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Depression

 

 

 
   
What Is Depression? What Causes Depression?

Depression, also known as major depression, clinical depression or major depressive disorder is a medical illness that causes a constant feeling of sadness and lack of interest. Depression affects how the person feels, behaves and thinks.

Depression can lead to emotional and physical problems. Typically, people with depression find it hard to go about their day-to-day activities, and may also feel that life is not worth living.

Feeling sad, or what we may call "depressed", happens to all of us. The sensation usually passes after a while. However, people with a depressive disorder - clinical depression - find that their state interferes with daily life. Their normal functioning is undermined to such an extent that both they and those who care about them are affected by it.

What are the different forms of depression? There are several forms of depression (depressive disorders). Major depressive disorder and dysthymia disorder are the most common.
Major depressive disorder (major depression)

Major depressive disorder is also known as major depression. The patient suffers from a combination of symptoms that undermine his ability to sleep, study, work, eat, and enjoy activities he used to find pleasurable. Experts say that major depressive disorder can be very disabling, preventing the patient from functioning normally. Some people experience only one episode, while others have recurrences.

Dysthymic disorder (dysthymia)

Dysthymic disorder is also known as dysthymia, or mild chronic depression. The patient will suffer symptoms for a long time, perhaps as long as a couple of years, and often longer. However, the symptoms are not as severe as in major depression, and the patient is not disabled by it. However, he may find it hard to function normally and feel well. Some people experience only one episode during their lifetime, while others may have recurrences.

A person with dysthymia might also experience major depression, once, twice, or more often during his lifetime. Dysthymia can sometimes come with other symptoms. When they do, it is possible that other forms of depression are diagnosed.

Psychotic depression

When severe depressive illness includes hallucinations, delusions, and/or withdrawing from reality, the patient may be diagnosed with psychotic depression.

Postpartum depression (postnatal depression)

Postpartum depression is also known as postnatal depression or PND. This is not to be confused with 'baby blues' which a mother may feel for a very short period after giving birth. If a mother develops a major depressive episode within a few weeks of giving birth it is most likely she has developed PND. Experts believe that about 10% to 15% of all women experience PND after giving birth. Sadly, many of them go undiagnosed and suffer for long periods without treatment and support.

SAD (seasonal affective disorder)

SAD is much more common the further from the equator you go. In countries far from the equator the end of summer means the beginning of less sunlight and more dark hours. A person who develops a depressive illness during the winter months might have SAD. The symptoms go away during spring and/or summer. In Scandinavia, where winter can be very dark for many months, patients commonly undergo light therapy - they sit in front of a special light. Light therapy works for about half of all SAD patients. In addition to light therapy, some people may need antidepressants, psychotherapy, or both. Light therapy is becoming more popular in other northern countries, such as Canada and the United Kingdom.

Bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness)

Bipolar disorder is also known as manic-depressive illness. It used to be known as manic depression. It is not as common as major depression or dysthymia. A patient with bipolar disorder experiences moments of extreme highs and extreme lows. These extremes are known as manias.

 

 

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