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emily430 03-26-2013 11:12 AM

Depression Basics
It can be difficult to decipher the difference between <a href="">anxiety</a> and depression. If they were relatives, they might be considered twins; that is, because some researchers argue that the two are the same illness, but with different manifestations. Although the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has them categorized as separate disorders, citation notes show a close relation between the pair. The major variation is that someone with depression doesn't display the same fear and doubt that most people with anxiety do. Rather than feel nervous or panicked, people with depression suffer mostly from emotional pain. They absorb their feelings instead of airing them out or reacting. Still, anxiety and depression can co-exist. Nearly 50 percent of people who suffer from anxiety also deal with depression. Oftentimes, people with anxiety feel depressed due to their inability to control the impact it is having on their life. Likewise, people who are depressed may feel <a href="">anxiety</a> if the source that is causing the depression does not seem to be close to an end, or if additional problems accrue.

Depression is a non-discriminatory illness that impacts people of all races and backgrounds. It can affect young professionals, mothers and expecting mothers, senior citizens, students, survivors of traumatic events, and a whole host of others. One thing is certain—depression is a complicated illness with various impacts. It can develop in childhood, adulthood or in the later years of life and can be attributed to a number of factors, including brain chemistry, genetics, and life events. Long-term unemployment, the loss of a loved one, chronic illness, war, bullying, an abusive relationship, and other elements can all contribute to depression. As a result of these influences, the person may wallow or feel sad and hopeless. They may also have suicidal thoughts, trouble sleeping, no interest in their surroundings, a loss of appetite or weight, and difficulty focusing, remembering or coming to decisions. These symptoms can wreak havoc on the person's life and bring added <a href="">stress</a> to a family that is trying to understand and aid in their recovery. At times, multiple family members can be affected by depression, leading scientists to believe genetics may play a role for some.

Some researchers have found that people who are depressed have a smaller hippocampus than those who are not. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that is essential to storing memories. If its sized is compromised, fewer serotonin receptors can exist. These neurotransmitters help calm the brain and allows for communication between nerves in the body and the brain. Theories suggest that this portion of the brain is diminished when the body produces an excess of cortisol (stress hormone), or it can simply be congenital (present at birth). To determine if depression is the main condition—and not <a href="">anxiety</a>—psychometric tests (Beck depression inventory, Zung self-rating depression scale, patient health questionnaire, and hospital anxiety and depression scale) can be conducted.

Because depression is so complex, treatment may require a multi-pronged approach that involves prescription drugs, various forms of therapy, and natural solutions. <a href="">Medications for depression</a>—including tricyclic antidepressants, benzodiazepines, inhibitors, and reuptake inhibitors—are often prescribed when the patient's life is crippled as a result of their depression. They work by modifying the level of neurotransmitters (serotonin, GABA, and monamine oxidase) in the brain so that depression is reduced. Therapies—<a href="">cognitive behavioral therapy</a>, group therapy, and exposure therapy—are typically combined with medication and seek to change patterns and thoughts. The idea is that if the brain can be reprogrammed, depression and anxiety can be more manageable. Those who choose to address depression in a more holistic way might change to a U.S.D.A- recommended diet, take herbs (Kava kava, Rescue Remedy, passionflower vine, skullcap and St. John’s Wart), implement relaxation techniques (meditation, massage, acupuncture, and aromatherapy), integrate breathing exercises (yoga and pilates), increase serotonin levels by getting more sunlight, and/or focus on regulating sleep cycles.

blackcat64013 06-11-2013 08:04 AM

Re: Depression Basics
I think the only thing missing in the info is a mention of the fact that sometimes the illness itself prevents the person from getting help.
I can say that I did this exercise with my psych once and came up with the following reasons in my case
1. I was in denial of something being wrong
2. I was concerned about confidentiality of my records
3. I was definitely lacking the motivation to get help
4. I was experiencing a sense of helplessness
5. I was concerned that the identification of depression would lead to employment consequence and discrimination in the workplace
6. I didn't have one person in my support network who could get me moving in the right direction.
I ticked off 6 from his list of 20 reasons without thinking too hard.
When this was explained to me as being "normal" I was relieved to hear this.
It was pointed out that none of them are reasons not to seek help. In the cold light of day I had to agree but in the dark night the opposite is true

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