What is depression?

What is depression?
Depression is a problem known since antiquity. People who have suffered from it have always lived hard not only because of their own anguish, but also because of society's attitude to the problem: if the patient was previously suspected of being possessed by the devil, then in our times this state is often considered a manifestation of laziness and weakness. Scientists, fortunately, think differently, and successfully treat this illness. Let's find out together how depression differs from the usual spleen and what to do if your loved one suffers from it.
Nowadays, people call depression anything, down to an endless sadness over the absence of the favorite sort of tea in a cafe. Medical specialists, however, have their own opinion on this regard. Depression in its classical form (it is also known as clinical depression or major depressive disorder) has four main signs, and none of them is at all similar to what people normally feel when they are just sad.
1. Deterioration of mood. It's not just sadness, but a feeling of anguish and despair that is felt literally physically. In case when depression is caused by the events of the surrounding world (then it is called reactive), it is impossible to ignore the oppressive thoughts in principle, despite all the cheerful advice of friends "not to take everything so close to heart." If depression is endogenous (that is, caused not by external factors or by other diseases) when there seems to be no reason for sadness, then life simply ceases be meaningful and happy
2. Problems with thinking. First, thoughts become very slow and incoherent, secondly, it becomes much harder to formulate thoughts they get confused, a person starts to think about something, but cannot bring this idea to the end and to put the thoughts together is simply impossible. And, finally, thoughts all the time revolve around one thing: either around the cause of reactive depression, or, with endogenous depression, around the person’s own sins, mistakes and flaws in character. One way or another, quite often depressed people come to the conclusion that it is they who are to blame for all their (and sometimes other people's) troubles, and nothing will ever be better, which means that life no longer has meaning. That is why depression is so dangerous with the risk of suicide
3. It becomes very difficult to move. Any movement seems an impossible task, even on the face often stiffens one expression according to friends, people with depression seem to age for several years at once
4. Disturbances in the work of different body systems. Among the symptoms of depression are also loss of appetite, insomnia, weight loss (even if there are no problems with appetite), general weakness and constant fatigue, disruption in the work of the gastrointestinal tract, decreased libido and menstrual cycle disorders in women
In addition to clinical depression, there is another one when the person has at least two of these signs, but their number or severity is not enough for clinical depression. It happens that this condition lasts for several years in this case a doctor makes the diagnosis of chronic depression. Its cause is often a traumatic event in the past, already half forgotten, but still causing suffering.
It is not always easy to diagnose depression, because in addition to cases described in medical textbooks, there are also individuals who do not have any characteristic signs of depression. For example, there is no sadness. But instead of it (or some other symptom) other disorders are added. Such condition is called atypical depression. These include those with grumbling (the term "grumbling depression" really exists in medical reference books), anger, a tendency to sneer, cry, etc. But if in addition to the characteristic features of depression, the patient has hallucinations or delirium, medical specialists talk about a complex atypical depression (it is also called psychotic).
If we talk about exogenous depression, the reasons for its occurrence (at least, first-order reasons) include all sorts of traumatic events that have occurred with the person, various illnesses (primarily neurological ones, such as epilepsy and dementia, and endocrine, for example, diabetes) craniocerebral trauma, certain medicines, lack of sunlight, severe stress.
The situation is more complicated with endogenous depression, or as some people call it — "causeless" depression. There is no unequivocal answer to the question, what goes wrong at the moment when a person starts feeling depressed. But there are hypotheses in this regard. The leading one for today is the monoamine theory. According to it, depression begins because of a deficiency in the body of two substances serotonin and (or) noradrenaline. The first of them, among other things, is responsible for the feeling of joy, the second is called the "mediator of the wakefulness", it is actively developed under stressful reactions and in situations where it is necessary to pull yourself together and act.
The problem can be not only in the actual lack of these substances, but also in problems of their transmission from the neuron to the neuron. The invention of some popular antidepressants is based precisely on this theory. However, here everything is not all smooth. Critics of the monoamine theory suggest that if a depressed state depended only on the level of serotonin, then antidepressants, such as Paxil, would help immediately after admission, and not after a monthly course of treatment, as it actually happens. In addition, studies suggest depression not always begins with lower serotonin levels. From these suggestions a separate "stress theory" has grown. According to it, the effect of antidepressants is not due to their influence on the level of serotonin in the body, but to the stimulation of neurogenesis the birth of new nerve cells. These processes in certain areas of the brain goon throughout life, and stress can disrupt them. A couple of weeks of taking antidepressants improve the situation, and depression can be defeated.
This is one of the most common mental illnesses. According to WHO statistics, more than 350 million people worldwide suffer from it. Hence, it is very likely that one of your friends may have this disorder.
The very first rule: do not be ashamed to be overcautious. If someone tells you about plans to end their life— it's better to call emergency psychiatric care first, and then to figure out whether it was a pathos phrase or an expression of intentions.

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