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What’s The Definition Of Depression

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Medical Definition Of Depression

What is Depression?

Reviewed on 3/29/2021

Depression: An illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and that affects the way a person eats, sleeps, feels about himself or herself, and thinks about things. Depression is not the same as a passing blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be wished away. People with depression cannot merely ‘pull themselves together’ and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Appropriate treatment, however, can help most people with depression. The signs and symptoms of depression include loss of interest in activities that were once interesting or enjoyable, including sex; loss of appetite, with weight loss, or overeating, with weight gain; loss of emotional expression ; a persistently sad, anxious, or empty mood; feelings of hopelessness, pessimism, guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness; social withdrawal; unusual fatigue, low energy level, a feeling of being slowed down; sleep disturbance and insomnia, early-morning awakening or oversleeping; trouble concentrating, remembering, or making decisions; unusual restlessness or irritability; persistent physical problems such as headaches, digestive disorders, or chronic pain that do not respond to treatment, and thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts. The principal types of depression are called major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disease .

How Do I Know Which Type I Have

If you think you might have any type of depression, its important to follow up with a doctor. All depression types discussed in this article are treatable, though it might take some time to find the right treatment for you.

If youve had a previous bout of depression and think it may be happening again, see your psychiatrist or other mental health professional right away.

If youve never had depression before, start with your primary care physician. Some symptoms of depression can be related to an underlying physical condition that should be addressed.

Try to give your doctor as much information about your symptoms as you can. If possible, mention:

  • when you first noticed them
  • how theyve affected your daily life
  • any other mental health conditions you have
  • any information about a history of mental illness in your family
  • all prescription and over-the-counter medications you take, including supplements and herbs

It might feel uncomfortable, but try to tell your doctor everything. This will help them give you a more accurate diagnosis and refer you to the right type of mental health professional.

Symptoms That Impact Mood And Thought Processes

A person struggling with crippling depression may experience many of the following:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness and/or anxiousness
  • Feeling empty and alone
  • Appetite changes
  • Decrease in concentration and memory

A diagnosis of major depressive disorder is typically made by a practicing medical physician or psychiatrist. A physical exam and lab tests may be performed to rule out potential physical conditions that could be contributing to the observed symptoms, such as a thyroid disorder.

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Personal Factors That Can Lead To Depression

Personal factors that can lead to a risk of depression include:

  • family history depression can run in families and some people will be at an increased genetic risk. However, this doesnt mean that a person will automatically experience depression if a parent or close relative has had the condition.
  • personality some people may be more at risk because of their personality, particularly if they tend to worry a lot, have low self-esteem, are perfectionists, are sensitive to personal criticism, or are self-critical and negative
  • serious medical conditions these can trigger depression in two ways. Serious conditions can bring about depression directly or can contribute to depression through the associated stress and worry, especially if it involves long-term management of a condition or chronic pain
  • drug and alcohol use can both lead to and result from depression. Many people with depression also have drug and alcohol problems.;

What Triggers A Depression

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A series of factors can cause an economy and production to contract severely. In the case of the Great Depression, questionable monetary policy took the blame.

After the stock market crashed in 1929, the Federal Reserve continued to hike interest ratesdefending thegold standard took priority over pumping money into the economy to encourage spending. Those actions triggered massive deflation. Prices declined by about 10% each year and consumers, mindful that the prices for goods and services would continue to fall, refrained from making purchases.

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Manic Depression Or Bipolar Disorder

Manic depression consists of periods of mania or hypomania, where you feel very happy, alternating with episodes of depression. Manic depression is an outdated name for bipolar disorder.

In order to be diagnosed with bipolar I disorder, you have to experience an episode of mania that lasts for seven days, or less if hospitalization is required. You may experience a depressive episode before or following the manic episode.

Depressive episodes have the same symptoms as major depression, including:

  • feelings of sadness or emptiness
  • lack of energy
  • unusual, risky, and self-destructive behavior
  • feeling elated, high, or euphoric

In severe cases, episodes can include hallucinations and delusions. Hypomania is a less severe form of mania. You can also have mixed episodes in which you have symptoms of both mania and depression.

Questions To Ask Your Doctor

  • Ive been feeling _____. Could I be depressed?
  • Do I need treatment? What are my treatment options?
  • Should I see a therapist?
  • Is there anything I can do at home to help myself?
  • Are there support groups in my area?
  • If Im pregnant or breastfeeding, can I take antidepressants?
  • Will I feel this way the rest of my life?
  • Will I have to take medicine the rest of my life?
  • How can I tell if a loved one is depressed?
  • Does dementia increase depression?
  • What should I do if I am having thoughts of suicide?

