Depression, which is otherwise known as major depressive disorder, is primarily a mental illness marked by an extremely low mood. Furthermore, this state of mind is also characterized by a loss of pleasure and interest on things that are usually enjoyable in nature. Patients of this mental disorder have very low self-esteem. A combination of environmental, genetic and biochemical factors can contribute to the development of this serious health problem. People can understand this problematic state of mind much better if they can take a closer look at the different major and minor depression symptoms, diagnosis and treatments.
Signs of Depression
The early signs of depression include a feeling of hopelessness, sadness as well as significant loss of interest in ordinary daily activities. Patients usually experience crying spells even though there are no logical reasons. These people are also characterized by restlessness, irritability and sleeping problems. In certain situations, they can feel unexplainable problems physically such as headaches and back pains.
Another symptom of this medical condition is the loss of interest in sexual intercourse, which is normally a fun, exciting and pleasurable activity. Furthermore, depressed people harbor thoughts of suicide, which of course is associated with suicidal behavior. It is also very difficult for these individuals to make sound decisions. Even without knowing why, they feel unhappy and miserable most of the time.
When consulted by depressed people, doctors usually ask their patients to undergo a series of medical tests and psychological examinations. These diagnostic methods are used to rule out other possibilities as well as pinpoint the real cause of the problem. Physical exams are very important, wherein the vital signs of patients will be considered including their temperature, blood pressure as well as heart rate. Their abdominal areas will be examined as well, together with the function of their lungs and hearts.
In addition to physical exams, patients need to undergo laboratory tests. As part of these procedures, their thyroid functions will be checked. Moreover, they will also be screened for drugs and alcohol. Conducting a complete blood count on patients is highly recommended as well. More importantly, they must undergo psychological evaluation, wherein they will be asked regarding their different behavioral patterns, feelings and thoughts.
In terms of treatment, depressed persons are usually given electroconvulsive therapy, psychotherapy and various kinds of medications. Alternative treatments, brain stimulation and many other forms of treatment are also available for use against the signs of major depressive disorder. Patients can also take different kinds of antidepressants including tetracyclic antidepressants, norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors as well as serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors.
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