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Health    Depression
Also called: Clinical depression, Dysthymic disorder, Major depressive disorder, Unipolar depression
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Depression is a serious medical illness. It's more than just a feeling of being sad or "blue" for a few days. If you are one of the more than 19 million teens and adults in the United States who have depression, the feelings do not go away. They persist and interfere with your everyday life. Symptoms can include

  • Feeling sad or "empty"
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities
  • Overeating, or not wanting to eat at all
  • Not being able to sleep, or sleeping too much
  • Feeling very tired
  • Feeling hopeless, irritable, anxious, or guilty
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Depression is a disorder of the brain. There are a variety of causes, including genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Depression can happen at any age, but it often begins in teens and young adults. It is much more common in women. Women can also get postpartum depression after the birth of a baby. Some people get seasonal affective disorder in the winter. Depression is one part of bipolar disorder.

There are effective treatments for depression, including antidepressants, talk therapy, or both.

NIH: National Institute of Mental Health

Symptoms of Depression

The following features are indicative of Depression:
  • persistent sad or anxious mood
  • feeling of hopelessness
  • irritability
  • feeling of guilt, helplessness or worthlessness
  • loss of interest or pleasure in activities and hobbies
  • decreased energy or fatigue
  • talking or moving more slowly
  • feeling restless
  • difficulty remembering, concentrating or making decisions
  • difficulty sleeping
  • early-morning awakening
  • appetite or weight changes
  • thoughts of suicide or death
  • aches
  • headache
  • cramps
  • digestive problems

Common Causes of Depression

The following are the most common causes of Depression:
  • genetic factors
  • biological factors
  • environmental factors
  • psychological factors

Other Causes of Depression

The following are the less common causes of Depression:
  • borderline personality disorder
  • non-psychiatric illness
  • psychiatric syndromes

Risk Factors for Depression

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Depression:
  • personal or family history of depression
  • major life changes
  • trauma
  • stress
  • certain physical illnesses and medications

Prevention of Depression

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Depression.

Occurrence of Depression

Degree of Occurrence

The following are the number of Depression cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Depression can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Depression can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Depression

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Depression:
  • Physical examination: To check the signs and symptoms of depression
  • Lab tests: To measure complete blood count and the functioning of thyroid
  • DSM-5 criteria: To diagnose mental problems or conditions

Doctor for Diagnosis of Depression

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Depression:
  • Psychiatrist
  • Psychologist

Complications of Depression if Untreated

Yes, Depression causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Depression is left untreated:
  • excess weight or obesity
  • pain and physical illness
  • alcohol or substance misuse
  • anxiety
  • panic disorder
  • social phobia
  • family conflicts
  • relationship difficulties
  • social isolation
  • suicidal feelings
  • suicide attempts
  • self-mutilation
  • can be fatal

Procedures for Treatment of Depression

The following procedures are used to treat Depression:
  • Psychotherapy: Effective for treating depression
  • Electroconvulsive therapy: To relieve depression by passing electrical currents to the brain
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation: To activate nerve cells in your brain

Self-care for Depression

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Depression:
  • Learn about depression: Empower you and motivate you to stick to your treatment plan
  • Pay attention to warning signs: Prevents the worsening of depression symptoms

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Depression

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Depression:
  • Intake of omega-3 fatty acids supplements: Helpful in relieving depression
  • Acupuncture therapy: Reduces the pain
  • Tai chi therapy: Improves flexibility, balance and muscle strength
  • Do yoga: Increase the flexibility and balance
  • Music therapy: Listening to soothing music relaxes the patient
  • Massage therapy: Relaxes the patient

Patient Support for Treatment of Depression

The following actions may help Depression patients:
  • Locate helpful groups: Helps in coping with the depression
  • Don't become isolated: Connect to others facing similar challenges and share experiences makes you feel comfortable

Time for Treatment of Depression

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Depression to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • More than 1 year

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 12/01/2018.
This page provides information for Depression.