Individuals often speak of feeling depressed. Indeed, it is common to feel periodic sadness due to life’s
disappointments. Clinical depression, on the other hand, is quite different from those times when we experience
unhappiness or despair.
Clinical depression is a serious disease caused by a brain disorder, and its effects on the individual’s ability
to perform in daily situations is profound. The condition can impact moods, thoughts, habits, and physical
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), depression strikes about 17 million American adults
every year. This is more than the amount of cases related to cancer, AIDS, or coronary heart disease. What makes
it even worse is that an estimated 15 percent of people dealing with depression ends in suicide.
Dealing with depression could appear like a daunting task. Some people don’t even comprehend the real nature of
the disease. “Many people still believe that depression is a character defect, or caused by bad parenting”, says
Mary Rappaport, a spokeswoman for the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. It needs to be noted that taking
care of depression does not merely involve willpower. It requires proper medical attention.
The good news is that depression is treatable. In fact, among the initial steps of taking care of depression,
consists of making use of either of the two major treatment options available; medication or therapy. First, a
proper medical diagnosis must be obtained before one can go on with dealing with depression.
When identifying and dealing with depression, it is necessary to keep in mind that that there are three primary
classifications of the condition. These are major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar depression (otherwise known
as manic depression).
The symptoms for each category of depression can differ, depending upon the person. And there are numerous
factors that serve to increase the risk of depression. According to the American Psychiatric Association’s
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the following are the typical symptoms of depression as noted in the DSM-IV:
depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure in nearly all activities, changes in appetite or weight,
interrupted sleeping patterns, slowed or restless movements, fatigue, loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness
or extreme guilt, difficulty thinking, focusing, or making decisions, and even recurrent thoughts of death or
Antidepressant medicines are often prescribed as a step in dealing with depression. These medicines, such as
tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, work by
modifying particular chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin. This leads to improved symptoms of depression,
and can assist in taking care of depression.
Alternatively, persons dealing with severe depressive episodes may not be responsive to medication alone. In
order to offer long term relief, psychiatric therapy is required.