What Is Depression?

If you watch television or listen to the radio, you’ve probably seen a commercial about depression. The announcer usually says something about a shortage of chemicals in the brain or that certain chemicals like serotonin are not balanced. The term depression is widely used to express feelings of sadness or extreme cases of tiredness and boredom. These feelings are not depression in the clinical sense of the word.

Experts agree that depression is more than just a bad case of brain chemistry. Serotonin is just one factor that may play a part in depression. Research points to other biological contributions to depression, such as stress hormones that are elevated, poor immune system responses, and even shrinking brain cells. Muscular inflammation, elevated stress hormones, immune system suppression, abnormal activity in certain parts of the brain and nutritional deficiencies also play a major role in depression, and those are just the biological causes. Social and psychological factors–such as loneliness, lack of exercise, poor diet and low self-esteem–also play an enormous role in the onset of depression.

The Discovery of Depression

Depression has been with humanity since the first of days, and many were involved in the evolution of depressive disorders. Indeed Hippocrates (460-377 BC), Plato (427-347 BC), and even his most famous pupil Aristotle (384-322 BC) were actively involved in the development of theories to the causative effects of depression, but all were unsuccessful in finding the definitive cause.

Due to varying opinions, it should be noted that with depression, albeit very real, it’s revelations and treatments are an art and not a science; regardless of which scientist performs a test, the outcome remains the same. With a disease like cancer, once this disease is diagnosed, it is easily confirmed or discarded by another. This is not true with depression. Psychiatrists and psychologist use a manual, referred to as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM. There are many types of depression, all are listed within the pages of the DSM, and all types have a modality of treatment assigned (which may include medications).

Jenny Booth, a renown veterinarian concluded some years ago that even animals, particularly dogs, also suffer from depression. That conclusion was based mostly by claims made by the owner of the animal. Soon after that proclamation, medication was made available for canine depression as well.

Different Types of Depression

Not all depression is equal; some are very difficult and challenging to treat like Major Depressive Disorder, and some may just go away with time, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (also known as S.A.D). Post partum depression is yet another type that as the name implies, happens after giving birth.

Some other types of depression are:

  • Manic Depression
  • Anxiety Depression
  • Double Depression
  • Chronic Depression
  • Atypical Depression
  • Dysthymic Disorder
  • Endogenous Depression
  • Reactive Depression
  • Psychotic Depression

Many different types of cancer exist, and if you think you suffer from this disorder, it’s important to seek help.


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