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By Angela Young

All people feel sad and depresses at some point in their life, but people who suffer from severe depression have a diagnosable mental health disorder that requires care for improvement to be possible. Depression is a normal reaction to loss and disappointment in life. People who suffer from severe depression have symptoms of depression and deep sadness that last for days and weeks.

Clinically depresses people have symptoms that keep them from participating in daily activities including activities that they really enjoy. Many people mistake depression for sadness that they feel people will get over or they may think the person is just lazy. However, with proper diagnoses and care, the illness is treatable and recover is extremely possible.

Depression Symptoms

Symptoms of depression extend beyond sadness. Symptoms of depression include emotional symptoms as well as physical symptoms. People who suffer with depression may not have the same symptoms as others; every case is different as to how symptoms manifest themselves.

Symptoms of depression by themselves may be easy to dismiss. However, if one views the symptoms as a group then it is easier to see that they are likely symptoms of depression and not another issue.

Symptoms of depression include difficulty concentrating, inability to remember details, and difficulty making decisions. Lack of energy, fatigue, insomnia, waking up early in the morning and excessive sleeping are also signs of depression. Changes in diet, loss of interest in activities that someone once enjoyed, irritability, extreme sadness or the feeling of guilt and thoughts of suicide are all symptoms of severe depression.

Depression Causes

There are several theories on the cause of depression. Most scientists agree that depression or the tendency to develop severe depression runs in families. This means that genetics most likely play some role in most cases of depression. Beyond family history, life changes can cause depression. Death of a loved one, onset of a serious medical condition such as cancer and severe stress are all likely triggers for the development of clinic depression.

Some people are prone to develop severe depression despite not having a family history of the condition. People with low self-esteem or people who have tendencies to be pessimistic tend to more often develop depression than people who are generally positive individuals.

Women are more likely to develop depression than men. It is also common for the elderly to develop depression. Sometimes people dismiss the development of depression in the elderly as part of the aging process, but the development of depression in the elderly can also be a side effect of medications the person is taking.

Depression Diagnosis

There are no laboratory tests available to diagnose depression. Diagnosis of depression requires time with the patient. Doctors must learn about the patient’s symptoms, the length of time since the symptoms began and other contributing factors such as family history and any possible triggering life events. The doctor makes their diagnosis after compiling all the information and looking at all the factors that are involved.

Depression Treatment

Depression treatment is dependant upon the type of depression doctors determine a person is suffering from. Some depressions responds to medication, but other types of depression require medication and psychotherapy. There are also some people who require electroshock therapy to treat their depression.

The medications doctors prescribe to treat depression help the patient to deal with the symptoms of their illness. The medications help with the function of the brain by improving the balance of brain chemicals that when imbalanced lead to depression.

Psychotherapy helps patients learn better coping skills so that they can handle life in a more positive way. Most physicians recommend a combination of drug and psychotherapy for their depressed patients.

Electroshock therapy, while effective, is typically a last resort treatment and is usually for patients who are likely a threat to themselves or others.

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