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Depression is a brain disorder that can lead to emotional anguish. Changes in how your brain functions also can have a big effect on your body. Depression contributes to a wide array of physical problems that affect everything from your heart to your immune system. Depression doesn’t always cause just physical symptoms but it can also increase your risk for certain physical illnesses or conditions.
Symptoms can include many things such as; trouble concentrating, fatigue, feeling of guilt, feeling irritable, overeating or appetite loss, restlessness, and suicidal thoughts. Depressions can also cause physical symptoms such as; increased ache pains which occur in about two out of three people with depression, chronic fatigue, decreased interest in sex, decreased appetite, and insomnia (lack of deep sleep, or oversleeping.)
Figuring out if you have depression often starts with a thought history or a physical exam. Your doctor might ask questions like when your symptoms started, how long they’ve lasted, how severe they are, if it runs in your family, and even about your history of drugs or alcohol abuse. The goal with the physical exam is to rule out physical causes for depression. When the doctor performs the exam, they will try to identify any major health concerns that may be contributing to symptoms of Depression. Depression can usually be treated by a mental health professional and most likely some medications. That may include antidepressants, therapy, psychotherapy, or even both. Another treatment for depression is an ECT, electroconvulsive therapy. This is an option for people whose symptoms don’t get better with medicine or who have a really bad case of severe depression and need treatment IMMEDIATELY.
You should seek help if your symptoms are causing problems with relationships, work, or your family. Talking with a mental health counselor or doctor can help prevent things from getting worse, especially if your symptoms stay for any length of time. Depression carries a high risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts. Warning signs may include; A sudden switch from sadness to extreme calmness, or appearing to be happy, Always talking or thinking about death, Clinical depression (deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating) that gets worse, taking risks that could lead to death, such as driving through red lights, making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or even worthless, Putting affairs in order, like tying up loose ends or changing a will, saying things like “it would be better if i weren’t here” or “i want out”, Talking about suicide, visiting or calling close friends and loved ones. Not all depressions are the same. It can range anywhere from mild depression to severe.
There are different types such as bipolar I and II disorders, cyclothymic disorder, persistent depressive disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and others. Depression is twice as common in women as it is in men. Major depression is most likely to affect people between the ages forty-five and sixty five. People in the middle age are at the top of the bell curve for depression, but the people at each end of the curve, the very young and very old, may be at higher risk for severe depression. Black and Hispanic Americans are most likely to meet the criteria for MDD. Black Americans are usually forty percent less likely to experience depression during their lifetime, according to NIMH. Many studies show that depression can be passed down through families. If you have an identical twin with major depressive disorder your chance of having MDD is fifty percent.
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