Depression Essay, Research Paper
Imagine living with the most common and most painful mental illness (Blackman 89). You wouldn’t be able to do your work or get along with anyone. This disease is depression; this paper will discuss facts about depression, signs and symptoms, different types, medication and therapy.
Depression is a persistent feeling of sadness, despair and discouragement that last over a long period of time (Salmans 171). Depression affects a person’s mood, thoughts, body, and behavior (Lytle). A number of factors, both biochemical and psychosocial, combine to bring on this horrible disease (Salmans 41). The biggest factor is that neurotransmitters become inactive (Stewart 8).
Unfortunately, only 20% of all depressed people actually get help (Stewart 11). Fortunately though, 85% of all depressed people that do get help can be helped to a significant degree (Salmans 75). Finally, in 1970, they saw depression as a disorder in young peoples (Stewart 8). Even babies can become depressed if they’re neglected. Many young people that suffer from depression turn to suicide.
5,000 young people take their lives each year (Stewart 9). The rate of suicide dealing with teenagers, 15-19, has tripled in the past 30 years (Salmans 40). Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among older teens (Stewart 9). Depression isn’t the only reason for suicide though.
Depression has many effects on a person, both physically and mentally. Restlessness, irritability, frequent crying, and change in behavior are all common signs (Kist 26). Chronic aches and pains, such as headaches or stomachaches and other digestive problems that don’t get better with treatment are symptoms too.
Ones sleeping may be altered. A person could have difficulty falling asleep, or getting up too early in the morning, or oversleeping (Kist 26). A big problem depressed people feel is a lost in interest. A person will stop doing activities they used to enjoy (Kist 26).
Depression affects one’s mental life too. People start to feel worthless, guilty, sad, and empty for a long time (Kist 26). This disease can get people to think of death or suicide, some even go to the extent of attempting to take their lives. A person’s memory can even be affected. Depression brings on poor concentration or inability to think and make decisions (Kist 26).
Depression comes in many different types: major, manic and dysthymia are a few. A chronic physical illness, drug habit, death of a loved one, or a problem in a marriage cause major depression. Even though most with major depression will recover, half will suffer another episode (Hales 38). People with severe cases of major depression can’t work, study, or interact and eventually can’t feed, clothe or clean themselves (Hales 38). In the United States 9%-26% of women and 5%-12% of men suffer from this type (Hales 38).
Manic depression is a type of depression that goes from a person being extremely happy and then becoming severely depressed (Olshan 107). Being in a depressed state can be life threatening. People suffering from manic depression show many symptoms. A few major ones are hyperactivity, talking fast, inability, fear of dying, and jumping from one topic to another during a conversation (Olshan 39).
Another type of depression is dysthymia. Dysthymia is a disorder that begins in childhood (Blackman 92). People suffering from this type often go on to develop severe depression. Unfortunately, dysthymia is linked to other problems such as, anorexia, drug abuse, and anxiety (Hales 40). Children and teens with hyperactivity, conduct disorders, mental retardation, development problems or parents that abuse them are more susceptible to have dysthymia (Hales 40). Young people’s relationship with peers and adults will even be affected. Dysthymia is a prolonged sadness for at least two years without any change in a person’s mood (Hales 39). Poor eating or over eating and low energy and low self-esteem are signs one’s suffering from dysthymia.
Depression can be helped with anti-depressants. The three main categories of anti-depressants are tricyclics (TCA’s), monoamine oxiduse inhibitors (MAOI’s), and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s). TCA’s raise the level of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain (Salmans 126). They slow the rate of absorption by the nerve cells (Salmans 126). TCA’s have been prescribed since the 1950’s (Salmans 126). Tricyclics are made up of a triple carbon ring (Salmans 126). The most popular brand names of TCA’s are Imipramine (Tofranil), Amutruptyline (Elaurl), and Nortriptyline (Pamelor) (Salmans 126).
