Depression [Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) or Clinical Depression (CD)] is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must be present for at least two weeks.
(The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is the lead federal agency for research on mental disorders)
|Disorder||Number of people with the disorder||Share of global population with disorder||Highest among age group 18-25 years|
|Depression||264 million||8.7% (F)
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S. Current research suggests that depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.
Depression can happen at any age, but often begins in adulthood. Depression, especially in midlife or older adults, can co-occur with other serious medical illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease. These conditions are often worse when depression is present. Sometimes medications taken for these physical illnesses may cause side effects that contribute to depression.
Depression results from a complex interaction of social, psychological, and biological factors. People who have gone through adverse life events (unemployment, bereavement, psychological trauma) are more likely to develop depression.
If you have been experiencing some of the following signs and symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, you can be suffering from depression:
These should be present for at least two weeks to diagnose it as Clinical Depression.
Not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some people experience only a few symptoms while others may experience many. During these episodes, the person experiences depressed mood, loss of interest and enjoyment, and reduced energy leading to diminished activity. Many people with depression also suffer from anxiety symptoms, disturbed sleep, and appetite, and may have feelings of guilt or low self-worth, poor concentration and even symptoms that cannot be explained by a medical diagnosis.
No two people are affected the same way by depression and there is no “one-size-fits-all” for treatment. It may take some trial and error to find the treatment that works best for you.
Diagnosis is made by history taking and finding any of the above-mentioned symptoms. Physicians usually use Diagnostic & Statistical Manual (DSM) codes for diagnosis of clinical depression.
Lately EEG & QEEG biomarkers and MRI & fMRI images of the brain are being used to look for changes specific to Depression.
There isn’t a single test to diagnose depression. But your healthcare provider can make a diagnosis based on your symptoms and a psychological evaluation.
In most cases, they’ll ask a series of questions about your:
Because depression can be linked to other health problems, your healthcare provider may also conduct a physical examination and order blood work. Sometimes thyroid problems or a vitamin D deficiency can trigger symptoms of depression.
WHO has many PDF documents related to Depression that you can download or print:
Do you feel like life is not worth living?
Staying positive and preventing depression as you get older.
Living with someone with depression?
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