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What is depression?

Most of us have been sad or down before, but these feelings dont last for too long.
Unfortunately, 7% of adults in the US are affected by Depression, or Major
Depressive Disorder, that feelings of sadness and/or loss of interest in activities
once enjoyed (Parekh, 2015) that can last a few weeks or longer.
Symptoms are varied and include:

Feeling sad or having a depressed mood


Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
Changes in appetite
Sleeping too much/not enough
Loss of energy/increased fatigued
Thought of death or suicide

Although these symptoms are specific, Depression can attack anyone. Those that
are more prone to Depression are those that have it run in their genetics, have
environmental factors, and biochemistry unbalances.
Depression is grouped in to two classifications of major depressive and persistent
depressive disorder.
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
Major depression is classified by how long the depression lasts for the
individual. To classify depression as Major, it should last for at least two weeks.
Major depression can be graded into Mild, Moderate, or Severe which is used to
classify the treatment. In some extreme cases, Major depression can result in
catatonia, or trouble moving, as well as potential for psychosis when the depression
is extreme.
Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)
Persistent Depressive Disorder, also known as Dysthymia, is a chronic
(ongoing) depression that is a combination of two previous diagnoses: Chronic Major
Depression and Dysthymic disorder. The main symptom of Dysthymia is prolonged
and persistent depression on most days for at least two years for adults and one
year for children and adolescents. People with Dysthymia usually have a negative
self-view, a gloomy view of the future, and overall negative outlook on life.
How do we treat Depression?
With advances in modern medicine there is an array of medications available
to those diagnosed with Depression. Some common forms are Prozac, Zoloft, and
Paxil which are supposed to work by raising serotonin levels, a chemical signal

called a neurotransmitter, in the brain. In combination with psychotherapy (talk


therapy), these medications can allow someone with Major or Persistent depression
to lead a full and productive live in society.

Cleveland Clinic. Persistent Depressive Disorder. clevelandclinic.org, 2015,


http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/neurological_institute/center-forbehavioral-health/disease-conditions/hic-persistent-depressive-disorder. Accessed
November 16, 2016.
Mukherjee, Siddhartha. Post Prozac Nation. The science and history of treating
depression. nytimes.com, 2012,
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/magazine/the-science-and-history-oftreating-depression.html. November 15, 2016.
Miller, David Joel. What is the difference between depression and Major Depressive
Disorder?. Counselorssoapbox.com, 2012,
https://counselorssoapbox.com/2012/07/08/what-is-the-difference-betweendepression-and-major-depressive-disorder. Accessed November 15, 2016.
Parekh, Ranna, M.D. What is depression. psychiatry.org, 2015,
https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression.
November 10, 2016.