Difference Between Sadness And Depression
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It's easy to confuse the difference between sadness and depression. Find out if you%u2019re dealing with the emotion of sadness or suffering from depression. Watch the video for more.
Transcript: Everyone feels sad, blue, and even despairing at times. But how is feeling depressed different from being...
Everyone feels sad, blue, and even despairing at times. But how is feeling depressed different from being depressed? Sadness is a part of being human; it's a natural response to painful and upsetting circumstances. People who are sad usually know the cause of their distress, whether it's divorce, a blow to the self-esteem, health problems, or life changes, like losing a job. Normal sadness is a transient emotion that passes as the distressed person deals with troubling events. Compared to sadness, clinical, or major, depression is far more complex. Clinical depression is a mental illness characterized by both emotional and physical symptoms. Which make it hard to function normally in everyday life. In direct contrast to people who are simply sad, depressed individuals do not usually have a logical "reason" for their feelings. Instead, their persistent depressed mood may come from nowhere. Often, people with depression lose interest in previously pleasurable activities and people. These emotions are often accompanied by physical symptoms not present in people who are simply blue. Aches and pains, sleep and appetite changes, and unrelenting lethargy are all physical signs of clinical depression. Other signs include diminished ability to concentrate and make decisions, Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and/or worthlessness, and even recurrent thoughts of death or suicide. These signs indicate the presence of clinical depression, but the condition cannot be diagnosed unless symptoms occur most of the day, either daily or near daily, for a period of at least two weeks. Also, the symptoms cannot be attributed to drugs, alcohol, or prescription medication, Nor can they be the result of a medical condition like hypothyroidism. And if the symptoms occur within two months of the loss of a loved one, clinical depression will not be diagnosed. By definition, clinical depression is debilitating-but it's also highly treatable! If you or a loved one experience persistent, debilitating feelings of depression, talk to a doctor about your symptoms!More »
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Depression is not a natural part of getting older. Depression in the elderly may seem more common due to certain life events, but its symptoms appear very differently than in other groups of people. Learn more in this video.
Transcript: For as many as one in five Americans over 65, clinical depression is a daily struggle. Some people mistakenly...
For as many as one in five Americans over 65, clinical depression is a daily struggle. Some people mistakenly believe that being depressed, lonely or sad are "normal" parts of getting older. And while it IS true that the loss of a loved one, health problems, and life changes often DO lead to feelings of sadness, recurrent, debilitating blue moods are NOT normal or healthy in the elderly. In seeking to understand the high rates of depression among older adults doctors find that imbalances in neurotransmitters, our cells' communication system, may be to blame. The elderly are ALSO more likely to experience the loss of a spouse, close friends, and other members of their support system. And they may deal with retirement and other stressful life changes as well as chronic health issues, like arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease. Whatever the reason for the condition, older people tend to display symptoms of depression differently. Often, they complain more about the PHYSICAL effects of the condition, like aches and pains, rather than the emotional ones or they may complain of problems with memory or concentration. And depression tends to last longer in older adults than in young people. Because it can be so hard to separate depression from other conditions in older individuals and because of the stigma attached to mental illness among this demographic only 10 percent of older people with depression receive treatment. This is disheartening because the elderly, particularly men, are MUCH more likely to commit suicide. In fact, people 65 and older account for fully 16 percent of suicide deaths, despite the fact that they make up just 12 percent of the U.S. population. On a positive note, treatment for elderly people with clinical depression is VERY effective. In fact, with combined treatment of psychotherapy and antidepressant medication the National Institute of Mental Health attests that 80 percent of elderly people with depression recover! Knowing this, it's VITAL to seek help if you or an elderly loved one is experiencing symptoms of clinical depression!More »
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Major depression in women is more common than in men. Learn more about gender differences and depression.
Transcript: Clinical depression is a mental illness affecting some 15 million Americans and about ten million of...
