Depressive Disorder

There are two common types of depressive disorder,

            Major Depressive Disorder
            Dysthymia

A major depressive disorder is a combination of symptoms that last longer than 2 weeks in a row, where it affects every aspect of the person's life. From the person who is depressed to their work and/or school life, changes in their sleeping and eating habits, pain, plus a loss of interests in activities that they once enjoyed and/or found pleasure in.

Dysthymia is not as severe as major depressive disorder, but it does last longer than the major depressive disorder and they can have periods of major depressive disorder. Dysthymia does not prevent the person from their everyday activities but the person does not feel fully engaged in their activities.

Depression is a mental disorder/illness, where 1 in 10 Canadians will experience a major depressive disorder in their life. It also seems that women are twice as likely to end up depressed then men, but scientists do not know why women are more likely to become depressed. Depression is a common disorder/illness but it seems that people who are depressed do not always seek treatment, and treatment is what they can benefit from the most. Depression actually affects a person’s mood, thoughts and the body so they feel depression physically, through pain. Sadly though depression is not the only illness that a depressed person can have, but depression is very much treatable. Fortunately the other illnesses that a person may have can also be treatment. Some examples of other illnesses that a depressed person may or may not be going through are listed below;

            Anxiety disorder
            Post-traumatic stress disorder
            Obsessive-compulsive disorder
            Panic disorder
            Social phobia
            Alcohol and/or drug dependences

Women, men and children/adolescents all experience depression differently.

Women experience depression differently due the vulnerability after giving birth where hormones change, biology, and their life cycle can be linked to higher rates of women becoming depressed. Also when a woman goes through changes during menopause can also increase risk of depression especially if they had episodes of depressive behaviour in the past.

Men differ from women in the ways of causes and copying with the symptoms of depression. Men will admit to being tired, irritable, and having changes in their sleep habits, while women will admit to being sad, worthless and having guilt. Men have the higher likelihood of turning to alcohol or drugs when they are depressed, and others will turn into workaholics to avoid dealing with their depression. Men can become angrier, discouraged, frustrated and may become abusive so they do not have to talk about being depressed.

Children and adolescents

If during childhood there is depression, then it will most likely happen again during adulthood especially if the child is not treated for depression during childhood. It is hard to tell what are the signs of depression in children due to changes that is happening to them, but these could be signs (best for a doctor to diagnosis);

            May feel sorry for themselves
            May get into trouble at school/poor grades
            •Be negative
            Always feeling bored
            Lots of complaints of headaches and/or stomach aches
            Be short-tempered
            Feel misunderstood by parents and/or others
            Running away

Children that are depressed tend to be more touchy/easily angered, rather than look depressed. Even girls are twice as more likely to have a major depressive experience than boy, especially by the age of 15. Also with adolescent depression other disorders may be present like;

            Anxiety disorder
            Disruptive behaviour
            Eating disorders
            Substance abuse issues

Where they may by more at risk for suicidal thoughts and actions, but to prevent this, having your child diagnosed and by treating the depression through therapy would benefit most.

Signs and Symptoms that a person with depression may feel and/or what they may be going through. Not everyone is the same so one person may only have a few symptoms while another can have many more, it all depends on the person and how bad/sever their depression is.

            Feel worthless
            Guilty or have regret
            Helpless
            Hopeless
            Hate themselves
            Hard time focusing/Poor memory
            Pull away from social situations and activities
            Cannot sleep (this can affect about 80% of depressed people)
            Sleeping too much/oversleeping
            Be tired/low to no energy
            Have headaches and body aches
            Changes in weight either lose or gain weight
            Crying spells
            Sad or empty feelings
            Thoughts of suicide and/or attempts
            Substance abuse issues

Let’s look at some of the causes of depression. Some people have different ideas of why a person gets a depressive disorder and I will share all the causes that I have found. Some causes of depression are thought to be psycho-social, hereditary and/or biological factors. Psycho-social factors can be described as low self-esteem along with continuous negative thoughts, with factors that increase risk on depression are:

            Divorce
            Unemployment
            Poverty
            Death of a spouse or another significant person
            A chronic illness
            Financial problems
            Abuse as a child either physical, sexual, emotional and/or neglect

Depression can also be passed down generation from generation, which would make it hereditary. Another factor could be biological, especially when a woman cannot bear children, or when a depressed mother is pregnant and passes their stress hormones to the foetus during development. This can increase the risk of a child being depressed during adulthood, although these are just ideas of what researches think can cause, but the exact cause of depression is still unknown.

Treatments that can help with depressive disorder are antidepressants and/or psychotherapy/counselling. An antidepressant is a type of medication given in pill form that would help a person feel better and boost enjoyment of life. Psychotherapy/counselling can be done in a group form or one on one with the therapist. This usually helps when trying to talk through your issues that can be causing depression, and/or change or unlearn negative thoughts, patterns and behaviours. Most time a combination of medication and psychotherapy/counselling will work, but again in depends on the person. Also exercise can be helpful to people who are depressed or have mild depression. Exercise releases endorphins (which are feel good hormones) into the body after working out, which is a natural way to increase your mood and energy.

It is important to seek treatment is you believe that you are depressed. Depression is often under diagnosed and under treated. Suggested Professions needed when someone is depressed.

            Psychiatrist
            Psychologists
            Family Doctor
            Social Worker
            Mental Health Counsellor

Please remember to visit a doctor or nurse when and if you feel you or someone you love may be depressed. Also only a professional can diagnose a person with depression, for more information please check out depessionhurts.ca.

Website/Bibliography

“Depression”, MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/depression/article.htm                   (12 Nov, 2010)

“Depression”, National Institute of Mental Health
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/complete-index.shtml            (12 Nov, 2010)

“Depressive Disorders”, WD
www.wrongdiagnosis.com/d/depressive_disorders/intro.htm   (12 Nov, 2010)

“Major Depressive Disorder”, Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_depressive_disorder            (12 Nov, 2010)
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