HISTORY OF DEPRESSION:
Depressive illness has been known since biblical times. The word depression comes from the Latin word deprimere (to press down). Thus it means feeling pressed down, sad or low. In the late Middle Ages, religious leaders believed depression was caused by posession of evil spirits. The German religious reformer Martin Luther wrote All heaviness of the mind and melancholy comes of the Devil. Through the years depression has been treated with such remedies as whipping, bloodletting, exorcism and soothing baths. By the 1960s, antidepressant medications were discovered that relieved depression by correcting chemical imbalances in the brain and because of that many scientists started to believe that depression was caused by neurochemical imbalances rather than psychological traumas. It has never been proven what really causes depression, the modern belief is in the combination of both causes. Until 1980s, psychiatrists did not believe that children and teenagers could suffer from depression. They thought that true depression can not exist before person develops idealized self-image (called the supergo), but tests and surveys have shown otherwise, that also strengthens the chemical theory
DEPRESSED OR JUST FEELING SAD?
It is very important to distinguish depression from normal state of feeling sad. Sad mood can be instantly relieved by something good or exciting happening while a truly depressed person could be given a free car of his/her choice and still feel sad. As you read above, depression means long and hopeless sadness. If depression grows untreated, sufferers feel more and more hopeless and helpless, they feel as there’s no one or nothing that can help them to be happy again, they believe that things will only get worse, never better. In some really severe cases depressants find that any ordinary activity such as getting out of bed, eating or even talking requires enormous energy. Eventually, these individuals have no desire to do anything, neither fun activities they used to enjoy, nor being with people they care about, this leads to not functioning at all. They stay in bed or sit in a chair all day, staring at the walls.
SYMPTOM’S OF DEPRESSIVE ILLNESS?
To be diagnosed as having a depressive illness, you must have
experienced for at least two weeks, at least four of the following symptoms:
1. loss of energy.
2. poor appetite or significant weight loss.
(for no obvious reason like diet, sport or sauna) or increased appetite or significant weight gain.
3. insomnia or excessive sleeping.
4. psychomotor agitation or retardation (slowness).
5. loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities, or decrease in sexual drive.
6. feeling of worthlessness, self-reproach, or excessive or inappropriate guilt.
7. diminished abbility to think or concentrate, such as slowed thinking, or indecisiveness
(unable to make simple decisions, such as what to wear to school or eat for breakfast).
8. recurrent thoughts of death, wishes to be dead or suicide attempts.
The symptoms listed above cannot have occured as a result of an organic illness, such as influenza, hypothyrodism, cancer, Alzheimer disease or other brain diseases leading to mental detereoration, neither can the symptoms be the result of grief due to the death of a close relative or friend. It must be either depression or manic depression (described below).
Crying for no reason is another common symphtom, but some depressed people complain of the inability to cry, even when they feel tearful. They say being unable to cry, a way to let out some of their sad feelings, is far more painful than crying for hours at a time. Another symptom is dellusion or false ideas of depressive nature. Teenagers might feel that their parents are spying on them (if they really do, it doesn’t mean you are depressed!). Guilt often goes along connected with dellusion.
One third of depressed people suffer from anxiety attacks, which usually disappear when depression lifts. An anxiety attack is a feeling of intense fear for no apparent reason, as if being tied up to a railroad tracks when the train is approaching. A series of physical symptoms usually accompany anxiety attacks, such as heart palpitations, dizziness, sweating (ever sweaty palms sickness is not a depression syndrome), chest pains and shortness of breath. Feeling of guilt also occurs in a third of depressed people, often because of some failure of minor mistake many years ago. They feel they should expect punishment for these imagined mistakes or failures. (like suddenly feeling sorry for cheating in high school math test when you are thirty years old!)
– bullying or abuse
-loss of a friend or relative
-substantial disappointment at home or at work
-prolonged or chronic illness
-drugs such as tranquilizers, high blood pressure medicines, steroids (prednisone), codeine, and indomethacin
-alcohol/drugs intoxication and withdrawal
– childhood memories
There are other causes of depression. This list is not all inclusive, and the causes are not presented in order of likelihood. The causes of this symptom can include unlikely diseases and medications. Furthermore, the causes may vary based on age and gender of the affected person, as well as on the specific characteristics of the symptom such as quality, time course, aggravating factors, relieving factors, and associated complaints. Even media plays a big role in depression. Magazines and TV shows create an image of perfect bodies: slim women with big breasts and guys with all their muscles visible… People tend to think that they are rejected or uncomplete unless they have this body type. Nowadays media creates an image of what’s cool. Excessive amounts of sex on TV make people desperate and cause them to have low self oppinion because looks like everyone does it except for me, I must be ugly.
