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Depression Essay, Research Paper

Depression affects 340 million people in the world today.(Depression-Net) It is also one

of the most commonly misunderstood and untreated diseases. Depression affects the person as a

whole. It can cause weight problems, sleep problems, self-injury, and very often death. There are

many different types of depression-mild depression, major depression, bipolar depression, atypical

depression, and seasonal affective disorder.

There is a lot of misunderstanding around what depression really is. In a survey done by

the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, it was found that ?Seventy-one percent of respondents

think that mental illness is due to emotional illness.?(Golant 57) Many think depression is simply

feeling ?down? or ?blue?. But it is much more than that. Psychological symptoms of clinical

depression are feelings of sadness often for no reason, loss of interest in almost everything, a loss

of energy, loss of concentration, morbid thoughts, feeling overly guilty, and feelings of

unworthiness. Along with psychological symptoms, there are also physical symptoms. These are

loss of appetite(yet some experience the opposite), problems sleep either being unable to sleep or

being unusually tired, a slowing down of physical(also mental) functions, and often having aches

and pains, i.e.. stomachaches, backaches, for no obvious reason.

There are many different types of depression. Mild depression, also called Dysthymia, has

many of the same symptoms of major depression, but not as intense. People with mild depression

often have depressed moods and low self-esteem. Those with major depression often have more

symptoms, they often have feelings of hopelessness, sometimes so bad the person has no interest

in life. It often strikes for no apparent reason, which can be confusing and frustrating for patients

and their families. Bipolar depression, also called manic-depression, causes major mood swings,

from periods of deep depression to the manic time when the person is wildly excited, happy,

talkative, restless and often come up with unrealistic dreams, which they will often act on because

they do not see them as unrealistic. Someone with atypical depression has periods when they are

extremely depressed, and then times when they seem to be ?fine?. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a

type of depression which affects people in the winter months, the person begins to get depressed

around autumn and feels better once spring has begun. During the winter months they have many

symptoms of depression.

There is no one cause for depression. Some causes may be physical, sexual, or emotional

abuse(present or past events). The death of a parent, spouse, or close family member. A traumatic

event such as a rape or being diagnosed with a disease. Depression could run in the patients

family. Being on a medication can sometimes cause depression. Having an overactive thyroid

gland can be a cause. Often though, there is no obvious cause for depression.

Depression affects about twenty percent of adolescents in the general

population(mentalhealth.com). Unfortunately it is often overlooked, or misinterpreted as normal

teenage ?blues?. Another group often overlooked is young children. Many people feel adolescents

and children have ?nothing? to be depressed about, which is why it is usually undiagnosed.

Childhood is also seen as a carefree, trouble-free time, which is untrue, children and teens have to

worry about being accepted by peers, reaching their parents expectations and pressure to do well

in school. These are all causes of depression in children and teenagers. Other causes could be a

death of a parent, a form of abuse(physical, sexual, emotional) or sometimes there is no clear

cause at all.

Fifteen percent of depressed people a year commit suicide. Suicide is one of the leading

causes of death in adolescents. Often parents ignore their children?s suicide threats, because they

do not feel they are serious. This is very often untrue, most teenagers who commit suicide have

talked about their intentions. A study found that ninety-four percent of people who commit

suicide are white and fifty percent of those who commit suicide also were diagnosed with some

sort of emotional disturbance such as depression.(Oster/Montgomery 77) Also, some depressed

patients injure themselves by cutting their skin, pulling out hair, burning, hitting, etc. This is called

self-injury, while it affects only a small percentage of depressed people, most people who

self-injure are depressed. These people have trouble expressing their feelings and often feel relief

from what is bothering them after hurting themselves. It also makes them feel like they are in

control. This provides only temporary relief though. A major cause for self-injury is some form of

abuse or trauma. Self-injury can often lead to suicide.

The good news about depression is that it is highly treatable. ?Antidepressant medications

successfully elevate mood in 60 to 80 percent of people who use them as directed for several

months.?(Depression.com) There are many different forms of treatment, from different

medications, to non-drug therapy. There are many different forms of antidepressants. They help

improve the mood and relieve the symptoms of depression. Antidepressants can take about four

weeks to began to fully relieve symptoms. They can also cause some side-effects for the first few

weeks. Side-effects may include a dry mouth, headaches, constipation, and loss of sex-drive.

These usually don?t last long and will go away when the depression starts to get better. Many

times a patient will have to try a few different antidepressant before finding one that works for

them. Non-drug treatments also work. Doing simple things that make a person happy can help.

Cognitive therapy also helps, it changes the way the patient thinks, helping them see things in a

more clear and realistic way. Exercise is also a good way to help overcome depression because

exercise causes the body to release endorphins, reduces stress, helps provide a prospective on life,

and gives a feeling of accomplishment and improves self-esteem. Psychotherapy also helps, after

just sixteen weeks of therapy, fifty-five percent of patients reported improvements. Herbal

medicines, such as St. John?s Wort are also effective, in a study, fifty-five percent of participants

reported improvements(Depression.com). Another advantage to herbal medicine is that they are

inexpensive. St. John?s Wort can cause side effects such as dry mouth, upset stomach, tiredness

and rashes. Other things that may help are acupuncture, meditation, massage, aromatherapy, and

visualization.

Depression is a very misunderstood disease. People often do not recognize the symptoms and do

not treat it seriously. Depression affects the person as a whole. It makes them feel worthless and

sad. Tired and guilty. There are many different types of clinical depression, from mild to bipolar.

Often one with depression can not take the pain anymore and kill themselves. Others seek help,

but are not taken seriously. Depression is easily treated, but often is not because it is a disease that

is not talked about, and not understood. If more people were aware of the facts, more people

could be saved.


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