Clinical depression goes by many names — depression, “the blues,” biological depression, major depression. But it all refers to the same thing: feeling sad and depressed for weeks or months on end (not just a passing blue mood).
Depression (mood) as defined by Wikipedia
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Dejection” and “despair” redirect here. For the poem, see Dejection: An Ode. For other uses of despair, see despair (disambiguation).
Melencolia I (ca. 1514), by Albrecht Dürer
Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person’s thoughts, behavior, feelings and sense of well-being. Depressed people may feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, worried, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable, hurt, or restless. They may lose interest in activities that once were pleasurable, experience loss of appetite or overeating, have problems concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions, and may contemplate or attempt suicide. Insomnia, excessive sleeping, fatigue, loss of energy, or aches, pains, or digestive problems that are resistant to treatment may also be present.
Depressed mood is not necessarily a psychiatric disorder. It may be a normal reaction to certain life events, a symptom of some medical conditions, or a side effect of some drugs or medical treatments. Depressed mood is also a primary or associated feature of certain psychiatric syndromes such as clinical depression.
Are you depressed?
If you identify with several of the following signs and symptoms, and they just won’t go away, you may be suffering from clinical depression.
Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
Loss of interest in daily activities. No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia).
Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
Reckless behaviour. You engage in escapist behaviour such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.
Negative thoughts. You can’t control your negative thoughts, no matter how much you try
Suicidal thoughts. You have thoughts that life is not worth living (seek help immediately if this is the case)
There are many on-line depression tests. These tests should not replace or substitute a visit to a physician. It is only an indicator. http://www.depressedtest.com A physician will have to rule out other serious medical conditions that may cause similar symptoms.
The main types of depression include:
- Major depression — to be diagnosed with major depression, you must have five or more of the symptoms listed above for at least 2 weeks. Major depression tends to continue for at least 6 months if not treated. (You are said to have minor depression if you have less than five depression symptoms for at least 2 weeks. Minor depression is similar to major depression except it only has two to four symptoms.)
- Atypical depression — occurs in about a third of patients with depression. Symptoms include overeating and oversleeping. You may feel like you are weighed down and get very upset by rejection.
- Dysthymia — a milder form of depression that can last for years, if not treated.
- Postpartum depression — many women feel somewhat down after having a baby, but true postpartum depression is more severe and includes the symptoms of major depression.
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) — symptoms of depression occur 1 week before your menstrual period and disappear after you menstruate.
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — occurs most often during the fall-winter season and disappears during the spring-summer season. It is most likely due to a lack of sunlight.
- Manic Depression may also alternate with mania (known as manic depression or bipolar disorder).
Factors that can may cause depression include:
- Alcohol or drug abuse
Medical conditions and treatments, such as:
- Certain types of cancer (pancreas, prostate, breast)
- Long-term pain
- Sleeping problems
- Steroid medications – Corticosteroid medications such as prednisone, which people take for diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or asthma
- Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
- Illegal steroids
- Over the counter appetite suppressants
Stressful life events, such as:
- Abuse or neglect
- Breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend
- Certain types of cancer
- Death of a relative or friend
- Divorce, including a parent’s divorce
- Failing a class
- Illness in the family
- Job loss
- Long-term pain
- Social isolation (common cause of depression in the elderly)
Many central nervous system illnesses and injuries can also lead to depression.
- head trauma
- multiple sclerosis