Basic Psychology, Psychopathology

Depression – Introduction

Depression is a state of low mood  to activity that can affect a person’s thoughts, behavior, tendencies, feelings, and sense of well-being. A depressed mood is a normal temporary reaction to life events Depression can also be defined as mood or emotional state that is marked by feelings of low self-worth or guilt and a reduced ability to enjoy life. A person who is depressed usually experiences several of the cognitive symptoms and other symptoms.

COGNITIVE SYMPTOMS

  • Hopelessness: No hope, the feeling that hopes have been destroyed or of facing a dilemma that cannot be solved.
  • Helplessness: Inability to defend oneself or to act effectively.
  • Worthlessness: Having no qualities that would render it valuable or useful
  • Death Wishes : An unconscious and persistent desire for one’s own death.

OTHER SYMPTOMS

  • Anhedonia: Inability to feel pleasure in normally pleasurable activities
  • Anergia/Fatigue: Lack of energy
  • Decrease in Concentration
  • Decrease/Increase in Appetite
  • Decrease/Increase in Sleep
  • Decrease in Libido[sexual desires]
  • Suicidal Ideation
  • Irritability in Adolescent

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COMORBIDITY

Comorbidity means the state of being jointly (co-) morbid, and it is defined as “the presence of more than one disease in a single person during a certain period of time”. The presence of comorbidity brings several important issues to the surface.

  • When depression coexists with another mental disorder, these disorders are reported to be severer than when either is present alone.
  • temporal relationship between depression and other comorbid mental disorders. There are three ways of considering the order of onset.
    1. When depression precedes the other disorder, depression may serve as a causative factor for the subsequent disorder.
    2. when the other disorder precedes depression, that disorder may serve as a causative factor for depression.
    3. when depression and the other disorder occur simultaneously, the symptoms of these two diseases may be considered attributable to a different cause(s).

The comorbidity of depression and other mental disorders is outlined below in relation to individual common disorders.

  1. Depression and anxiety disorder :Comorbid anxiety disorder is the disorder most frequently found in patients with depression.
  2. Depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder :Obsessions (such as irrational adherence to certain ideas or repetitive thinking) or compulsions (such as compulsive rituals or ascertainment behavior) are known often to be concomitant with various mental disorders including schizophrenia, depression, and organic brain disease.
  3. Depression and personality disorder :It has been a firmly rooted belief that mood disorder is related to premorbid personality disorder, and, specifically among psychiatrists in this country, it is generally accepted that unipolar depression and melancholic personality are related.

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