Psychology 352 December 3, 2002 Depression One of the most common psychiatric conditions is depression. Depression affects both men and women alike, however women are twice as likely to be affected by depressive disorders. By one estimate, 12. 4 million women suffer from a depressive disorder; which clearly means that one out of every 10 women will experience a major depressive disorder this year, and one out of every five women will suffer a major depressive disorder in her lifetime. These are illnesses that cause marriages to crumble, disrupt relationships with children and ruin careers. This is clearly known as one of the biggest issues in women's health.

The statistics help explain why melancholy is a theme that runs through the work of many female artists, from the poetry of Emily Dickinson, and Anne Sexton to the lyrics of Fiona Apple and Beth Orton. Each in her own way tried to capture the devastating sense of hopelessness that can come to define many women's lives. (1) First of all, depression simply said is really a physical illness, as well as an emotional illness. It causes people who are struck by it to be despondent, less interested in things that would otherwise hold great interest for them, and are less motivated. These are accompanied by a number of physical symptoms of being tired and not sleeping well, and even anxiety. It's really a whole body state.

(2) Generally, people who are depressed won't feel like getting up in the morning. It is not that they are lazy; it is simply that they just can't do it. Nothing that would otherwise motivate them to get out of bed makes them able to do that. Often people who are depressed can't work to the same degree that they could otherwise at more productive times of their lives, or they can't even work at all. For example, some moms who are depressed want to do the best for their children and give them the best care, but they just can't because they have this depression hanging over them. So, for example, they won't cook the perfect dinner.

They " ll pull something out of the freezer. They " ll spend time in bed, or they " ll lay down on the couch. It really does just physically affect the whole being. (2) The most common symptoms of depression are: 1. Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.

2. Feeling useless, inadequate, bad 3. Self Hatred, constant questioning of thoughts and actions, an overwhelming need for reassurance 4. Being vulnerable and over-sensitive 5. Feeling guilty 6. A loss of energy and motivation, that makes even the simplest tasks or decisions seem difficult.

7. Self harm 8. Loss or gain in weight 9. Difficulty with getting off to sleep, less frequently an excessive desire to sleep 10. Agitation and restlessness 11. Loss of sex drive 12.

Finding it impossible to concentrate for any length of time, forgetfulness. A sense of unreality. 13. Physical aches and pains, sometimes with the fear that you are seriously ill. In severe depression, these feelings may also include: 1. Suicidal ideas 2.

Failure to eat or drink 3. Delusions and / or hallucinations Depression is much misunderstood by the public, yet it affects many people of all ages. It is estimated that one in five people will suffer from depression at some point in their lives. Depression is an illness where the feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, linked to the inability to concentrate, may make it hard for some people to carry out normal daily activities. Depression is an illness with a wide range of physical and psychological symptoms, which sometimes make it hard to recognize and understand. (3) Personality may play a part in depression.

Although anyone can become depressed under particular circumstances, some people seem to be more vulnerable than others. This may be because of things that have happened in childhood, such as abuse, or because of our individual make up (including body chemistry). A lot of effective, intelligent and creative people suffer from depression and yet make an outstanding contribution to life. Often, information about their depression is only revealed after their death, as people misunderstand the illness. Amongst such people are Florence Nightingale and Sir Winston Churchill, who used to call depression his "black dog." Depression can affect anyone and does not reduce your value as a human being. Too many Americans are intolerant of any type of mental illness -- especially depression, which is often dismissed as some sort of moral failure.

In a recent poll by the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly half of all respondents stated that depression was a "personal weakness" -- certainly not a health problem. (3) Of course, we all feel a little sad, dejected, or blue now and then. Fleeting unhappiness may briefly cloud our horizons after we lose a job, break up with a lover, or move to a new town. The profound mourning following the death of a loved one may last for several months -- a completely normal response to a deeply felt emotional loss. The key difference between sad feelings and a true major depression is that sad feelings eventually pass, according to Douglas Jacobs, a Harvard Medical School psychiatrist who has devised national screening programs for depression. (2) Major depression is far more persistent than simple sadness.

It descends as a sort of psychic cloud, numbing the soul with the conviction that the bleak outlook will never change. It interferes with sleep, appetite, sexual interest, self-image, and attitude. If you suffer from major depression, you can't just "snap out of it." And these dreadful feelings can last for weeks, months, or even years It is a disorder that costs this country dearly. The federal government estimates the cost of all types of depression is $43. 7 billion each year -- $12. 4 billion in medical, psychiatric, and drug costs; $7.

5 billion in depression-related suicide; and $23. 8 billion in work absenteeism and lost productivity. (1) There are several levels of depression: severe depression, manic or bipolar depression, post natal depression, and SAD, which stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder. According to the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association, a typical episode of a major depressive disorder lasts at least two weeks and includes most of the symptoms listed in the section above.

(3) Not everyone gets depressed in the same way. One may have a major depression (known as unipolar or clinical depression), your feelings of misery may be interrupted by periods when you feel okay. On the other hand, if you have a chronic minor depression (now called "dysthymia disorder"), you " ll feel mildly depressed all the time; this constant low-level depression can last for years at a stretch. You may even have both types of depression at the same time.

(1) Contrary to popular belief, the brain and depression and very much correlated together. "It seems probable that the more severe forms of depressive illness are associated with chemical changes in certain parts or pathways of the brain. These changes may he different in the various forms of depression. Whether or not these chemical changes are the cause of depression, rather than one of its consequences, is not known. In unipolar depression, the changes may include alterations in the number or sensitivity of nerve cell receptors for particular neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) - in particular receptors for 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT, also known as serotonin), noradrenaline and dopamine. 5-HT is involved in the regulation of impulses, and has a role in maintaining normal patterns of appetite, sleep and sexual activity: abnormalities in ~-HT pathways might lead to the disturbance of sleep, increased anxiety and irritability and loss of sexual interest that are seen in many people with depression.

Noradrenaline is involved in regulating mood and energy, and possibly has a role in social interactions: changes in noradrenaline may lead to the tiredness, loss of enthusiasm and social withdrawal, often seen in depression. Finally, dopamine probably has a role in gaining pleasure, and changes here could lead to the sense of being unable to get enjoyment from usually pleasurable activities. Abnormalities in dopamine may be especially important in patients with bipolar depression. In people with more severe forms of depression, changes in all three of these neurotransmitters may be important. It seems likely that other messengers are also involved. Also there is some evidence that changes within the brain are linked to changes in the levels of some hormones in the bloodstream." (3) Bibliography 1.

Psych-E Scholarly psychological articles by undergraduate students from around the world. web > 2. The American Journal of Psychiatry Developments in biological psychiatry as well as on treatment innovations and forensic, ethical, economic, and social topics web > 3. hhp: // web.