Clinical depression is a mental illness affecting some 15 million Americans and about ten million of them are women! Depression is a pervasive mood disorder characterized by feelings of sadness and hopelessness as well as a loss of interest in enjoyable activities. As well as a loss of interest in enjoyable activities. Although anyone can be diagnosed with depression, the rate is two times higher among women! For women, depression is more likely to occur earlier, last longer, and recur more often. Women with clinical depression may attempt suicide more often than men, although they succeed less frequently. In addition, depressed women are more likely to have a co-existing mental illness such as an anxiety or eating disorder. In seeking to understand why depression is both more frequent and more severe in women doctors have discovered that ovarian hormones play a huge role. To demonstrate, they point out that boys and girls have equal rates of depression in childhood. After puberty, though, the gender gap grows pronounced. This is likely due to fluctuations in a female's mood-affecting hormones, like estrogen and progesterone. From puberty onward, some three to five-percent of women acquire another hormonal risk factor for depression: premenstrual dysphoric disorder. PMDD is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome, which causes debilitating mood symptoms around menstruation. It's likely that the mood swings, depression, and despair surrounding PMDD are also related to cyclical changes in female hormones. For further proof of the hormone/depression connection, researchers look to pregnant women and new moms. Dramatic hormonal shifts both during and after pregnancy lead to higher rates of depression in females including a fairly common condition called postpartum depression. The risk of clinical depression is again heightened later in a woman's life, when her estrogen levels fall during early menopause. And women who use hormonal birth control, like the pill, are more likely to become depressed, too! In addition to this hormonal component, doctors point to a genetic link between women and depression. Females with mental illnesses in their family are much more likely to become depressed. Plus, some experts suspect that environmental factors like physical or sexual abuse, and work and family stress, affect women more severely, and for longer periods, than they do men. Whatever the reason for their higher rates of major depression, women are not without help. Depression is one of the most treatable mental health conditions! So if you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms of depression, don't hesitate to meet with a medical health professional.More »
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Diagnosing depression can sometimes be difficult. A number of tests have been designed to see if you're experiencing clinical depression. Learn more through this video.
Transcript: Depression is highly treatable but it can't be attended to if it isn't diagnosed! Without exception,...
Depression is highly treatable but it can't be attended to if it isn't diagnosed! Without exception, everyone feels sad, lonely, and upset from time to time. But clinical, or major, depression is a mental illness marked by persistent, debilitating feelings of sadness. In fact, for U.S. citizens ages 15 to 44, major depression is the leading cause of mental disability! Because of this, doctors have developed specific, effective methods testing for and diagnosing depression. Doing so starts with a physical examination. A physician may ALSO order laboratory tests of blood and urine during this exam. Although there is no specific "test" for depression, urine and blood work will allow the doctor to identify any major health concerns that may contribute to signs of the illness. For example, he'll look for conditions like hypothyroidism, which is caused by an under active thyroid gland. The physician will also want to ensure that symptoms aren't due to side effects from any medications or illegal drugs. After ruling out physical health problems, a doctor will complete a diagnostic evaluation. During this conversation, he'll ask inquire about a family history of depression and other mental illnesses. The physician will then ask whether the patient experiences persistent sad, anxious, or empty moods. He'll also want to know if the patient has lost pleasure in previously enjoyable activities and people. An affirmative answer to either of these questions is required for a diagnosis of depression to be made. Additionally, the patient must have at least FIVE more depressive symptoms, as dictated by the American Psychiatric Association. These symptoms include physical changes, like fatigue and decreased energy, sleep disturbances, changes in appetite and/or weight and recurrent bodily complaints, like aches and pains or digestive upset. The symptoms ALSO be emotional and mental. Decreased memory and concentration, poor self-image or self-esteem, feelings of hopelessness and pessimism, and feelings of guilt. If a patient experiences some or all of these over a period of AT LEAST two weeks, a doctor will likely make a diagnosis of depression. Being diagnosed with a mental illness can be disheartening and frightening, but with treatment, depression is a HIGHLY curable condition! For this reason, it's vital to see a medical professional if you're experiencing signs of clinical depression.More »
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Yes, kids can get depressed too. Symptoms of depression in children include irritability, anger and social withdrawal. Learn how to recognize the signs.
Transcript: Young children, like adults, can suffer from depression, a medical illness that can result in a range...
