Depression: What it is, symptoms, causes, treatment, types, and more

What is depression

A feeling of unhappiness that lasts for a long time. Depression can be a medical condition and may have physical signs, for example being unable to sleep, etc.

Depression is a mood disorder that involves a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It is different from the mood fluctuations that people regularly experience as a part of life.

Signs and symptoms

The symptoms of depression can include:

  • a depressed mood
  • reduced interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • a loss of sexual desire
  • changes in appetite
  • unintentional weight loss or gain
  • sleeping too much or too little
  • agitation, restlessness, and pacing up and down
  • slowed movement and speech
  • fatigue or loss of energy
  • feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
  • recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, or an attempt at suicide

Characteristics And Causes Of Depression

Depression is probably the most common psychiatric complaint and has been described by physicians since before the time of ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, who called it melancholia. The course of the disorder is extremely variable from person to person; it may be mild or severe, acute or chronic. Untreated, depression may last an average of four months or longer. Depression is twice as prevalent in women than in men. The typical age of onset is in the 20s, but it may occur at any age.

Types Of Depression

Bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and persistent depressive disorder are the primary types of depression. A person who experiences alternating states of depression and mania (abnormal elevation of mood) or hypomania (distinct, though not necessarily abnormal, elevation of mood) is said to suffer from bipolar disorder. Major depressive disorder is characterized by severe symptoms that disrupt the individual’s daily life, typically with effects on appetite, sleep, work, or the ability to enjoy life. Episodes of major depression can occur at any age and may occur once or multiple times in an affected person’s life. Persistent depressive disorder involves symptoms that last two or more years, sometimes marked by episodes of major depression

Other types of depression include postpartum depression, psychotic depression, and seasonal affective disorder, each of which develops under specific circumstances. Postpartum depression develops in women in the period following childbirth. Symptoms include anxiety, a lack of interest in caring for the infant, and feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or inadequacy. Postpartum depression is longer-lasting and more severe than the “baby blues,” a common condition among women after childbirth that typically involves mood swings, feelings of sadness, and crying spells. Psychotic depression arises against a background of psychosis, which may involve symptoms of delusions, hallucinations, or paranoiaSeasonal affective disorder is characterized by the onset of depressive symptoms in autumn and winter, which are alleviated with increased exposure to natural light in spring and summer.

Published by Shivam Choudhary

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