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Take Care Of Yourself

You can also improve symptoms of depression by taking care of yourself. This includes getting plenty of sleep, eating a healthy diet, avoiding negative people, and participating in enjoyable activities.

Sometimes depression doesnt respond to medication. Your healthcare provider may recommend other treatment options if your symptoms dont improve.

How To Tell If You Have Depression

What Does CLINICAL DEPRESSION Feel Like? (Major Depression)

Depression affects people in different;ways and can cause a wide variety;of symptoms.

They range from lasting feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness, to losing interest in the things you used to enjoy and feeling very tearful. Many people with depression;also have symptoms of anxiety.

There;can be;physical symptoms too, such as;feeling constantly tired, sleeping badly,;having;no;appetite;or sex drive, and various;aches and pains.

The;symptoms of depression range from mild to severe. At its mildest, you may simply feel persistently low in spirit, while severe;depression can make you feel suicidal, that life is no longer worth living.

Most people experience feelings of stress, anxiety or low mood;during difficult times. A low mood;may improve after a short period of time, rather than being a sign of depression.

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What Is A Depression

A depression is a severe and prolonged downturn in economic activity. In economics, a depression is commonly defined as an extreme recessionthat lasts three or more years or which leads to a decline in real gross domestic product of at least 10%. in a given year. Depressions are relatively less frequent than milder recessions, and tend to be accompanied by high unemployment and low inflation.

Examples Of Depression In A Sentence

depressiondepressiondepressiondepressionsdepression orlandosentinel.comdepression Los Angeles TimesdepressionThe New YorkerdepressionThe New York Review of Booksdepression PEOPLE.comdepressionVoguedepressionWSJdepression Anchorage Daily News

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word ‘depression.’ Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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Can Giving Birth Cause Depression

In the days following the birth of a baby, it is common for some mothers to have mood swings. They may feel a little depressed or have a hard time concentrating. They may lose their appetite or find that they cant sleep well even when the baby is asleep. This is called the baby blues and goes away within 10 days after delivery. However, some women have worse symptoms or symptoms that last longer. This is called;postpartum depression.

Ways You Can Look After Yourself

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If youre depressed, there are steps you can take to lift your mood and help your recovery. These steps can help if youve been depressed in the past and want to stay well.

  • Talk about how youre feeling. Talking to someone you trust, or finding peer support, can help you feel better and less alone.
  • Eat well. A healthy diet can lift your mood and maintain your mental health.
  • Stay physically active. Exercise may feel like the last thing you want to do, but it can ease the symptoms of depression. Research suggests it may be as effective as antidepressants in helping you feel better.
  • Spend time in nature. Research shows that being in nature can make us feel happier, feel our lives are more worthwhile, and reduce our levels of depression
  • Avoid cigarettes and alcohol. They may feel like theyre helping at first, but they make things worse in the long run.
  • Try talking therapy to stay well. NICE guidelines recommend CBT or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy if youve been depressed in the past.

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What Illnesses Happen With Depression

Itâs common for people to have other medical or mental health problems along with depression, such as anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, phobias, substance use disorders, and eating disorders. If you or a loved one has symptoms of depression or another mental illness, talk to your doctor. Treatments can help.

What Are The Symptoms Of Depression

Each person is different and will have unique symptoms, but here are some of the more common symptoms of depression:

  • Depressed mood
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness or hopelessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in usually-enjoyed activities
  • Change in weight or appetite
  • Sleep disturbances

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Natural Treatment For Depression

Traditional depression treatment uses a combination of prescription medication and counseling. But there are also alternative or complementary treatments you can try.

Its important to remember that many of these natural treatments have few studies showing their effects on depression, good or bad.

Likewise, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesnt approve many of the dietary supplements on the market in the United States, so you want to make sure youre buying products from a trustworthy brand.

Talk to your healthcare provider before adding supplements to your treatment plan.

Different Types Of Depression

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Your doctor may diagnose you with depression and say that its mild, moderate or severe depending on your symptoms and how severe they are. Or you may be diagnosed with a specific type of depression, such as:

  • dysthymia mild depression that lasts for several years
  • seasonal affective disorder depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern
  • postnatal depression depression that many parents experience after having a baby. Some people experience antenatal depression during pregnancy.

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How Is Depression Diagnosed

Tell your doctor about your symptoms. Dont expect your doctor to guess that youre depressed just by looking at you. You may feel embarrassed. It may be hard for you to imagine treatment will actually help you feel better. But dont wait to talk to your doctor. The sooner you seek treatment, the sooner the depression will lift.