Young children, like adults, can suffer from depression, a medical illness that can result in a range of emotional and physical problems. Because younger children may not be able to describe how they feel, it's important to be aware of the symptoms to look for in children that may be depressed. It's estimated that one out of every 33 children may be affected by depression. Symptoms of depression are unique from child to child, and may manifest differently at different times, but primarily involve persistent sadness, mood swings and a sense of hopelessness. Your child's sleeping habits may change as well. Children with depression often have trouble falling asleep at night, or problems getting up in the morning. A change in your child's eating patterns, such as eating significantly more OR less, may also be a sign of depression. Other signs that your child may be depressed are an obvious change in the ability to function normally at home or at school, a lack of interest in activities that were once enjoyed, worsening performance at school and a noticeable change in appearance or demeanor. Many children with depression may often complain of physical ailments as well, such as frequent headaches or stomachaches that don't respond to typical remedies. And, although it's not uncommon for young children to have temper tantrums, frequent outbursts of anger and crying may also be a sign of depression. Some children suffering from depression may often be sad and tearful. Yet others may become extremely aggressive and argumentative. Not long ago, it was believed young children didn't get depressed. We now know that depression in children is not uncommon. Parents who notice obvious changes in their child's behavior that last more than a few weeks should schedule a visit with their pediatrician. Untreated, depression can have lasting consequences for children that result in setbacks to a child's emotional growth, social life and ability to succeed at school. While there are no specific tests to show depression, a trained therapist can conduct a thorough clinical evaluation and suggest the best treatment options. Most childhood depression can be treated effectively. If you suspect your child is depressed, it's important to seek professional help as soon as possible.More »
Last Modified: 2013-11-22 | Tags »
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There are a number of causes of depression. Some can be attributed to abuse, genetics, death or loss, conflict and medications. Learn more about the causes of depression.
Transcript: Depression is a serious mental illness that affects people of all ages and walks of life. A person with...
Depression is a serious mental illness that affects people of all ages and walks of life. A person with depression may experience a range of often disabling emotional and physical symptoms that can interfere with the ability to function normally in everyday life. While the cause of depression is not fully understood, it is generally believed that a number of issues may influence the presence of depression, ranging from low self-esteem, life events and critical illness, as well as genetic, biological and environmental factors. Researchers believe that people suffering from depression may have imbalances in serotonin and norepinephrine, which are neurotransmitters that enable brain cells to communicate. Decreased levels of serotonin and norepinephrine are also believed to cause the irritability, sleep problems and fatigue associated with depression. Depression also appears to run in some families, suggesting that a family history of depression increases the risk for children and siblings in successive generations. People who lack self-confidence, who tend to be overly critical of themselves, who have a generally negative outlook on life, or are unable to cope well with stressful events are also believed to be at risk for depression. Traumatic life events such as a death, job loss or divorce may trigger depression. Even welcome events like graduating, getting married, having a baby or moving into a dream home may lead to depression, often because regular routines are disrupted and new demands emerge. Depression often occurs in conjunction with certain illnesses, such as cancer, Parkinson's disease, heart disease or Alzheimer's disease. Certain medications - like barbiturates, benzodiazepines, beta-blockers and codeine - are associated with depression as well. A history of physical, emotional or sexual abuse may often be a cause of depression later in life. Many famous people, past and present, have suffered from depression including Vincent Van Gogh, Ernest Hemingway, Michelangelo, Mark Twain and Mozart. More recently, celebrities like comedian Jim Carrey, actor Hugh Laurie and actress Brooke Shields, as well as Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, have talked openly about their bouts with depression, while actor Owen Wilson's depression was made public following his attempted suicide. While the exact cause of depression is not completely understood, depression can be successfully treated in more than 80 percent of people who seek help. If you - or someone you know - is affected by depression, it's important to consult a mental health professional as soon as possible.More »
Last Modified: 2014-02-04 | Tags »
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Depression is a treatable clinical disorder, but may not be preventable. While how to prevent depression is not truly known, there are ways to reduce your risk.
Transcript: Just as there is no single cause of depression, there is not one particular way to prevent it. There...