Side affects vary person to person. If they are taken at high doses, TCA’s can be lethal. TCA’s are the leading cause of death by a drug overdose in the United States (Salmans 127). People with heart diseases shouldn’t take TCA’s (Salmans 128). Also, people taking thyroid supplements, antihypertension medication, oral contraceptives, antihistamines, or aspirin should avoid TCA’s (Salmans 128).
When people with depression don’t respond to tricyclics, they are prescribed MAOI’s. The three leading brand names are Phenelzine (Nardil), Tranylcypromine (Darnate), and Isocarboxazid (Marplan) (Salmans 129). Monoamine oxiduse inhibitors, inhibit monoamine oxiduse, which is an enzyme that destroys neurotransmitters in the brain (Salmans 129).
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are the newest of the three medications this paper discusses. The three most popular SSRI’s are Prozac, Zoloct, and Paxil (Salmans 131). Prozac is the most common out of those three. Prozac is used by six million people in the United States and by eleven million worldwide (Salmans 119). Prozac was first introduced in 1988 (Salmans 119). An antidepressant produces neurochemicals that depressed people are missing (Salmans 119). Antidepressants prevent or relieve depression. The good things about antidepressants are that children can take them (Salmans 124-125). Lithium is used to help depression even though it isn’t an antidepressant (Salmans 120).
Even though 50%-60% of depressed people respond to medication within four to six weeks (Salmans 78). There are two ways that depression can be treated, with medication or with psychotherapy. In some cases both may be required. There are ways to raise a person’s mood without either of these. Some people raise theirs by exercise, enjoyment, giving themselves a break, or self help groups (Hales 76). Mild depression can be fixed by group psychotherapy (Blackman).
Doctors should have a comfortable room that appeals to them and others as they feel it’s easy to talk about their problems (Blackman). There are two hundred different kinds of psychotherapy (Salmans 89). One type is psychoeducation (Salmans 90). Psychoeducation is to stabilize the home environment and educate the other family members about what their depressed family member is going through (Salmans 90). The most popular type of therapy is called “talking therapies” (Hales 79). “Talking therapies” are short-term, structured treatments. People usually have twelve to twenty sessions within twelve to sixteen weeks (Hales 79).
The main goals of psychotherapy are, to remove symptoms, restore the level of everyday functioning that the patient had before becoming depressed, and to provide ways to deal with the depression and the effects (Olshan 83).
Another type is psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis focuses on a patient’s unconscious thought, such as dreams, fantasies, and actions (Olshan 84). During psychoanalysis the patient meets with a psychiatrist or a psychologist up to five times a week, and talks about his or her childhood, dreams, or whatever else may come to mind (Olshan 84).
Behavior therapy is another popular type of therapy. Behavior therapy is based on two things. The first thing it’s based on is that the personality is a collection of learned habits, second that disordered behavior is nothing more than the use of these habits are situations where they have no useful value (Olshan 84). Psychodrama really helps depressed people let their emotions out. Psychodrama is under the direction of a therapist and is a group of patients that act out their problems (Olshan 85). The main goal of psychodrama therapy is to help depressed people better understand his or her reaction to other people and other situations that may affect depressive behavior (Olshan 85). Sometimes eight to twelve people get together for group therapy (Olshan 85). Group therapy really helps a patient by letting the patient know that others have similar problems (Olshan 85).
Depression reaches many people and that is why I chose this as my topic. Depression is maybe the most painful illness, but it can be overcomed. Hopefully everyone with depression seeks help either through medication or therapy. I myself suffer from depression and have over come the illness through medication and therapy. Depression can affect people of all ages. Like people are immune to other illnesses, on one is immune to depression. So if you or anyone else is feeling blue and down in the dumps for a long time it could be the most common mental illness, depression that is causing this horrible feeling.
Blackman, Maurice. You Asked about ? Adolescent Depression. Available at http://www.mental.health.com/mag1/pgs51-dp01.html
Hales, Dianne. Depression. Chelsea House Publishers, New York, Philadelphia, 1989.
Kist, Jay. “Dealing with Depression” Current Health 2 Jan.1997 25-28
Lytle, Victoria. The dark clouds of Depression. NEA Today Dec.1994