Depression is characterized by a number of symptoms that reflect a state of sadness that exceeds normal emotion or persists over long periods of time. It is characterized by negative thoughts, moods, and behavior. It also changes eating, sleeping, and sexual functions. Depression consists of several definable types: Bi-polar disorder (manic depression), dysthymia, and major depression.

Symptoms of Depression:

  • Chronic pain
  • Decreased appetite and weight loss or increased appetite and weight gain
  • Difficulty concentrating, reasoning, and making decisions
  • Digestive disorders
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and hopelessness
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia or over sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed; including sex
  • Persistent apathetic, anxious, or sad mood
  • Restlessness
  • Suicide attempts
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Depression is most commonly treated by medicine and psychotherapy. Behavioral therapists help patients get satisfaction out of their accomplishments, cognitive therapies help patients change negative styles of thinking and perception, psychodynamic therapies help patients resolve internal conflicts typically thought to stem from childhood, and traditional therapies help patients gain insight into their problems. Medicines are often used in conjunction with these therapies. Medicines for depression typically fall into the following categories: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs include Prozak, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, and Luvox), dual action antidepressants (Effexor, Remorin), atypical antidepressants (Wellbutrin, Serzone), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs include Nardil and Parnate), and tricyclic antidepressants (Elavil, Vivactil, Norpramin, Triavil, Surmontil).

Medical Risks:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Asthma
  • Death