Depression: Meaning, Reasons, Symptoms And Treatment

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Many psychologists define the word ‘depression” in many ways. Depression is very common throughout the world and can start in those who are younger than 30 years old. Depression is an illness that can lower someone’s value of life. Depression is a serious medical problem, that causes many different symptoms in people. This illness varies from person to person and treatment of depression can vary from person to person.

Depression is a very common illness and most of the time one in five people will have a depression episode throughout their life. One’s own culture or even socioeconomic status can be a big factor leading to depression, but biological may be one big cause of someone having depression. Depression usually can be seen as young as 20 years old and usually seen in around 25 years old. Depression is more common in women than it is in men, but in both genders, depression is seen during the same time frame. The real big difference between depression in men in women is how much more common depression is in women.

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Depression most of the time happens slowly, but it can come on suddenly. A person usually has depression most of their life and recovery from depression is not always easy. Depression is an illness that is episodic and depression is not a predictable illness, so a person’s episode could be any length and they could have numerous amounts of episodes. If a person receives treatment, an episode could only last 3 to 6 months. Those who have had depression for a longer period of time are more likely to still have it later on in life.

Depression is not that easy for a doctor to detect or pick up on right away. The mood is a way someone describes how they are feeling and mood plays a big part in depression. When someone has low energy, seems like time is moving slowly, may find others annoying and may lose their temper, or they want to be alone, this can be signs of depression. There are two systems doctors use to identify the symptoms of depression, the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM, and the other system is International Classification of Diseases or ICD. Both of these tests are used, whether it be in a hospital or outpatient, but the test that is most likely used by doctors is DSM.

Major depressive disorder is a type of depression and is diagnosed when an episode of depression is more than two weeks. Chronic depression is when episodes last for quite some time and don’t go away. To be diagnosed with major depressive disorder, someone must have five symptoms that last every day of the two weeks and some of the symptoms would be illness patterns or clinical features. The symptoms of depression are put into three groups, (1) emotional, (2) neurovegetative, and (3) cognitive symptoms, but some of them can be difficult to detect. Those who suffer from the major depressive disorder are more likely to suffer from clinical anxiety as well, which usually happens a year or two seeing any signs of major depressive disorder.

There are many different treatments out there for depression. One treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy and is used a lot in psychology. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, “explicitly focuses on the relationship between thinking processes and behavioural and emotional outcomes, and in consequence views cognitive processes as mediators of other outcomes” (Wells & Fisher, 2015). Cognitive-behavioral therapy sees how important a therapeutic relationship is for a patient. This type of therapy allows the patient to be part of the treatment planning and helps them understand more of what is going on.

Couple therapy is another type of therapy that helps to improve symptoms of depression and helps the relationship. Usually, couple therapy starts off with an interview, where the therapist will ask questions about the relationship and each person’s own thinking about one another and the relationship. Since this kind of couple therapy would be more focused on depression, there would only be about 20 or fewer sessions with the couple. Usually during a session what will happen is going over the plan for that particular session, any homework the couple had, talking about a problem and ways to go about the problem, then what the couple’s new homework assignment would be, and lastly going over how the session went. Couple therapy usually goes through three stages, (1) taking away any stressors, (2) developing better communication, and (3) following through on the first two stages and not going back a step.

There are many different studies on the different types of treatment for depression, one study done, was to see if music therapy had an impact on those suffering from depression. There were a total of 79 participants, that were between the ages of 18 through 50. There were two groups that were studied in this study, one being the controlled group which was participants who were given standard care, and the other group who was given music therapy and the participant’s typical treatment. The study shows people’s levels of depression are better off with the use of both standard care and music therapy. Those who only had standard care did not have as high rates as though who had both standard care and music therapy.

Another study done on treatment for depression was done on adolescents, to see the cost-effectiveness of treatment for depression. The study looked at cognitive-behavioral therapy, fluoxetine, and a combination of both of them, to see their effects of. The study was a clinical trial that was done throughout the United States. The study showed that adolescents that had a combination therapy, had better symptoms of 71%. Adolescents who only took the fluoxetine, their symptoms only got better by 61%.

One other study done on the treatment of depression, was on problem-solving therapy or pst. This type of therapy is more about helping to improve someone’s problem-solving approach. The study was a meta-analysis study and they looked at 20 other studies done problem-solving therapy. The study proved that those who had gone through problem-solving therapy did see a decrease in their symptoms, compared to those that did not go through the problem solving therapy.

“In addition, the findings suggest that treatment efficacy may be increased by assessing a person’s social problem-solving abilities before treatment so that the treatment program can be tailored to focus on the major problem-solving deficits of each patient” (Bell & D’Zurilla, 2009).

One study that was done, was a depression in older adults. The participants in the study ranged from the ages of 60-99 years old and there were a total of about 4,590 participants, with only 3,363 of the 4,590 participating. Information for the study was found through interviews, clinical exams, cognitive tests, and questionnaires. They tested to see participants’ symptom of depression, through a comprehensive [psychopathological rating scale, with them rating symptoms from a range of 0 to 6. In the end, about 689 participants had one symptom of depression. Depression was found to have increased, as the older a person had become. If a participant had dementia, no partner, or was physically dependent, they were more likely to have depression.

One other study that was done, looked at ethnic differences of depression. The study was done through a survey on the Internet, which allowed them to reach quite a lot of people, with a total of 78,753 people. The study showed that ethnic minorities do not believe in using medications as a way to help depression, because of the thought that they are addictive. Ethnic minorities do lean more toward going to therapy and praying. Hispanics, African Americans, and Asians/ Pacific Islanders, also would rather go to therapy to help depression than to use medications.

Remission is not having any symptoms or acting normally. Remission is not always the easiest thing to achieve with depression and there are a couple reasons of why it is not. One reasons being that the longer someone has depression, can lead to remission being pushed back even more. Another reason would be if someone is taking antidepressants and they don’t work, which may lead to look at their diagnosis of depression again. Sometimes patients may succeed in remission of depression, but some may still have effects of depression. Those who are in remission, yet still see symptoms of depression, may be more prone to depression coming back.

Depression is becoming more and more prominent today than it ever has before. Depression is different for each and every person that suffers from it. Depression starts as young as 18 and continues on later in life. This is not an easy disease to detect and it comes in many different forms. Mood plays a huge part in detecting if someone has depression or not. There are two tests that help to detect if someone has depression or not, but the test that is most likely used is DSM, or Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

There are many treatments for those who suffer from depression and one of those being cognitive behavioral therapy, which is more on a person’s relationship than anything. Another type of treatment is for couples, especially couples who suffer from depression. Many studies were done on treatments for depression, some being on the effectiveness of music therapy and problem solving therapy. Their were also studies done on what depression looks like in those that age between 60 through 90 and what depression can cause in the elderly. Another study was on how different ethnicities look at depression and how they treat it. Remission for depression is sometimes successful, but it sometimes can have small effects still remaining.   

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