical defect in the body, such as a biochemical imbalance in the brain or other factors.
Other things that have been linked to depression have to do with a person’s lifestyle. Things such as; food allergies, prescription drugs, caffeine, alcohol, illicit drugs and even tobacco. If a person has some sort of health problem such as; cancer, aids, hepatitis, diabetes, hypoglycemia, chronic pain, hormonal (glandular) disorders such as those of the thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal glands; malignancies, anemias or other blood problems, or even somethings like nutritional deficiencies, heredity and bad childhood experiences can cause depression.
Symptoms of Depression
- Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping.
- Change in weight.
- Feelings of worthlessness.
- Loss of identity.
- Lack of concentration.
- Feelings of anxiety.
Treatment of Depression
There are many treatments available for depression, including counselling and medicines, but the first step is always to get a physical and psychological assessment to find out whether you have a depressive illness. Anti-depressant medications are often used. There are different types and the doctor will recommend which is the right one under the particular circumstances.