Depression is a serious medical illness that can have a significant impact on a person's life. It can cause a variety of physical and psychological symptoms, and can be associated with other psychiatric and physical disorders. It is important to understand the different types of depression, the signs and symptoms, how it is diagnosed, and the available treatment options. Depression can occur in association with virtually all other psychiatric and physical diagnoses.
Physical illness increases the risk of developing a serious depressive illness. There are two very different mechanisms. The most obvious one has a psychological or cognitive mechanism. Thus, the disease may provide the vital event or chronic difficulty that triggers a depressive episode in a vulnerable individual.
Secondly, there seem to be more specific associations between depression and particular physical disorders. These may be of special etiological interest. The best examples are probably stroke and cardiovascular disease. Depression can also be caused by the death of a loved one, losing a job, or being the victim of physical assault or serious disaster. In addition, pain and depression can coexist, with depression often making pain worse and vice versa.
Major depression is often accompanied by anxiety, while anxiety is the main sign of an authentic anxiety disorder.Persistent depressive disorder (formerly called dysthymic disorder) is characterized by a depressed mood most of the day, for more days than not, for at least two years. Other types of depressive disorders include mood dysregulation disorder (diagnosed in children and adolescents) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).Treatment for depression typically involves psychotherapy (also called “psychotherapy” or counseling) as well as medications such as antidepressants. Other types of brain stimulation therapies used to treat drug-resistant depression include repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (RTMS) and vagus nerve stimulation (VNS).If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, it is important to seek help from a qualified mental health professional. The SAMHSA National Helpline provides free referrals to treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations in your area.