Depression Essay, Research Paper
Depression in one form or another affects more than 19 million Americans each year (1), more than 1 in 5 Americans can expect to get some form of depression in their lifetime (2), almost two thirds of all depression cases go untreated (3), 15% of those diagnosed with depression commit suicide (4), almost 80% of those who experience depression can feel better with treatment ( 5) and clinical depression commonly co-occurs with other medical illnesses (6). These statistics are all dramatic and they are all about depression. The follow will discuss what depression is, causes of depression, symptoms of depression, different types of depression and also how you can treat depression.
We start off with the question “What is depression”, the official text book definition of depression is “An emotional state in which there are extreme feelings of sadness, dejection, lack of worth, and emptiness” (7). Some alternative names for depression are “sadness; mood changes; gloom; blues; dejected; discouragement” (8). In simpler terms depression is am emotional sate of feeling down or sad for prolonged periods of time.
There are many different unique and different causes of stress; different causes of stress vary with age and situation. The following are the most common causes of depression “loss of a friend or relative, substantial disappointment at home or at work, general stresses, prolonged or chronic illness, drugs such as tranquilizers, high blood pressure medicines, steroids (prednisone), codeine, and indomethacin, alcohol intoxication, alcohol withdrawal, drug intoxication, drug withdrawal” (9). These causes have more to do with adults than teens. Specifically depression among teens can be caused by death or divorce of parents, death of a special pet, pressure to succeed, moving, peer pressure, conflicts or violence at home, Physical illness or disability, or problems in school (10).
Depression can be detected by the following symptoms exhibited be the sufferer, “Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy including sex, feeling sad, blue, or down in the dumps, feeling slowed down or restless and unable to sit still, feeling worthless or guilty, changes in appetite or weight loss or gain, thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts, problems concentrating, thinking, remembering, or making decisions, trouble sleeping or sleeping too much, loss of energy or feeling tired all of the time” (11). The subject may be suffering from depression if the subject has several of these symptoms every day and all day, lasting at least or more than two weeks. Some other possible symptoms of depression include, “ Headaches, other aches and pains, digestive problems, sexual problems, feeling pessimistic or hopeless and being anxious or worried” (12).
There are many different types of depression that one may be suffering from. The first type of depression is called Major Depression; major depression is twice as common in women as in me and 1.5 to 3 times more common among people with close biological relatives who have been similarly afflicted. About 9%-26% of women and 5%-12% of men in the United States develop major depression (13). A quick definition of Major depression is “A recurrent emotional state characterized by feelings of persistent sadness, worthlessness, dejection, loss of hope, and loss of interest in usual activities” (14). Major depression, which sometimes develops over a period of days or weeks and sometimes occurs suddenly. Without treatment, a major depressive episode typically lasts for six months or more. Usually victims recover completely and return to the same level of functioning they had before the illness struck (15). The next type of depression is Dysthymia, Dysthymia affects adults and children differently. Dysthymic adults experience deep and lasting depression without significant change in mood for at least two years. In children and adolescents, Dysthymia may last for as little as a year(16). Manic depression, which therapists refer to as bipolar illness is the most dramatic mood disorder. Its victim’s moods swing from depression to the opposite extreme-euphoria. About 1 in every 100 people suffers from manic depression at some point. Usually manic depression beings in a person’s twenties, and in most cases develop before age 35. Men and women are affected in equal numbers (17). The Dutch Postimpressionist artist Vincent van Gogh suffered major manic depressive episodes, which culminated in suicide in 1890, also actress Patty Duke also suffered from manic depression. Cyclomania is another type of depression in which sufferers experience episodes of “Hypomania (18)” and depressed mood over a two-year period (one-year for children and adolescents. Although the symptoms are similar to those of manic and major depression the impairment is never extreme (19). Another major type of depression is seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is an annual rhythm of depression that appears to be linked to seasonal variations in light. Although the gloomy, gray days of winter can bring anyone down, some people feel more than slightly depressed at this time of the year. This disorder is caused by an overabundance of melatonin, asleep-inducing hormone that the brain produces only at night. There is also an opposite of winter depression called spring depression but researchers have not yet found the cause of this disorder (20). And the last type of depression is called Psychotic Depression, about 10% of people suffering from clinical depression experience delusions or hallucination so severe that they lose touch with reality. Hallucinatioins psychotic depressives perceive may revolve around the feelings commonly associated with depression (guilt, inadequacy, and preoccupation with death) or they may involve completely different themes, such as persecution or delusions of control. This disorder can strike any age group; the average sufferer may be in his late twenties, but children, teenagers, and older adults are also susceptible. The risk of suicide is five to six times greater for victims of psychotic depression as it is for people who do not suffer from any form of depression (21).
Even thought it may seem that there is no way to treat depression there are many ways of treatment some include therapy and others include prescription drugs. In the beginning psychologists like Alfred Meyer and Sigmund Freud had different theories on the causes of depression. Adolf Meyer an American psychiatrist held that the nature of depression was a psychological rather than physical, Meyer also thought that depression could occur by itself or be accompanied by other psychiatric disorders. Sigmund Freud on the other hand believed that depression arose when there was a conflict between two of the forces of the human mind- the superego(internalizes parental and societal rules) and the ego(conscious mind). Freud proposed that that when the superego “abuses” the ego-“threatens it with the direst punishment…represents the claims of morality, and we realize all at once that our moral sense of guilt is the expression of the tension between the ego and the superego”(22). Putting theories aside the best was to treat these depressive disorders is through Self-help groups in which a sympathetic listener can be enormously helpfully as you try to sort out your feelings and thoughts. Another method for treating these depressive disorders is through Psychotherapy which are often called “talking therapies”- are short term, structured treatments, generally ranging from 12 to 20 sessions over a period of 12 to 16 weeks. Another treatment that is usually turned to as a quick fix for depressive disorders is through medications; these medications include Monoamine oxidase (MAO) amitryptiline (Elavil, doxepin (Sinequan), imparamine (Tofranil), desipramine (Norpramin), also there a constantly new drugs coming out like Prozac coming out to the market that are aimed at dealing with mood disorders. But often times the best treatment for moderate depression is often a relaxing afternoon with friends or loved ones
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