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Depression is also known as depressive disorders or unipolar depression, is a mental illness characterized by a profound and persistent feeling of sadness or despair and/or a loss of interest in things that were pleasurable (Rowland). Disturbance in sleeping, appetite, and mental processes are a common accompaniment. This mental disorder can dramatically impair a person’s ability to function in social situations and at work. People with major depression often have feelings of despair, hopelessness, and worthlessness, as well as thoughts of committing suicide. Many only suffer from seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder and mania depression, also known as bipolar.

Everyone experiences unhappiness and sadness occasionally. When the depressing feelings start to take over everyday life without a recent loss or trauma and cause physical and mental deterioration, they become what is known as depression. Each year in the United States there is an estimated 17 million people affected with depression costing 5 billion dollars (Rowland). The number has continued to increase over the past decades. The illness affects everyone in all parts of the world, but one in four women are more likely to experience severe depression with a 10 to 0 percent lifetime prevalence, compared to 5 to 10 percent for men (Rowland). Many believing that the society’s expectations of women are the main cause.

There are two main types of depression, one of them being major depressive disorder and dysthymic disorder. Major depressive disorder is a severe to moderate episode of depression lasting two or more weeks. People who have this disorder may have trouble sleeping, lose of interest in activities, experience a change in weight, have a hard time concentrating, feel worthless and hopeless. Dysthymic disorder is an ongoing chronic depression that lasts two or more weeks and in children cases lasting a year or more. They may experience a change in sleeping and eating patterns, low self-esteem, fatigue, trouble concentrating and feelings of hopelessness.

Depression is being seen in more children and teenagers. It strikes as many as .5 % of children and 8. % of teenagers in the United States today. The recent research published in Pediatrics examined psychosocial issues in thousands of children ranging from ages 4 to 15. The study found significant increases in emotional problems, including depression and anxiety. Low-grade depression or dysthymia can begin during childhood or teenage years. While full-blown depression most often starts in middle adulthood. Within five years of experiencing major depression, 0 to 40 % of teenagers are most likely to develop bipolar disorder.

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There are many potential causes to having depression. The causes behind depression are complex and not yet fully understood. Many times it is not triggered by a single factor, it is a combination of many things, such as genetic vulnerability, certain forms of stress or changes in the brain. Experts are saying that there is no single or combination of genes triggering bipolar or any other form of depression. It is believed that depression is caused by the imbalance of certain neurotransmitters, which are the chemicals that are transmitting messages betweens nerve cells. The latest research is now suggesting that it is also hereditary. The people with major depression in their immediate family are up to three times more vulnerable to have the disorder, but still the environment may often trigger the disorder. Another factor in causing depression is external stresses or significant life changes, such as death of a loved one, divorce, miscarriage and losing a job.

There are a variety of different ways of treating and curing depression. The two main ways of treating and curing depression are through psychotherapy and medications. Psychotherapy is aimed at helping the patient return to a normal life style, or perhaps healthier and more satisfying. Medications are aimed to help balance the hormones and chemical imbalances that occur in the brain during depression. In addition to these treatments there are also other ways of treating the depression. Some of these treatments are aromatherapy, psychosocial, orthomolecular, cognitive-behavioral therapy, exercise, and light therapy. In using these different types of therapy, people with depression can most likely overcome this illness and live a happy, healthy life.

The main goal of the psychotherapy is to return patience to a normal healthier life. It provides more positive ways of thinking and acting and also has a positive affect on the brain. The reason for using psychosocial therapy patience are able to become more aware of their thinking patterns and how they originated. Using cognitive-behavioral therapy focuses on changing the persons thought patterns and perceptions. The therapist helps the patient identify thought patterns, emotions and behavior that comes with them. It restrains the patient to recognize the thinking and react differently to it. Using orthomolecular therapy is the therapy that helps get chemicals to the brain and has been shown to have a positive affect on depression. Another one of the many types of therapies is light therapy, where light helps control the seasonal affective disorder. The opposite may also be used also to help treat depression.

There are different types of medicines that are used along with therapy that help someone overcome depression and successfully move on in life. Most often medication is the first choice for treating depression, especially if someone is experiencing severe depression or suicidal urges. The three different groups that antidepressants are split up in are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants and monoamine oxidase inhibitors. Benefits from taking these are not always immediately going to show. Most likely the medication is going to begin working and making a difference as quickly as two weeks.

If I had depression I don’t know what I would do with it. I really don’t know where my life would be if I had it starting at a young age or even now. I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Sometimes I do wonder if I actually have depression because I don’t like interacting with people. I have given myself an excuse not to talk to people. Now that I have found out some of the symptoms from talking to my dad, who has seasonal depression and my girl friend who is dealing with a family death. I always find the negative things in everything I do, I don’t know why though. My mom even says that I might have it. She thinks that since I am a moody person that I need to be on some sort of antidepressant to deal with my anger. From a personal point of view I cant see how people get out of depression after seeing all of the possible things that are going on with your body and how hard it is to find out what is going wrong so that you can be treated correctly.

Work cited

“Depression in children and teenagers.” Understanding depression (Harvard Special Health Reports). Francesca Coltrera in consolation with Michael Criag Miller, M.D. Stanford, CT Harvard Health Publications, 001.

“Depression” Belinda Rowland, PhD. The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. Kristine Krapp and Jacqueline L. Longe, Editors. Farmington Hills, Mich, Gale Group, 000

“Treating depression.” Understanding depression (Harvard Special Health Reports). Francesca Coltrera in consolation with Michael Criag Miller, M.D. Stanford, CT Harvard Health Publications, 001

“What causes depression?” Understanding depression (Harvard Special Health Reports). Francesca Coltrera in consolation with Michael Criag Miller, M.D. Stanford, CT Harvard Health Publications, 001

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