What is Depression?
Depression is a mood disorder that is accompanied by anhedonia (loss of ability to enjoy the life), impaired thinking (pessimistic judgments, decreased self-esteem) and motor retardation.
Several medical terms are used to describe depression, some of which are self-diagnosed:
- clinical depression;
- major depressive disorder (BDR);
- monopolar depression;
The average duration of a depressive attack is 6-8 months, and this is one of the main differences between clinical depression and decreased mood and negative emotional reactions, which are the norm in a healthy person’s daily life.
The feeling of grief, connected with the death of a loved one or other psychotraumatic events, cannot be described as a depression in a pure form. But if it does not go on for a long time, accompanied by a loss of interest and pleasure, increased fatigue, sleepiness and appetite disorders, ideas of self-abuse, inhibition and suicidal thoughts, can be described a situational depression.
Depression Causes Defined by Canadian Health and Care Mall
The causes of depression are not fully understood, but experts believe that this disease is a complex combination of genetic, biological, environmental and socio-psychological factors. Among them there observed the following aspects:
- heavy emotions caused by the loss of a loved one, work, social status;
- psychotraumatic situations experienced in childhood or adulthood (physical, sexual or psychological abuse).
- excessive overloading on the brain as a result of prolonged or severe stress;
- deficiency of biogenic amines (dopamine, serotonin, noradrenaline);
- long-lasting absence of sunlight, stay in darkened rooms (seasonal depression, seasonal affective disorder);
- side effect of some medicinal and narcotic drugs (sedatives and hypnotics, neuroleptics, alcohol, cocaine, psychostimulants, opiates);
- somatic diseases presence such as: Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, atherosclerosis, craniocerebral trauma, infectious diseases, diabetes, COPD, epilepsy, rheumatoid arthritis, cholelithiasis, etc.;
- hypothyroidism presence (increases the risk of depression by 7 times);
- close relatives predisposition to depression.
According to ICD-10, the depression symptoms can be divided into:
- basic (typical);
For the diagnosis, the patient must have two main symptoms and at least three additional symptoms.
The main (typical) symptoms of depression include:
- reduced mood, which lasts more than two weeks and does not depend on external circumstances;
- anhedonia – reducing or losing the ability to have fun, loss of motivation for some activities.
- increased fatigue, weakness, which lasts more than two weeks.
Additional symptoms of depression:
- pessimism (gloomy, negative outlook on life);
- decreased self-esteem;
- feeling of guilt, fear, anxiety, uselessness;
- inability to make decisions concentrate on what is happening;
- suicidal thoughts;
- decreased or increased appetite, weight loss;
- glycogeusia – the appearance of sweet taste in the mouth without an objective cause;
- sleep disorders (insomnia or hypersomnia – pathological drowsiness).
As a rule, doctors speak about clinical depression only if its signs are observed in the patient for at least two weeks, but in some cases, the presence of severe symptoms can speed up the diagnosis.
Although children and adolescents do not experience depression as often as adults, attention should be paid to the following alarming symptoms:
- loss of appetite;
- sleep disturbances, nightmares;
- decrease in school performance;
- Changes in behavior (isolation, aggressiveness, passivity, anxiety).
According to Canadian Pharmacy Mall research, the diagnosis of “depression” assumes the presence of at least 5 of the following 9 symptoms:
- depressive mood;
- angodonia and a decline in interest in all activities;
- loss or increase in weight and appetite;
- insomnia or hypersomnia;
- retardation or psychomotor agitation.
- increased fatigue, loss of strength;
- an inadequate sense of guilt, a decrease in self-esteem;
- deterioration of cognitive abilities (inability to concentrate, retardation of thinking);
- suicidal thoughts.
Depression Treatment with Antidepressants
Antidepressants – psychotropic medications sold with a prescription only. The choice of the drug should only be controlled by a specialist, focusing on the patient’s personal preferences, side effects presence, interaction with other drugs, previous successes or failures in the depression treatment.
Several classes of antidepressants are used to treat depression:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) – Citalopram, Escitalopram, Fluoxetine, Paroxetine, Sertraline, Fluoxetine (Prozac);
- Monoamine oxidase (MAOI) inhibitors – Selegiline, Tranylcypromine (parmate), Tranylcypromine;
- Tricyclic antidepressants – Amitriptyline, Imipramine, Nortriptyline, Protriptyline (vivatil), Trimipramine;
- Atypical antidepressants – Bupropion, Maprotiline, Mirtazapine, Nefazodone, Trazodone;
- Inhibitors of the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine (SSRI) are Duloxetine, Venlafaxine and generic Prozac.
Each class of antidepressants performs on different neurotransmitters: SSRIs including Prozac available in Canadian Pharmacies, for example, increase the production of serotonin in the brain, and MAOI block an enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters.
Before antidepressants effect manifests itself, it should take some time: as a rule, drugs begin to work 2-3 weeks after the application beginning, and their effect lasts for 6-12 months.
Common side effects of antidepressants:
- night sweats;
- decreased libido;
- dry mouth;
For the treatment of mild and moderate depression, physical exercises and meditation are often prescribed, as they help increase the level of endorphin and stimulate the production of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter associated with mood.
For the treatment of depression, the following methods can also be used:
- electroconvulsive therapy;
- transcranial magnetic stimulation;
- tai chi;
- massage therapy;
- music and art therapy;
- electroconvulsive therapy.