Depression – Causes, Treatment, and Prevention
A mental status examination and reported experiences are required to diagnose major depressive disorder. While there is no specific laboratory test to confirm the diagnosis, tests can rule out other physical conditions that cause similar symptoms. In general, females are twice as likely to develop depression as males. It can last for weeks, months, or even a lifetime. While the cause of depression is not completely understood, current theories focus on the role of the HPA axis, monoaminergic systems, and circadian rhythm in the development of the disorder. Additionally, structural abnormalities of the emotional circuits in the brain may contribute to depression.
Treatment for depression may include a variety of approaches. Psychotherapy is one approach to treating depression. It involves an individual, family, or couple. Family psychotherapy can help address issues in a relationship. Group therapy focuses on similar issues that affect many people and teaches the participants how to deal with them. Treatment may take a few weeks or longer, but results are often significant. Depending on the severity of depression, therapy can help you feel better over time.
Although the DSM can help diagnose and treat depression, it has significant limitations. Although depression can be genetically inherited, many other factors also affect its development. Because depression affects the entire body, it’s best to postpone big decisions until your mood improves. In the meantime, focus on the positive aspects of your life and discuss your big decisions with loved ones. As the depression responds to treatment, the negative thoughts will dissipate.
Some common symptoms of depression in adolescents include irritability, poor attendance, and poor performance in school. The teen may also feel hopeless and angry, and may be prone to self-harm. If any of these signs or symptoms persist, you should consult a medical professional immediately. If you suspect that your teen is suffering from depression, contact 911 or your local mental health agency. In some cases, it may be a sign of another medical condition.
Whether depression runs in the family or is genetically transmitted, treatment is possible. The earlier treatment is sought, the better the chance for recovery. If the symptoms are detected early, medications can be taken or a combination of both. Drugs can also be prescribed to help relieve severe anxiety and allow the individual to engage in meaningful psychotherapy. Since no two people are the same, it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis before beginning treatment. Even if depression is diagnosed late, it is important to seek treatment.
While feeling down is normal and is common, it can become a major medical condition if untreated. Depression has a variety of symptoms that affect the body and mood. It can be an ongoing issue or a brief episode that may come and go. Symptoms are unique to each individual and may occur intermittently or at different times of the day. Depression may mimic other medical conditions such as thyroid dysfunction, brain tumor, or vitamin deficiency.