Just as there is no single cause of depression, there is not one particular way to prevent it. There are, however, steps you can take to manage anxiety, boost self-esteem and increase resilience to stress that may help you overcome many symptoms of depression. Mental health experts have long advocated exercise as a way to combat, and help prevent, depression. Recent studies show that exercising three to five times a week, for at least 30 minutes, can help reduce depression symptoms. While high-intensity, cardiovascular workouts showed the best results, any type of exercise - like walking, biking, swimming, kickboxing or even gardening - may help to reduce stress and boost self-esteem. Certain foods may also help fight depression, as evidenced by low rates of depression in Scandinavian and Asian counties, which both have diets high in fish. Clinical studies confirm foods rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, including salmon, sardines and tuna, can effectively reduce depression symptoms. Studies also suggest that high levels of B vitamins - folic acid, B2, B6 and B12 - can help battle depression. So a diet high in fruits and vegetables, as well as legumes, nuts and whole grains may be beneficial as well. Keep an eye on carbohydrates, too. They break down into sugar, which can worsen depression symptoms. If you choose to eat carb-rich foods, stick with the good ones, like green vegetables, fruit and nuts - and skip the chips, bagels and cupcakes. In addition to exercise and a healthy diet, it can also be beneficial to make time for activities YOU enjoy, whether you're writing in a journal, playing the piano, seeing a movie with friends, practicing free throws or spending quality time on the putting green. Many people find mind-body techniques valuable in helping conquer depression. Practicing meditation, yoga, Tai Chi or guided imagery has a positive impact on physiological processes, which may help improve relaxation, emotions, energy and concentration. Research suggests acupuncture may be another viable way to reduce or prevent symptoms of depression. By stimulating the body's central nervous system, acupuncture increases production of mood-enhancing endorphins. And don't forget to stay connected with the people you care about - and who make you feel good about yourself. There are many ways you can take charge of depression and help reduce or prevent its symptoms. If you - or someone you know - suffers from depression, please consult a mental health professional.More »
Last Modified: 2014-02-04 | Tags »
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True depression in children, while not common, can be frustrating for a parent. If you suspect your child is suffering from depression, learn how to spot the signs.
Transcript: Occasional sadness or anxiety is NOT uncommon in children and adolescents. But certain symptoms like...
Occasional sadness or anxiety is NOT uncommon in children and adolescents. But certain symptoms like persistent sadness, hopelessness and significant behavior changes that impact the ability to function in school, family or social situations can signal depression in young people. An estimated 2% of young children, and 4% to 8% of adolescents suffer from depression, a mental illness that can cause numerous emotional and physical symptoms. Depression can have lasting consequences that result in setbacks to a child's emotional growth, social life and ability to succeed at school. Studies also show that young people who struggle with depression often experience significant disadvantages in adulthood, underscoring the importance of early diagnosis. Yet another - and extremely critical - reason to seek professional help for childhood or adolescent depression is the connection between depression and suicide, which is the third leading cause of death among young people in the 10-to 24-year-old age group. If depression symptoms persist at least two weeks, it's important to visit your family physician to rule out physical causes of the depression symptoms. If depression is suspected, your doctor may suggest a mental health professional for a comprehensive evaluation. To diagnose depression accurately in young people, clinicians rely on the same DSM-IV diagnostic criteria published by the American Psychiatric Association used for diagnosing adults. However, the criteria acknowledge that diagnoses may be more difficult in young people because symptoms vary according to age and development. Meeting the diagnostic criteria for depression involves the presence of at least five of the nine symptoms listed in the DSM-IV, that persist for at least two weeks. Symptoms include persistent sadness, loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed, changes in appetite, sleeping or behavior, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and thoughts of suicide. Challenges in diagnosing depression in young people often include the inability of younger children to fully describe how they feel, as well as teens that may refuse to engage in conversation. To help ensure the most comprehensive understanding of the depression symptoms, the mental health evaluation typically involves interviews with the child and parents, and may include any useful information that other family members, friends, teachers or counselors can provide. Depression in children and adolescents is a serious mental illness that can be frightening for children as well as their parents. But it can be treated successfully. If you suspect your child may be depressed, it's important to consult a mental health professional as soon as possible.More »
Last Modified: 2013-11-22 | Tags »
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Does winter get you down? It's possible that seasonal affective disorder (SAD), may result from dreary weather. Get the details on treatment options.
Transcript: Everyone has days when they feel down for no reason or just can't get motivated on a cold winter morning....