WHAT KINDS OF PEOPLE ARE AFFECTED?
Major depression occurs in all groups of people. It affects all ages and both sexes, with an increased incidence in women. Major depression affects 1 out of 10 Americans at some point in their lives. Major depression is most common in adolescent girls, affecting 5 – 10% of the population. Before puberty, boys and girls seem to be equally vulnerable, about 1 to 2% of the population. Some of the famous people who suffered depression include: Queen Elizabeth 1, President Abraham Lincoln and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who called depression the black dog that shadowed my life. Even infants can suffer from the severe depression called a reactive attachment disorder, when baby lacks attention or nurturing, especially from the mother. These infants don’t show appproptiate responces to stimuli, such as following objects with their eyes.
Most teenagers diagnosed with depression have school difficulties including bad behaior. Basically, symptoms of depression are similar to all ages, but teenage depression is more often undetected because teenager’s mood is supposed to jump up and down because of sometimes very little things. Again, the difference is that a trully depressed teenager has no hope of feeling better an happy events in their live do not lift their mood up. Most of the teenagers know they feel abnormally sad, but they do not know that what they are feeling is a symprom of an illness, not merely a down mood. Unless they know that it’s a treatable illness, they think that they are crazy, that’s why information is so important at this stage.
MAJOR SYMPTOMS OF TEENAGE DEPRESSION:
1. A feeling of sadness and hopelessness. (belief that there’s no way to stop feeling stressed out and sad).
2. Moodiness. (experiencing feelings of anger and sadness for weeks at a time).
3. Eating disturbances. (eating either too much or too little).
4. Sleep disturbances. (nightmares are common, difficulty of falling asleep or waking up early).
5. Changes in social life. (depressed teenagers stop spending time with their friends. they often refuse phone calls).
6. Chemical abuse. (depressed teenagers attempt to relieve depression, but often the result is addiction. what they don’t realize is that alcohol and drugs are depressants, not mood elevators and their depression worsens.
7. Loss of interest in pleasurable activities. (finding no pleasure in activities they used to enjoy, such as going to movies or rock concerts, reading books, watching TV, listening to music or sports. as well as no involvement in new activities).
Why are women statistically twice as vunerable to depression as men?
From the age of about fifteen, girls start to become physically weaker than guys, making them easier targets for abuse. Females are much more concerned about their looks and might get really upset if they are not tall enough or overweight. This is off the topic, but many girls go on a diet and forget that lowered food consumption actually stops them from growing! Many women live their lives at home looking after the kids, constant way of life is likely to cause a depression.
Depression in the elderly
Detecting depression in the elderly may be complicated by several factors. Often the symptoms of depression such as fatigue, loss of appetite, and sleeping difficulties are associated with the aging process or a medical condition rather than with depression. Contributing factors include the loss of a spouse or close friends, chronic pain and illness, difficulty with mobility, frustration with memory loss, difficulty adapting to changing circumstances such as moving from a home to a retirement facility, or changes within the family. Depression can also be a sign of a medical problem. It may be complicated by brain disorders associated with the aging process such as Alzheimer’s disease or organic brain syndrome. Risk factors are related to contributing factors. Depression in the elderly is a widespread problem.
Every eleventh depressed patient suffers from manic depression (or bipolar depression) which is a constant change between feeling very happy (sometimes even believing they have super powers) and feeling really depressed (like normal depression).
Studies have shown that 3 to 16% of teenagers report enough symptoms for a diagnosis of depression.
Rates of depression are higher among older teenagers than younger ones.
One woman in five and one man in ten can expect to develop a depressive or manic-depressive episode at least once in their lives.
Only 30% of depressed people seek any type of professional help.
Manic-depressive illness or Bipolar-depression consits from periods of depression mixed with high periods of happiness, people might even believe that they have super powers while they are high, the whole life starts to become periods of extreme happiness and sadness constantly changing places. One fourth of hospitalised manic-depressive parients experienced their first depressive or manic epissode between the ages of ten and nineteen.
Why do depressed people sometimes refuse any help?
One reason is that people don’t want to believe that they have a mental illness. Physical illness is easy to notice from the outside propherties while mental one can be hidden, but that doesn’t mean mental illness is less dangerous.
Notice that mood affects the walk. Depression effects include stumped posture and slow walk. Manic depression effects include agitated movements, fast walking and pacing back and forth. So, if you suspect someone you know has a case of depression, check on how they walk throughout a week or two.