- A depressive disorder is a mood disorder that is characterized by a sad, blue mood that goes above and beyond normal sadness or grief.
- A depressive disorder is a clinical syndrome, meaning a group of symptoms.
- Depressive disorders feature not only negative thoughts, moods, and behaviors but also specific changes in bodily functions (like, eating, sleeping, energy, and sexual activity, as well as potentially developing aches or pains).
- One in 10 people will have a depression in their lifetime.
- Because depression can lead to self-harm including suicide, it is important to note that one of every 25 suicide attempts results in death.
- Some types of depression, especially bipolar depression, run in families.
- While there are many social, psychological, and environmental risk factors for developing depression, some are particularly prevalent in one gender or the other, or a particular age or ethnic groups.
- There can be some differences in signs and symptoms of depression depending on age, gender, and ethnicity.
- Doctors clinically diagnose depression; there is no laboratory test or X-ray for depression. It is, therefore, crucial to see a health professional as soon as you notice symptoms of depression in yourself, your friends, or your family.
- The first step in getting appropriate treatment for a depressive disorder is a complete physical and psychological evaluation to determine whether the person, in fact, has a depressive disorder.
- Depression is not a weakness but a serious mental illness with biological, psychological, and social aspects to its cause, symptoms, and treatment. A person cannot will it away. Untreated or undertreated, it can worsen or return.
- There are many safe and effective medications, particularly the SSRI antidepressants, which can be of great help in the treatment of depression.
- For full recovery from a mood disorder, regardless of whether there is a precipitating factor or it seems to come out of the blue, treatments with medication, phototherapy, and/or brain stimulation therapies, like electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) or transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), as well as psychotherapy and participation in support groups are often necessary.
- In the future, through depression research and education, we will continue to improve treatments, decrease society’s burden, and hopefully improve the prevention of this illness.
Depression is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things. A depressive disorder is not the same as a passing blue mood and is more than a case of persistent sadness.
Symptoms of depression also include
- feelings of worthlessness,
- lack of interest in daily activities,
- loss of energy,
- loss of appetite,
- sleep problems,
- thoughts of suicide.
What is a depressive disorder? Depression vs. sadness
Depressive disorders are mood disorders that have been with mankind since the beginning of recorded history. In the Bible, King David, as well as Job, suffered from this affliction. Hippocrates referred to depression as melancholia, which literally means black bile. Black bile, along with blood, phlegm, and yellow bile were the four senses of humor (fluids) that described the basic medical physiology theory of that time. Literature and the arts have portrayed depression, also referred to as clinical depression, for hundreds of years, but what do we mean today when we refer to a depressive disorder? In the 19th century, people thought of depression as an inherited weakness of temperament. In the first half of the 20th century, Freud linked the development of depression to guilt and conflict. John Cheever, the author and a modern sufferer of depressive disorder, wrote of conflict and experiences with his parents as influencing his becoming clinically depressed.
In the 1950s and ’60s, health care professionals divided depression into two types, endogenous and neurotic. Endogenous means that the depression comes from within the body, perhaps of genetic origin, or comes out of nowhere. Neurotic or reactive depression has a clear environmental precipitating factor, such as the death of a spouse, or other significant loss, such as the loss of a job. In the 1970s and ’80s, the focus of attention shifted from the cause of depression to its effects on the afflicted people. That is to say, whatever the cause in a particular case, what are the symptoms and impaired functions that experts can agree make up a depressive illness? Although experts sometimes dispute these issues, most agree on the following:
- A depressive disorder is a syndrome (a group of symptoms) characterized by sad and/or irritable mood exceeding normal sadness or grief. More specifically, the sadness of depression is characterized by a greater intensity and duration and by more severe symptoms and functional problems than is normal.
- Depressive signs and symptoms not only include negative thoughts, moods, and behaviors but also specific changes in bodily functions (for example, excessive crying spells, body aches, low energy or libido, as well as problems with eating, weight, or sleeping). neurovegetative signs are the changes in functioning associated with clinical depression. This means that the nervous system changes in the brain are thought to cause many physical symptoms that result in a decreased or increased activity level and other problems with functioning.
- People with certain depressive disorders, especially bipolar depression (manic depression), seem to have an inherited vulnerability to this condition.
- Depressive illnesses are a huge public health problem, due to their affecting millions of people. Facts about depression include that about 10% of adults, up to 8% of teens, and 2% of preteen children experience some kind of depressive disorder. Postpartum depression is the most common mental health disorder to afflict women after childbirth.
- The statistics on the costs due to depression in the United States include huge amounts of direct costs, which are for treatment, and indirect costs, such as lost productivity and absenteeism from work or school.
- Adolescents who suffer from depression are at risk for developing and maintaining obesity.
- In a major medical study, depression caused significant problems in the functioning (morbidity) of those affected more often than did arthritis, hypertension, chronic lung disease, diabetes, and in some ways as often as coronary artery disease.
- Depression can increase the risks for developing coronary artery disease and asthma, contracting the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and many other medical illnesses. Other complications of depression include its tendency to increase the morbidity (illness/negative health effects) and mortality (death) from these and many other medical conditions.
- Depression can coexist with virtually every other mental health condition, aggravating the status of those who suffer the combination of both depression and the other mental illness.
- Depression in the elderly tends to be chronic, has a low rate of recovery, and is often undertreated. This is of particular concern given that elderly men, particularly elderly white men have the highest suicide rate.
- Depression is usually first identified in a primary care setting, not in a mental health professional’s office. Moreover, it often assumes various disguises, which causes depression to be frequently underdiagnosed.
- In spite of clear research evidence and clinical guidelines regarding treatment, depression is often undertreated. Hopefully, this situation can change for the better.
- For full recovery from a mood disorder, regardless of whether there is a precipitating factor or it seems to come out of the blue, treatment with medication, phototherapy, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), and/or transcranial magnetic stimulation, (see discussion below), as well as psychotherapy and/or participation in a support group, is necessary.