Everyone has days when they feel down for no reason or just can't get motivated on a cold winter morning. But if you find yourself experiencing drastic mood changes every year when fall and winter roll around, you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder. Seasonal Affective Disorder, called "SAD," is a type of recurring depression that coincides with seasonal variations. It commonly occurs during late fall and continues through winter, occurring less commonly in spring and summer. And the ensuing depression typically increases in severity as the season progresses. At least a half million people in the U.S.A. are affected by SAD between September and April every year. It's also believed that a milder form of SAD, referred to as the "Winter Blues" affects even more people. SAD is most common in areas where winter days are the shortest. It can affect people of all ages, but typically occurs most commonly between the ages of 15 and 55, with women accounting for three out of every four sufferers. Symptoms of SAD may include feeling moody, grumpy, anxious or unhappy. Sufferers also tend to sleep more, lack energy and crave carbohydrates. Typical depression symptoms such as lack of interest in normal activities, social withdrawal and decreased sexual interest may be present as well. People who have SAD symptoms in the spring and summer often experience insomnia, lack of appetite, weight loss, crying spells and decreased concentration. The precise cause of SAD is unknown. However, experts have identified several factors that are likely contributors. For example, reduced sunlight during the winter months is believed to disrupt the body's circadian rhythm or "biological clock," which can lead to feelings of disorder and depression. Decreased sunlight may also cause a drop in the brain chemical serotonin; a neurotransmitter that helps regulates mood and emotions. Seasonal changes may also result in a disruption of the body's natural levels of melatonin, a sleep-related hormone that the body produces in increased amounts in darkness. High levels of melatonin are associated with depression symptoms. Also, as with other types of depressive illnesses, people with a family history of the disorder are more likely to be affected by SAD. The level of depression associated with SAD is typically mild to moderate. In some cases, however, the depression can be severe enough to interfere with daily living. So it's important to consult a mental health professional for an accurate diagnosis. Diagnosing SAD involves meeting criteria stated by the American Psychiatric Association in the DSM IV manual including the presence of depression and other symptoms for at least two consecutive years, during the same seasons every year, followed by periods without depression when the seasons change. The most common treatment for SAD is bright light therapy using a light box that simulates natural light. This is thought to suppress melatonin production and help restore the body's natural circadian rhythms, with symptoms often relieved within a week. People who experience SAD during the spring and summer months may find relief by traveling to a cooler climate. When symptoms interfere with normal activities, SAD may also be treated with medication. Typically antidepressants from the serotonin selective reuptake inhibitor family such as Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa and the antidepressant Wellbutrin is specifically FDA approved for SAD. Counseling or behavioral therapy can also be effective in helping SAD sufferers manage symptoms. Other ways to manage SAD symptoms include exercising regularly, maintaining healthy eating and spending more time outside. Untreated, SAD may worsen and lead to: substance abuse; problems with school, work or relationships; and suicidal thoughts or behaviors. If you, or someone you know, may be suffering from SAD, please consult a mental health professional.More »
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What is major depression? It's a clinical disorder leading to feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Learn the basics of this chronic condition.
Transcript: Everyone experiences periods of sadness, grief and discouragement. But when these feelings persist more...
Everyone experiences periods of sadness, grief and discouragement. But when these feelings persist more than a couple of weeks and impair your ability to get through the day, you may have Major Depression. Major Depression, also known as Clinical Depression or Major Depressive Disorder, is the most severe form of depression. People experiencing major depression typically feel such intense sadness and hopelessness that they are constantly depressed, and have no interest in normal activities. Major Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions and is the leading cause of disability in the U.S., affecting as many as 15 million Americans yearly. Symptoms of Major Depression vary because everyone experiences depression differently. Some people eat too much or too little. Some have trouble sleeping or can't get out of bed. Still others may be unusually irritable, or have difficulty concentrating. Other symptoms of depression include lack of energy, loss of pleasure in activities previously enjoyed, and thoughts of suicide. The typical onset for Major Depression is between the ages of 25 and 44, but can affect anyone at any age. Women are twice as likely to experience Major Depression and are particularly vulnerable to depression following childbirth, because of hormonal and physical changes. Men suffer from Major Depression, too. However, men are less likely to seek help when depressed, so it often goes unreported. Men may also be more likely to express their unhappiness through anger, substance abuse or violent behavior. Episodes of Major Depression may last for six to nine months. While some people experience a single occurrence, others may experience repeated episodes throughout their life. That's why most mental health professionals consider Major Depression a chronic illness requiring long-term treatment.More »
Last Modified: 2013-10-02 | Tags »
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The causes of major depression are unknown, but factors such as genetics and life events can contribute to depression risk. This video explains possible causes and significance of major depression.
