What is Depression?

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Depression is a chronic disease suffered by tens of millions of people across the globe. The majority of those suffering depression are women, however, who may be twice as likely to suffer the disorder as men. Most people experienced states of often intense melancholy, but it is a mistake to attribute the term acute clinical depression to everybody who has a bad day now and then. That mistaken impression that people who are suffering depression are merely down accounts for how long it took the disease to be taken seriously. Depression can manifest itself at any time and under any circumstances. Such is depression still misunderstood that many people remain shocked to discover that someone who apparently leads a perfect life has been diagnosed with the disease. The symptoms related to depression appear in the expression of emotions and behavior that are obvious signs of a depressed state of mind, including excessive varieties of behavior and a noticeable absence of what is termed normal social interaction. Additionally, people who suffer from emotional depression very often also suffer physical symptoms that can include headaches or sexual dysfunction. Overly intense fatigue to the point of lethargic malaise usually accompanies depression and this can lead to the twin extremes of weight gain or weight loss.

Depression still has a certain social stigma attached to it, though not nearly to the degree as in the past when it was still viewed by many as a personal character flaw. The causes of clinical depression are still not completely known, but are assumed to be the result of an imbalance of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemicals found within the brain that act to send messages throughout the organ. In concert with the internal causes are external factors related to one’s environment. It is also know that depression is subject to genetic predisposition; as a result, many families can trace depression back through their ancestral lineage. Indeed, it is believed that those whose family has a history of depression are potentially as much as three times more likely to develop the disorder themselves. However, depression is not transmittable, except in the case of genetic transmission through a gene that has been discovered that may be responsible for the development in some cases.

Depression intensely afflicts enjoyment of life and often alters the life of the sufferer in intense manners. In addition, depression doesn’t just affect the patient but everyone around him, forcing lifestyle changes upon them as well. Many believe that depression is not completely treatable regardless of the approach; some experience tremendous changes upon initially taking antidepressant medication, only to relapse as the efficacy diminishes. The glut of medication to treat depression often make that kind of treatment almost worse than the disease. In order to fully comprehend whether a certain drug actually works, it usually must be taken for at least a month. Some depression sufferers may have to go through this process for over a year before they finally find a medication that helps. The frustration and expense and unpleasant side effects associated with these drugs very often lead patients to try alternative treatments including electro-convulsive therapy and hypnosis.