There are many psychological disorders which can cause people distress. Depression is one of the most common psychological disorders; throughout this paper, I will explain some of the causes of depression as well as symptoms and possible treatments.Depression is explained as a mood disorder that is characterized by overwhelming feelings of sadness, lack of interest in activities, and sometimes excessive guilt or feelings of worthlessness. While everyone may feel depressed every now and then, not everyone will be diagnosed with clinical depression. People who have been diagnosed with clinical depression not only have the sad and empty feelings, they can have significant problems carrying on a normal lifestyle.
The mental-health professionals look to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV-RT) which provides the framework for making the distinction between clinical depression and depression.
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A person must have at least five of the following symptoms, including at least one of the first two: depressed mood, loss of interest in pleasure, significant weight loss or gain, sleep disturbances, disturbances in motor activities, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt, inability to concentrate, and recurrent thoughts of death. If these symptoms are present and are not due to any other medical conditions, a person will typically be diagnosed with major depression.
There can be several causes for depression. Genetics can play a factor in the mood disorder; if a parent has a chemical imbalance, it is possible for the chemical imbalance to be passed down to their child or children. Psychological factors such as an awful experience as a child can play a role in depression. One other possible cause for depression is the social factor; an example of this is loss or unresolved grief.
There are several forms of treatments for depression if a person wants the help. Seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist for therapy can be useful; although there are many forms of therapy, finding the right form of therapy is necessary.
A therapy that may be helpful is client-centered therapy. Client therapy is explained as a nondirectional form of therapy which calls for unconditional positive regard of the client by the therapist with the goal of helping the client become fully functional. This form of therapy is called client-centered therapy because it places the responsibility for change on the person with the problems.
Behavior therapy is another form of therapy that may be useful. Behavior therapy is based on the belief that all behavior is learned, and the object of therapy is to teach people new, more satisfying ways of behaving. To get over depression, behavior therapy can help a person learn new ways of handling loss and other hard situations people may be going through. Some techniques used may be classical conditioning, aversive conditioning, modeling, and operant conditioning.
Drug therapy or antidepressants such as, Paxil, Welbutrin, Zoloft, Effexor, or Prozac may help as well. These tend to help people who have a chemical imbalance because these drugs work by reducing the uptake of serotonin in the nervous system, then increasing the concentration of serotonin active in the brain; however, people on these drugs should be monitored by health professionals as well as they may have some side effects.
Finally, some people prefer to try herbal remedies to help with depression issues. Some people who have tried the drug therapy and were not able to find relief they want, have tried pills such as 5-HTP and St. John’s Wort, taken along with antioxidants. People who are taking these pills should also stay in contact with their health professionals and follow all directions closely.
Depression can be a very serious disease; people who are suffering from depression may not realize it until it is too late. If a family member or friend believes someone they know might have a problem with depression, they should urge the person to speak to someone about the problem. While all of the treatments I spoke about previously can be helpful, the best way for a person to find the help that will work best for them is to speak to their health-care professional. Each person will need individualized help and may have to try several different therapies or drugs before finding the right combination for them.
Axia College of University of Phoenix. (2008). Psychology: An Introduction (12th ed.).
Retrieved March 24, 2008, from Axia College, Week Eight reading, aXcess, BEH225-
Introduction to Behavioral Science Course Web site.
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