Essay on Analysis of the Spectrum of Depression

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Analysis of the Spectrum of Depression

Depression has many degrees of severity from a passing feeling to a serious illness, which destroys lives and relationships. Major depressive disorder is the most severe form of depression. It is extreme and persistent, rendering the patient inconsolable and helpless (1). Depressed patients often cannot continue working and have difficulty dealing with family and friends. Other symptoms of major depression are deep despair, misery, irritability, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, change in eating and sleeping habits, fatigue and inability to concentrate. Other mental illnesses, such as anxiety and alcoholism are also associated with major depression (2). While serious depressive episodes are
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The symptoms usually persist and are not easily alleviated. Good news or joyful events are not enough to snap someone out of depression. The most severe form of depression is known as a major depressive episode. Episodes such as these are one of the most common and treatable forms of mental illness. Often it is difficult to diagnose a patient with a major depressive episode, for the symptoms may be attributed to other ailments such as the flu or stress. The signs of depression are sometimes not recognized by family members and friends. Even if they are noticed, patients may refuse to be helped, stuck with the perception that all efforts are futile (2). Depression strikes more women than men. The lifetime risk of suffering from major depression is 10-25% for women and 5-12% for men. The average age of onset is 25 years old, but there is no correlation between depression and ethnicity, income or education (4). Depression reoccurs in approximately 80% of patients who have already experienced major episodes (4).

Diagnosing major depressive episodes can be a challenge if other mental or physical disorders are present. However a general criterion has been developed (4): An individual is clinically depressed if he or she meets the following four points:

A) Displays an abnormally depressed mood or exhibits an abnormal loss of all interest and pleasure, most of the day, almost everyday, for at
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