Depression is a mental disorder that is characterized by constant sadness and loss of interest in activities that usually bring satisfaction. People, prone to depression, have problems performing daily activities, during at least 2 weeks.
Causes of depression
Depressions rarely appear because of a single reason. There is no simple explanation as to what causes depression. Psychological disorders develop gradually as a result of a complex interaction of social, psychological and biological factors that affect each other.
Exogenous depression are the result of the negative impact of neurobiological factors on the body, including:
- organic brain damages (trauma, intoxication)
- somatic diseases (diabetes mellitus, arterial atherosclerosis, stroke)
The appearance of endogenous depression (melancholia) is associated with a hereditary predisposition to a lesser degree dependent on external factors:
- decreased adaptive capacity;
- genetic disorders in neurotransmitter functioning;
- worsening of mood, associated with inherited genetic program.
Due to the hereditary predisposition, the human body inadequately reacts to changes in the external environment. As a result of subcortical systems abnormalities, people become susceptible to many changes in the environment.
The causes of stress depressions is an inadequate response of people to any negative environmental factors. In clinical practice, the emotionally draining depressions are more common than the endogenous and exogenous ones. Psychological problems manifest as a result of stress, personal and professional problems, failures in interpersonal relationships, etc.
Depending on the causes, treatment of depression can last 2-3 weeks to several months. To treat mental disorders, doctors use not only drugs, but also psychotherapy.
Symptoms of depression
Typical depression symptoms include:
- loss of appetite
- drowsiness or insomnia
- feelings of guilt or despair
- anxiety, decreased focusing abilities
The number and severity of depression symptoms, as well as their duration, vary from person to person. The presence of one or more of the above symptoms not always indicates the presence of a depressive disorder. But the presence of at least five of the enlisted symptoms should alert the patient – he should consult his attending physician.
Only a medical specialist – psychotherapist, psychiatrist or neurologist – can diagnose the disease and choose a specific treatment method. Timely recognition of depression symptoms:
- relieves the patient from unnecessary suffering
- suspends the progression of the disease
- helps to prevent further complications of the disease
The severity of mental illness symptoms may depend on the patient’s age. Causes and signs of depression in elderly may differ from the disease manifestations in younger patients. People under 30 years of age tolerate psychological overload easier, yet they are more susceptible to distressing depressions, than patients older than 65 years.
Depression symptoms are often found in patients with physical disorders. That is, people, prone to depression, often suffer from other diseases, as well. The connection between them is due to the biological and psychosocial mechanisms.
Diseases that can worsen the depression symptoms:
- immunodeficiency virus
- oncological diseases
- cardiovascular pathologies
The results of numerous clinical studies have proven that there is a biological two-way link between the symptoms of depression and various physical diseases. Clinical experts suggest that comorbid depression exacerbates the manifestations of the somatic disease and worsens the functional state of the patient.
Not only physical illnesses contribute to the deterioration of mental health. The depression symptoms intensify due to:
- bad habits;
- irrational use of antidepressants and other drugs.
Only a medical professional should make a decision, what should be treated first – depression or comorbid conditions. The decrease in depression symptoms often contributes to the alleviation of comorbid disease, and vice versa.