Just about everyone undergoes the symptoms of depression every now and then. While a depressed, sad or melancholic mood is often referred to as depression, it does not always pose a serious health threat.
However, depression can become a major health problem if it lasts for extended period of time.
Signs and symptoms of common depression is disturbing enough and only persistent symptoms lasting for a very long time are declared disorders that require psychiatric and medicinal treatment.
Symptoms of Depression
People suffering from depression may display many of the following signs and symptoms of depression.
- Sad mood
- Loss of interest in everyday and work-related activities
- Loss of interest in social activities
- Low self-esteem
- Lack of energy
- Irregular sleeping pattern
- Abnormal change in appetite
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Becoming socially isolated
- Feeling of worthlessness and self-loathing
- Feeling of guilt
- Suicidal thoughts
Diagnosis is an important stage in terms of Depression because there is a tendency of self-diagnosis among people who consider themselves to be suffering from depression. Psychiatrists or general physicians diagnose depression based on a number of parameters such as symptoms and family and personal history. Tests such as Mental State Examination are used for the diagnosis as well.
Depression can become serious under the following two conditions.
Clinical Depression or Major Depressive Disorder: This condition involves symptoms lasting several days or weeks.
Dysthymia or Neurotic Depression: This condition involves symptoms of depression lasting for a very long period of time. It is differentiated from clinical depression for milder symptoms and a longer period of occurrence.
Psychotherapy is one of the primary treatment methods for Major Depressive Disorder. The most important therapy methods for the purpose are Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Interpersonal Psychology. Cognitive Behavior Therapy is also used for the treatment of Dysthymia, which is found to be an effective method.
The response to the therapy in Major Depressive Disorder is the greatest among older patients. For patients under the age of 18, therapy must be essential with medication.
The primary treatment of the severe cases of Clinical Depression or the Major Depressive Disorder in order to alleviate its symptoms is antidepressants. However, mild cases may see little or no improvement.
In case of Dysthymia or Neurotic Depression, the first line of treatment is administering SSRI or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor. Not only these drugs have a better response rate but have less severe and reversible side effects as compared to tricyclic antidepressants or monoamine oxidase inhibitors.
In the cases of severe Major Depressive Disorder, Electroconvulsive Therapy may be used which involves the stimulation of the brain through an electric pulse. The procedure is carried out while the patient is under the influence of general anesthesia in order to cause a seizure. This treatment method is prescribed when the patient does not show encouraging response to all other milder forms of treatment. Side effects of the treatment include short term or long term memory loss, headache and disorientation. The treatment is particularly recommended for patients with the symptoms of psychosis.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
This process involves the stimulation of nerve cells in the skull through electrical pulse. The electric pulse is meant to stimulate the particular nerves that are associated with the mood of a persons. The process can be useful n preventing depression significantly.
Some people with the cases of seasonal depression, usually occurring in winters, may respond positively to light therapy.
While Depression is a troubling condition, it can effectively be managed. Make sure you consult your physician or psychiatrist if you feel that the symptoms of depression are persisting for a long time.
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