- Depression is a very common disorder. There are
three major factors:
- Some individuals are genetically predisposed, having a chemical imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain that cause depression without a precipitating cause.
- Stress induced -- deaths, divorce, loss of employment, chronic pain, as well as recent events, such as heart attack or retirement.
- Developmental problems, such as abuse as a child or
personality problems. Females and those with a
family history of depression are also at risk.
- Diagnosing depression is based on clinical findings, and not on any specific tests. Tests may be done to rule out other diseases, such as CT scan, MRI of the brain, and blood tests that detect thyroid hormone.
- General depression
- Lack of energy
- Lowered mood
- Difficulty with concentration
- Difficulty making decisions
- Sleeping too much
- Loss of interest in sex
- Change of appetite
- Loss of interest in work
- Severe depression
- Suicidal thoughts
- Psychotherapy and counseling
- Currently, the primary treatments are the SSRI class, which include Paxil, Prozac, and Effexor. It is important that medications be tailored to the individual, because some work better for people who are anxious, and others are better for those who lack energy.
- Older medications include the tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) such as Elavil, Pamelor (these have more side effects than the SSRIs), and MAO inhibitors, which have many food and drug interactions.
- Trazadone -- a medication similar to TCAs
- Seek treatment as soon as
possible. Depression is a medical illness just like
any other, and there is no reason to suffer from it.
If you have suicidal thoughts, you need immediate emergency
treatment -- it may be
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