Once you tell your doctor how youre feeling, he or she may ask you some questions about your symptoms, your health, and your family history. Your doctor may also give you a physical exam and do some tests. It is important to tell your doctor about any medicines that you are taking.

Reasons to get help early:

  • Early diagnosis and treatment helps keep depression from getting worse or lasting a long time.
  • Diagnosis and treatment can help you return to your normal self and enjoy life.
  • Treatment can help prevent depression from coming back.
  • Thoughts of suicide are common in people with major depression. The risk of suicide is higher the longer you wait to treat it. When depression is successfully treated, thoughts of suicide go away.

Life Events And Depression

Research suggests that continuing difficulties, such as long-term unemployment, living in an abusive or uncaring relationship, long-term isolation or loneliness or prolonged exposure to stress at work can increase the risk of depression.;

Significant adverse life events, such as losing a job, going through a separation or divorce, or being diagnosed with a serious illness, may also trigger depression, particularly among people who are already at risk because of genetic, developmental or other personal factors.

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Example Of A Depression

The Great Depression lasted roughly a decade and is widely considered to be the worst economic downturn in the history of the industrialized world. It began shortly after the Oct. 24, 1929, U.S. stock market crash known as Black Thursday. After years of reckless investing and speculation the stock market bubble burst and a huge sell-off began, with a record 12.9 million .

The United States was already in a recession, and the following Tuesday, on Oct. 29, 1929, the Dow Jones Industrial Average;fell 12% in another mass sell-off, triggering the start of the Great Depression.

Although the Great Depression began in the United States, the economic impact was felt worldwide for more than a decade. The Great Depression was characterized by a drop in;consumer spending;and investment, and by catastrophic unemployment, poverty, hunger, and political unrest. In the U.S., unemployment climbed to nearly 25% in 1933, remaining in the double-digits until 1941, when it finally receded to 9.66%.

During the Great Depression, unemployment rose to 24.9%, wages slid 42%, real estate prices declined 25%, total U.S. economic output fell by 30%, and many investors’ portfolios became completely worthless when stock prices dropped to 10% of their previous highs.

Antenatal And Postnatal Depression

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Women are at an increased risk of depression during pregnancy and in the year following childbirth . This time frame may also be referred to as the perinatal period.

The causes of depression at this time can be complex and are often the result of a combination of factors. In the days immediately following birth, many women experience the baby blues, which is a common condition related to hormonal changes, affecting up to 80 per cent of women who have given birth.;

The baby blues, or the general stress of adjusting to pregnancy or a new baby, are common experiences, but are different from depression.;

Depression is longer lasting and can affect not only the mother, but her relationship with her baby, the childs development, the mothers relationship with her partner and with other members of the family.

Up to one in 10 women will experience depression during pregnancy. This increases to 16 per cent in the first three months after having a baby.

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The Role Of Prejudice In The Perception Of The Other

When we meet a person our perception of him may be conditioned because of our prejudices.;Prejudice is a preconceived idea.;Opinion about others based on prejudice is a strategy that leads to the creation of stereotypes.;Thus, we classify someone not for their personal qualities, but for other reasons .

Social perception based on prejudices is a source of conflict, as;judging;the other without previously knowing him/her is an unfair and unintelligent approach.

Causes & Risk Factors

There is no single cause of depression.

Potential triggers of depression include:

  • genetic or family history of depression
  • psychological or emotional vulnerability to depression
  • biological factors such as imbalances in brain chemistry and in the endocrine/immune systems
  • major stress in the person’s life.

Depression and physical illness

  • the result of another illness that shares the same symptoms
  • a reaction to another illness
  • caused by neurological changes resulting from a physical illness .

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When Does Low Mood Become Depression

We all have times when our mood is low, and we’re feeling sad or miserable about life. Usually these feelings pass in due course.

But if the feelings are interfering with your life and don’t go away after a couple of weeks, or if they come back over and over again for a few days at a time, it could be a sign that you’re experiencing depression. See our page on the symptoms of depression for more information.

Characteristics And Causes Of Depression

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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.

Depression can have many causes. Unfavourable life events can increase a persons vulnerability to depression or trigger a depressive episode. Negative thoughts about oneself and the world are also important in producing and maintaining depressive symptoms. However, both psychosocial and biochemical mechanisms seem to be important causes; the chief biochemical cause appears to be the defective regulation of the release of one or more naturally occurring neurotransmitters in the brain, particularly norepinephrine and serotonin. Reduced quantities or reduced activity of these chemicals in the brain is thought to cause the depressed mood in some sufferers.

Research suggests that depression is also linked to physical activity, whereby physical activity may lower a persons risk of developing depression. Individuals who exercise typically report better mental health and are less likely to be depressed, compared with individuals who do not exercise.

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