Depression is a mood disorder that is becoming more and more common. The effects this disorder has on its victims is horrible. Diagnosing this disease is not easily done. Luckily when it can be diagnosed there are effective treatments known.
Depression affects up to 18.8 million Americans in any given one year period (10 depression myths debunked: knowing the facts about this mood disorder can help you combat it more effectively, 2007). A person with this disorder feels overwhelmed with sadness. Most lose interest in activities they were once interested in (Morris, 2002). Some symptoms also include the display of excessive guilt or feelings of worthlessness. In some cases people lose interest in food and sex. Feeling tired is also common. Trouble thinking or concentrating is common in serious cases. Some people who have depression seem to have no emotion (Morris, 2002). Some serious cases lead to suicide.
There are two different types of depression. There is the type of depression that everyone goes through from time to time. Perhaps a person feels depressed after a loved one dies, when a relationship ends, or when there are problems at work but the person is able to overcome the feelings (Morris, 2002). Clinical depression is diagnosed when it is serious, lasting, and well beyond the response to a stressful event (Morris, 2002).
Diagnosing this disorder can prove to be difficult. Due to resistance from patients and a lack of societal acceptance, physicians are hesitant to diagnose depression (Are Physicians Hesitant to Diagnose Depression?, 2007). Physicians also report it is difficult to diagnose depression because patients may show different symptoms based on gender and ethnicity (Are Physicians Hesitant to Diagnose Depression?, 2007). A survey administered by Epocrates, Inc. reported that 30 percent of clinicians said it was more difficult to discuss depression with men. In the same survey clinicians found it more difficult to link depression to some symptoms, such as anger or addiction, in men (Are Physicians Hesitant to Diagnose Depression?, 2007). The study also proved that physicians were twice as likely to experience depression as the general public. A national survey determined that depression is the leading cause of missed work days (Are Physicians Hesitant to Diagnose Depression?, 2007).
The most common treatment for depression is medication. There are many different types of antidepressants. There is evidence that leads scientists to believe depression is the result of abnormalities in brain chemicals such as serotonin and norepinephrine. Each antidepressant works on brain chemistry a little differently. They all improve the transmission of serotonin and norepinephrine (Koenig, n.d.). Each antidepressant has side effects. Some antidepressants result in weight loss. If a symptom of the patients depression is overeating or weight gain a doctor could prescribe a type of antidepressant with the side effect of weight loss. Medication has proven to be very effective in treating depression (Koenig, n.d.).
Depression can also be treated with psychotherapy or counseling. A person with depression can talk to someone who will listen and try to understand what the individual is going through (Koenig, n.d.). Tips and advice about how to get through the troubling situation can be given to the individual suffering from depression. It is about eighty to ninety percent effective with medication (Koenig, n.d.).
Another treatment for depression is electric shock therapy. This type of treatment is extremely effective especially for people who do not respond to medication or who can not take the side effects (Koenig, n.d.). Electric shock therapy has come a long way from 20 or 30 years ago. Today an anesthetic is used when doing the procedure. People are unconscious while the procedure is happening. Only part of the brain receives the treatment (Koenig, n.d.). Usually it is an outpatient procedure. The patient may have to wait an hour or two but are normally released the same day the procedure is completed. There are very few side effects to electric shock therapy and it works to end depression quickly (Koenig, n.d.).
Overall depression is a disorder that effects peoples emotions. It is not always an easy disorder to diagnose but when it is there are effective treatments to overcome it. Each treatment has proven to be effective. Medication is the most common treatment. Therapy and electric shock therapy have also proven to be effective. Depression is a disorder that is becoming more common but the research being done is making it easier to recognize and treat.
10 depression myths debunked: knowing the facts about this mood disorder can help you combat it more effectively [Electronic version]. (2007). Mind, Mood, & Memory, 3.4, 7. from Gale Apollo Library (A171539178).
Morris, C.G., & Maisto, A.A. (2002). Psychology: An Introduction (12th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Are Physicians Hesitant to Diagnose Depression? (2007, June 7). PR Newswire. Retrieved October 14, 2009, from Gale Apollo Library (A164584386).
Koenig, H. (n.d.). What Are The Most Common Treatments For Depression?. Retrieved October 14, 2009, from http://www.abcnews.go.com/Health/DepressionOverview/story? id=4355869