Transcript: Major Depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States, for people ranging from 15...
Major Depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States, for people ranging from 15 to 44 years old, affecting more than 14.8 million people a year! But what causes this debilitating condition? The precise cause of Major Depression is not known, but research suggests a family history of depression. Having a family member who has committed suicide may also increase one's risk. Major Depression is also associated with serious medical illnesses, like cancer or AIDS, and with long-term use of some medications. Certain personality traits, such as lacking self-confidence or having a negative outlook on life may also increase the risk of depression. Imaging studies suggest that actual physical changes take place in the brain when a person suffers from Major Depression. In addition, people with depression typically have reduced levels of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, particularly serotonin, which plays an important role in regulating mood. What distinguishes Major Depression is the number and severity of symptoms. Diagnosis involves the presence of five or more depression symptoms that persist for at least two weeks. However, it's important to see a health care provider first to rule out any underlying medical condition. Treatment for depression typically involves medication and psychotherapy. However, rather than either therapy on its own, studies suggest the best results are achieved when antidepressant drugs and/or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are used in combination with therapy. About two-thirds of people who suffer from Major Depression recover completely. Those, however, who don't experience a complete recovery, may be at higher risk for experiencing additional depressive episodes. Untreated, the frequency and severity of depression symptoms may increase. Other complications may include severe problems at home, at school, in the workplace, and with one's finances. Suicidal thoughts are common among people suffering from Major Depression, and up to 15 percent ultimately take their own lives. If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, it's imperative to call 911 or a suicide hotline immediately! Major Depression can be overwhelming for everyone concerned, but there are treatments that can help. If you, or someone you know, is suffering from depression, please consult a mental health professional.More »
Last Modified: 2013-07-23 | Tags »
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Change is hard, and sometimes it can lead to situational depression. Adjustment disorder, or situational depression, is often short-term but professional help can smooth painful transitions.
Transcript: Sometimes, a significant life change or problem can be so overwhelming that it results in anxiety, depression...
Sometimes, a significant life change or problem can be so overwhelming that it results in anxiety, depression and inability to go about daily activities, at which point it becomes Adjustment Disorder. Adjustment Disorder, often called Situational Depression, is a relatively common short-term condition that occurs when a person has an abnormal and excessive reaction to a particular stressor, positive or negative, such as a major life event, loss of a loved one or any unexpected change. Most people are able to adjust to stressful events within a few months. With Adjustment Disorder, however, sufferers are unable to cope with the stress and may experience a variety of symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Symptoms of Adjustment Disorder vary according to the intensity of the triggering situation, as well as the personal significance it has for a particular individual, but may include sadness, anxiety, hopelessness and loss of interest in everyday activities. Adjustment Disorder may also cause physical symptoms ranging from headaches and stomachaches to agitation, palpitations, lethargy and twitching. A number of behavioral symptoms may be present as well, such as changes in eating and sleeping habits, difficulty concentrating, isolation, missing work and engaging in destructive or reckless behavior such as using alcohol or drugs. These symptoms typically begin within three months of the stressful event and seldom last longer than six months beyond the original incident that triggered the stress. The circumstances triggering Adjustment Disorder include virtually any situation an individual perceives as stressful, from positive events like getting married or having a baby, to financial difficulties, divorce, job loss, serious illness, unexpected tragedy, or a disastrous event such as an earthquake, fire or flood. While Adjustment Disorder can affect anyone of any age, and is typically experienced equally by both men and women, it occurs most commonly during times of major life transitions such as during adolescence, middle age and in the elderly. An individual's susceptibility to Adjustment Disorder may also involve changes in brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, especially serotonin, which helps regulate mood. Personality, temperament, well-being, life experiences and family history are each thought to play a role as well. In many cases, the symptoms of Adjustment Disorder are resolved on their own through the individual's gradual adaptation to the stressful situation or event. But if symptoms become so