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  • 6/7/2010

What is Depression? (Part 2)

depression

Is depression difficult to diagnose?

It is estimated that, by the year 2020, major depression will be second only to ischemic heart disease in terms of the leading causes of illness in the world. But patients with depression sometimes fail to realize (or accept) that there is a physical cause to their depressed moods. As a result, they may search endlessly for external causes.

In the U.S., about 14.8 million adults suffer from major depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. The suicide risk in people with this type of depression is the highest rate for any psychiatric state. For people between the ages of 10 and 24, suicide is the third leading cause of death. Unfortunately, most people with clinical depression never seek treatment.

Left undiagnosed and untreated, depression can worsen, lasting for years and causing untold suffering, and possibly suicide.

What are the warning signs of suicide?

Depression carries a high risk of suicide. Anybody who expresses suicidal thoughts or intentions should be taken very, very seriously.

Warning signs of suicide include:

• thoughts or talk of death or suicide

• thoughts or talk of self-harm or harm to others

• aggressive behavior or impulsiveness

Previous suicide attempts increase the risk for future suicide attempts and completed suicide. All mention of suicide or violence must be taken seriously. If you intend or have a plan to commit suicide, go to the emergency room for immediate treatment.

Are there different types of depression?

There are a number of different types of depression including:

• major depression

• chronic depression (dysthymia)

• bipolar depression

• seasonal depression (SAD or seasonal affective disorder)

• psychotic depression

• postpartum depression

• substance-induced mood disorder (SIMD)

Are there other types of depression?

Other types of depression that can occur include:

• double depression -- a condition that happens when a person with chronic depression (dysthymia) experiences an episode of major depression

• secondary depression -- a depression that develops after the development of a medical condition such as hypothyroidism, stroke, Parkinson's disease, or AIDS, or after a psychiatric problem such as schizophrenia, panic disorder, or bulimia

• chronic treatment-resistant depression -- a condition that lasts over a year and is extremely difficult to treat with drugs.

• Masked depression -- a depression that is hidden behind physical complaints for which no organic cause can be found.

depression

Can depression occur with other mental illnesses?

Depression commonly occurs with other illnesses such as anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, phobias, and eating disorders.

 If you or a loved one has symptoms of depression and/or these other mental illnesses, talk to your doctor. Treatment is available to lift the depression so you or a loved one can regain your meaningful life.

Can depression have physical symptoms?

Because certain brain chemicals or neurotransmitters, specifically serotonin and norepinephrine, influence both mood and pain, it's not uncommon for depressed individuals to have physical symptoms. These symptoms may include joint pain, back pain, gastrointestinal problems, sleep disturbances, and appetite changes. The symptoms may also be accompanied by slowed speech and physical retardation. Many patients go from doctor to doctor seeking treatment for their physical symptoms when, in fact, they are clinically depressed.

Source: webmd.com


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