Depression

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Definition:

  • Severe form of lowered mood in which a person experiences feelings of worthlessness and diminished pleasure or interest in many activities. Depression ranges from mild feelings of uneasiness, sadness, or apathy to intense suisidal despair

Symptoms:

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
  • fatigue and decreased energy
  • feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
  • insomnia, early morning wakefulness, and/or excessive sleeping
  • irritability and restlessness
  • loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • overreacting or loss of appetite
  • persistent aches or pains i.e. cramps, digestive problems
  • persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
  • thoughts of suicide ar suicide attempts

Causes:

  • reactions to losses or seperations from valued persons or objects
  • decrease in amines such as noradrenaline and serotonin in specific brain areas
  • has some biological substrate
  • many causes are unknown

Treatment:

  • learn about the many antidepressants ( effects and side effects ) and woprk with your doctor to selct the best treatment for your symptoms
  • Psychotherapy: find what therapy works to lift your mood and help you develope coping skills
  • Electric Shock Treatment: used for severe depression, also used when medicines fail
  • Interpersonal Therapy: addresses group sessions, techniques and what to expect while dealing with depression
  • Psychodynamic Therapy: Psychiatrist and patient probing past, explore full range of emotions and pulling feelings from unconsiousness
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: help a person learn and recognize negative patterns of thoughts and replace them with healthy ways of thinking

Anecdote:

  • I was in my early 40s (I’m in my early 50’s now) when I was diagnosed with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or OCD. It was at the behest of my estranged wife then that I saw a doctor about it. The doctor prescribed an SSRI (Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) which began to take effect after a few weeks. I was less irritable and generally felt more relaxed. Things that would trigger rigid, laser-beam like focus I now found a little easier to step back, to let go. My OCD was nothing ritualistic like washing my hands 100 times per day or stopping my car every mile to check if I had run over someone (some people have had it that bad). But my OCD would affect my work as a programmer like trying to debug a pesky defect in the code until I fixed it. This might mean that I’d work until late in the evening or over a weekend working on it when I really needed a break. Or, I might insist on something being done a certain way even at risk of alienating someone over it. The meds helped me to disengage and take a break and to respond to a source of irritation with a little more patience. I don’t know how long I had OCD but I suspect it goes back to my teenage years, maybe earlier. So, I had it during my time in the Navy (‘78-‘82, ‘85-‘93) which probably helped me to be a good watch stander even when completely bored. Having strong attention to detail and very good focus is a good trait for someone who is operating a submarine nuclear reactor at test depth (sorry, can’t tell you the actual depth — I’d have to kill you) or managing the shipping picture on the bridge of a surface ship at night with low visibility – both of which I’ve done. But, later, getting treatment for depression really changed my life.In future blogs, I will describe the feelings, confused thoughts, distorted thinking and behaviors which seemed normal when I was depressed but I knew differently when I began to re-evaluate my thought process when the “fog” lifted.

Sources:

  • Web MD
  • Allaboutdepression.com
  • dannocracker.wordpress.com

Recommended Best Source:

  • Allaboutdepression.com