overwhelming that it becomes difficult to get through the day, it's wise to see your doctor. There are no clinical tests for Adjustment Disorder, but it's important to rule out any medical conditions that could be causing your symptoms. It's likely that your doctor will refer you to a mental health professional. Diagnosing Adjustment Disorder involves meeting criteria stated by the American Psychiatric Association in the DSM IV manual. Your mental health professional will need to confirm the presence of emotional or behavioral symptoms occurring within three months of a stressful event including marked distress in excess of what would typically be expected by the particular stressor, and a significant impairment in functioning. Treatment for Adjustment Disorder typically includes supportive psychotherapy that assists sufferers in putting the stressor in perspective and helps optimize coping skills. Anti-anxiety medications may be suggested for short-term relief of anxiety or insomnia. Some sufferers find it helpful to discuss their feelings in a support group setting with others who are coping with similar situations. Family therapy may be beneficial as well. Fortunately, Adjustment Disorder typically gets better within six months without any remaining symptoms. If you, or someone you know, may be suffering from Adjustment Disorder, please consult a mental health professional.More »
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People with psychotic depression experience paranoid hallucinations, like hearing voices, and delusions. Learn more about psychotic depression and treatment options here.
Transcript: What happens when a depressed person loses touch with reality, the cause may be a serious condition called...
What happens when a depressed person loses touch with reality, the cause may be a serious condition called Psychotic Depression. Psychotic Depression occurs when a person with severe depression also experiences psychosis, characterized by hallucinations that involve seeing or hearing things that don't actually exist, as well as delusional thoughts, which most often entail various irrational beliefs, thoughts and fears. The subject matter of hallucinations and delusions often reflects the sufferer's depressed mood. For example, people with Psychotic Depression may see frightening images such as an apparition of the devil, hear voices that insult them, or that urge them to harm themselves or others. People with Psychotic Depression may also: think they're dying of a serious medical illness; become unreasonably distrustful, often believing that others "hear" their thoughts or want to kill them; or believe themselves to be a famous person or guilty of a crime they didn't commit. Other symptoms of Psychotic Depression may include anxiety, insomnia, poor concentration, sudden outbursts of anger, constipation, physical immobility and extreme self-neglect. Psychotic Depression typically requires immediate medical attention, because sufferers may be unwilling or unable to take care of themselves, as well as to prevent self-harm or harm to others. Approximately one-fourth of people who are admitted to the hospital for depression suffer from Psychotic Depression. While the exact cause of Psychotic Depression is unknown, research shows an association with elevated levels of Cortisol, a hormone produced in large quantities during times of significant stress. With Psychotic Depression, natural Cortisol production may be off kilter, leading to psychosis. And, while no specific risk factors for Psychotic Depression have been identified, people who have a family history of depression are more likely to be affected. Unlike other types of mental illness involving hallucinations and delusions, like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, sufferers of Psychotic Depression are often aware that the things they see and hear are not real. This may result in embarrassment and attempts to hide symptoms, making diagnosis difficult. The first step in diagnosing Psychotic Depression often involves seeing a doctor for a physical exam and blood tests to rule out any medical conditions or drug reactions that could be causing the symptoms. It is also essential to have a complete mental health evaluation to differentiate Psychotic Depression from other mental disorders that cause breaking with reality, and from other types of depression. This is because treatment differs from other depressive illnesses, and risk of suicide is greater. Psychotic Depression can be treated successfully. However, it is not as responsive to psychotherapy as other forms of depression. Also, antidepressants alone are typically not sufficient. As a result, treatment generally involves a combination of antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs to effectively control symptoms. ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) may be used and can be very effective. But it typically is only used to treat extreme conditions that have not responded to other courses of treatment. Most people recover from Psychotic Depression within a year. However, it's often necessary to continue the medication regimen and receive ongoing professional follow-up, as the risk of depressive symptoms returning is higher than a return of the psychotic symptoms. If you think you or someone know may be suffering from Psychotic Depression, please consult your doctor or a mental health professional.More »
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