Clinical Depression: Treatments And Causes Essay, Research Paper
Generally, depression is regarded as an illness due to an imbalance of serotonin in the brain . When seen as such, depression can no longer be considered a ?mental illness,? but instead must be categorized with physical illnesses that also have causes, symptoms, and remedies. There are also various types of depression, including Dysthymia, Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD, and Bipolar disorder, which is also called manic depression1. These types all differ slightly in the severity of their symptoms, but all are equally relevant and treatable.
Symptoms most commonly associated with general depression are: incessant feelings of worthlessness, emptiness, and guilt; overall loss in enjoyment and motivation, especially in activities once enjoyed; insomnia and loss of appetite leading to decreased energy and fatigue; and persistent physical ailments with no apparent physical source . Since these many symptoms can arrange themselves in different combinations, numerous treatments for depression are available. Non-medical treatments include psychotherapy (talk therapy), electroconvulsive therapy (ECT or ?shock? therapy), general lifestyle changes, and herbal remedies such as St. John?s Wort3.
Medication, however, is the most common treatment for depression; anti-depressants are commonly categorized as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and tricyclic antidepressants . Currently, the most common antidepressant medications are Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft, all of which are selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors. Though these three medicines have different individual attributes, their general purpose is to block serotonin from being reabsorbed back into the nerve cells that send it. This process is meant to increase the amount of serotonin available to be absorbed by the next cell, and ultimately help serotonin transmission in the brain return to normal .
Paxil, like the other two antidepressants mentioned, has little noticeable side effects. These sometimes include decreased appetite, dry mouth, sweating, nausea, constipation, sexual side effects in men and women, yawn, tremor or sleepiness4. In my personal experience with Paxil, I have noted an increased ability to hold my breath as well as a general dizziness directly before and after sleeping. Concerning addiction, Paxil differs from Prozac and Zoloft in that it is used as a treatment for Social Anxiety Disorder as well as depression. None are generally addictive; however, Paxil is sometimes associated with benzodiazepines, a class of addictive anxiety disorder medicines4.
Depression does not have any specific causes, nor is there an explanation for why depression affects some people and not others. Often, depression is accredited to stressful events; this may or may not be incorrect. Another tentative factor of depression is genetics; still this does not guarantee depression, and it may not be the underlying factor in someone who suffers from depression. Ultimately, the serotonin level in the neurotransmitters in the brain is severely low, thus making stress exceedingly moredifficult to cope with.
There is a certain ?stigma? associated with depression and antidepressant medications, thus there are many misconceptions about the causes and effects of depression. One such misconception is ?if you wait it out, your depression will just go away.? Other stereotypes connected with depression are ?if you can’t snap out of your depression, it means you’re weak,? or ?only suicidal people need antidepressant medication .? Obviously, concerning the chemical and physical nature of depression, these ideas are erroneous, and hopefully this essay has shed light on those misconceptions effectively.