List of Illnesses

Depression

Introduction

Depression is a mood disorder that involves the body and the mind. Depression is not the same as a sad mood, nor a sign of personal weakness. Depression is a medical condition characterized by many symptoms emerging together: sadness, loss of interest in activities, loss of pleasure in previously enjoyed activities, decreased energy, decreased confidence and self-esteem, diminished concentration, disturbance of sleep and appetite, inappropriate thoughts of guilt over past acts and, at times, death wishes.

Overview and Facts

According to the research done by IDRAAC, Depression affects 9.9 % of Lebanese adults, so 1 out of 10 Lebanese have or will have depression in their lifetime.

Depression is a common disorder and is reported to occur in nearly 10-15% of all men and 20-25% of all women at least once in their lifetime. While Depression may occur as only one single episode in a person’s lifetime, for many it is a recurrent disorder with repetitive episodes.

Symptoms

Depression is suspected when a person experiences a change from their previous usual state. The major symptoms are:
  • Persistent sadness or irritability
  • Lost of interest or pleasure in activities that were previously enjoyed
  • Feelings of fatigue and loss of energy
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Loss of self-confidence and negative thoughts about one’s self and one’s life

Causes and Risk Factors

There are a number of factors that may increase the chance of depression, including the following:
  • Abuse
  • Conflict
  • Major events
  • Death or a loss
  • Serious illnesses
  • Genetics
  • Certain medications
  • Substance abuse
  • Other personal problems: Problems such as social isolation due to other mental illnesses or being cast out of a family or social group can lead to depression.

Tests and Diagnosis

A doctor can rule out other conditions that may cause depression with a physical examination, personal interview, and lab tests. The doctor will also conduct a complete diagnostic evaluation, discussing any family history of depression or other mental illness.

A doctor will determine whether a patient has major depression, dysthymia, or mild, chronic depression, seasonal affective disorder or SAD, bipolar disorder (manic depression), or some other type of clinical depression.

Treatment

The main treatments for depression are:
  • Psychotherapy which involves working with a therapist to reduce symptoms.
  • Medication such as antidepressants.
  • Combination of psychotherapy and medication
  • Brain stimulation techniques such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), also called electroshock therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), or vagus nerve stimulation (VNS).

Sources and Links


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