Depression is a type of mental illness or mood disorder in which someone has strong sad feelings, feelings of guilt, helplessness, anxiety (worry), and/or fear, lowered self-esteem and a loss of interest in life which lasts for a long time. Some people who are depressed think about suicide. le, this mood does not go away and if they are prolonged, these feelings may lead to depression.
How Common Is Depression?
Ten percent of people have depression at some time in their lives. Depression happens most often in people between the ages of 24 and 44 years. About two times as many women as men have depression. However, many experts think that men do not seek help for depression as often as women.
Signs and Symptoms of Depression
The DSM-IV-TR (a manual used to diagnose mental illness) says that the two main parts of depression are:
(1) Depressed mood,
(2) Loss of interest or pleasure.
- feelings of much sadness, or no emotion
- less interest in things that are normally fun
- changing appetite and weight
- sleeping more or sleeping less
- fatigue (feeling tired) of mind and body
- feelings of guilt, helplessness, anxiety and/or fear
- lowered self-esteem
- thinking about death or suicide
- drug or alcohol use.
Causes of Depression
No one cause for depression has been found, but there are some things that can be involved. These things can cause depression, or make it worse:
- Heredity (genes) Depression is known to be inherited (someone whose parent or parents are depressed would be more likely to get it).
- Physiology The amounts of some chemicals in the brain. Serotonin is the main chemical in the brain that has to do with happiness. Many antidepressant medication works to balance the amount of serotonin in the brain.
- Psychological factors Low self-esteem and harmful thinking
- Early experiences Events such as the death of a parent, abandonment or rejection, neglect, chronic illness, and severe physical, psychological, or sexual abuse
- Life experiences Losing a job, problems with money, death of a loved one, or other life problems can cause depression.
- Medical conditions Some illnesses such as hepatitis or mononucleosis may contribute to depression. Some medicines like birth control pills and steroids can too.
- Alcohol and other drugs. Alcohol can make one more sad. The abuse of alcohol, benzodiazepine-based tranquillizers, sleeping medications, or narcotics can influence the duration and harshness of depression.
Acupuncture and Depression
There are many different medications and therapies to help treat this condition and the beauty of acupuncture is that it can work with other treatments and there are no side effects. In order to help motivate people to exercise and to help with the symptoms of depression, acupuncture treats it according to TCM diagnosis of symptoms which originate from excess or deficiency in the functioning of the organs.
Depression which is not treated may get worse.
For more information, to arrange a personal assessment or to make an appointment at my Dun Laoghaire or Fairview clinics, please feel free to contact me.