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Depression is known by different names like exhaustion; lethargy; languidness; languor; lassitude; and listlessness, though varying dramatically from a usual state of lethargy to a specific work-induced burning sensation within your muscles. Physical depression is the incapability to continue performance at the level of your normal ability. It is omnipresent in everyday life, but usually becomes chiefly noticeable during heavy physical exercise. Depression of the brain on the other hand, rather comes into effect in while asleep. Depression is considered as a symptom, as opposed to a sign, because it is reported by the patient instead of being observed by others. It is very common for Depression and feelings of depression not to be confused with each other.

What Are the Symptoms of Depression?

Clinical depression, or a major depressive episode, can include any of the following symptoms:

·         feeling sad most of the time

·         feeling tired or having low energy most of the day

·         loss of interest in activities once enjoyed

·         changes in appetite, weight loss or weight gain

·         trouble concentrating

·         difficulty sleeping

·         feeling worthless

·         feeling helpless or hopeless

·         feeling anxious or agitated

·         unexplained headaches, stomach problems or muscular/skeletal pain

·         thoughts of death or suicide

How Is Depression Diagnosed?

For clinical depression or a major depressive disorder to be diagnosed, criteria for a major depressive episode must be met.

These criteria are identified in the DSM-IV-TR as follows:

A) Five (or more) of the following symptoms have been present during the same 2-week period and represent a change from previous functioning; at least one of the symptoms is either

· depressed mood

· Loss of interest or pleasure.

Note: Do not include symptoms that are clearly due to a general medical condition, or mood-incongruent delusions or hallucinations.

· Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective report (e.g., feels sad or empty) or observation made by others (e.g., appears tearful). Note: In children and adolescents, can be irritable mood.

· Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day (as indicated by either    subjective account or observation made by others)

· Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g., a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day. Note: In children, consider failure to make expected weight gains.

· Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day

· Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down)

· Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day

· Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about being sick)

· Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day (either by subjective account or as observed by others)

· Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide

B) The symptoms do not meet criteria for a mixed episode.

C) The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

D) The symptoms are not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., hypothyroidism)

E) The symptoms are not better accounted for by bereavement after the loss of a loved one, the symptoms persist for longer than 2 months or are characterized by marked functional impairment, morbid preoccupation with worthlessness, suicidal ideation, psychotic symptoms, or psychomotor retardation.

Treatment for Depression

Depression is a treatable disorder. Studies show that medications and/or psychotherapy (talk therapy) are effective for most individuals. But, before treatment begins, other medical causes for your symptoms should be ruled out.

As the name implies, antidepressants are used for the treatment of depression. It is believed that the brain contains several hundred different types of chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) that act as communication agents between different brain cells. These neurotransmitters are important in modulating a variety of body functions and feelings, including our mood. Antidepressants are believed to affect certain chemical messengers in the brain, resulting in less depression and anxiety.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one form of psychotherapy that has been shown to be successful in treating major depression. CBT combines the fundamental concepts of behavioral therapy and cognitive therapy. The term “cognitive” refers to our thought process and reflects what we think, believe and perceive.

Put together, CBT focuses on our behaviors and thoughts and how they are contributing to our current symptoms and difficulties.

Help for Depression

Depression is a serious illness. If you are experiencing the signs and symptoms of a major depressive episode, it is important to see your doctor as soon as possible. Thoughts of suicide are a medical emergency. If you or someone you know is suicidal, talk to someone right away. You can call 911 or you can talk to someone at the following suicide prevention lines. You can call these numbers from anywhere in the United States, 24 hours a day: 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).