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Depression: Symptoms, Causes, Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment

Depression is an illness that affects the brain that involves changes in mood and behaviour. This illness is also known in different names such as Major Depressive Disorder, Clinical Depression and Unipolar Depression. Depression is not just about feeling down and blue for a few days but the condition does not really go away. Once you have this clinical depression then the signs and symptoms are always present and your usual lifestyle has been affected by the illness. In the United States, there are about 20 million Americans known to have been suffering from depression.

What is Depression?

Depression is a disorder in the brain brought about by several factors like genetics, biochemical, psychological and even environmental factors. According to experts, women experience depression more than men at the age between 15 to 30 years old. Furthermore, depression is a part of the bipolar disorder which is why it is also known as unipolar disorder.

Symptoms of Depression

The symptoms of depression vary but the most common would be the feelings of loneliness, loss of interest on work and changes in behaviour. Below are the common symptoms a depressed individual may have been experiencing everyday within two weeks or more.

Physical symptoms:

  • Altered sleeping pattern like having difficulty in sleeping or waking up early
  • Constipation
  • Alteration in menstrual cycle
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained pain
  • Decreased energy level and reduced libido
  • Speaks and acts slower than usual

Psychological symptoms:

  • Increased anxiety
  • Feelings of unhappiness
  • Frequent sad mood
  • Suicidal ideations
  • No interest and motivation on activities
  • Low self- esteem
  • Guilt ridden feeling
  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
  • Irritability noted
  • Takes longer time in decision making

Social symptoms:

  • Lesser participation in social activities
  • Avoiding group interactions
  • Decreased performance at work
  • Growing issues with family and friends

Signs of Depression

  • Weight loss– in most cases of depression, people lack interest in eating so many of them has significant weight loss. However, in some instances patients who are depressed tend to eat a lot more just to compensate with the emotional dilemmas hence leading to weight gain.
  • Alteration in sleeping patterns- depressed individuals often feel like they are tired and wants to sleep all day long. There are also times when they wake up in the middle of each night and may be considered to be an example of sleep deprivation.
  • Alcoholism- several people who are having depression seek alcohol as a way to run away from the problems. We all know that this is not the solution and it will just make things worse.
  • Difficulty concentrating- if a person is frequently experiencing difficulties in focusing and establishing one’s thought then you may want to consider going to a specialist.
  • No interest in sex- lack of interest or complete rejection of having sex may be a piece in depression and sometimes this will worsen things most especially when you are in a relationship and yet you show no interest on this matter.

Treatment for Depression

For the treatment of this disorder, several options may be provided by the doctor but then according to studies the best treatment for depression is mixing both medication and psychotherapy. The list below will be very helpful on this topic. Medications include anti-depressants that depend on the neurotransmitters and hormones affecting the condition. The commonly used anti-depressants are the following:

  • SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) – Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft are the popularly used drugs of this type.
  • Atypical anti-depressants- Oleptro and Remeron are the commonly used atypical anti-depressants and are taken at night.
  • Tricyclic anti-depressants- it has been long used by physicians because of its effectivity however it gives more side effects than other drugs.
  • MAOI (Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors)- examples are Parnate and Nardil but these drugs have very dangerous effects so doctors prescribe these as a last result when all other drugs have been tried.

Psychotherapy involves talking sessions and counselling and alike which are also effective as to allow patients to vent out their emotions. In here, they will understand there condition and learn on how to cope up with the existing problems. During this therapy also, sessions on dealing with depression will be provided by the psychologist or psychiatrist.

Postpartum Depression

This condition is common among new mothers who have mixed emotions upon the delivery of the new born. Postpartum depression may take for months while baby blues are just present for a few days to weeks. Aside from issues on helplessness and loneliness, the mother may experience hallucinations where in she may see or hear things that are not actually there. Giving birth may lead to depression but this is treatable if immediate interventions are rendered to the mother and assures that great bond with the baby will develop after.

Help with Depression

Depression is something that has been increasing among individuals all over the world. If problems with regard to life, work, family and love occur it is very important that you find ways to vent it out to someone so that you won’t feel alone, hopeless and unloved. These things are significant in keeping oneself away from depression. Find time to enjoy and explore, meet new people and do not allow yourself to be covered with the world’s problems. However, when you can see that something is already unusual with you, then never hesitate to seek assistance from the health professionals.


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