Depression – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment Options

Depression is a complex of psychological and physical symptoms. Low mood level or sadness is often the most prominent symptom. The common property of these symptoms is a decreased activity level in parts of the brain.

THE SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION

Depression may give one or more of these symptoms:

– Low mood level or sadness.
– Lack of joy or interest in activities that were joyful before.
– Pessimism.
– Feel of guilt of something without any substantial reason to feel so.
– Inferiority thoughts.
– Irritability.
– Slowness in the thought process.
– Slowness in interpreting sensorial stimuli.
– Slowness of digestion or other internal physical processes, and symptoms caused by this slowness, for example inflated stomach, constipation or difficulties by urination.
– Slow physical reactions.

Depression can be a mild disease that only causes some annoyance in the daily life, but can also get very serious and make a person totally unable to work and unable to participate in social life. By depression of some severity, there is also a greater risk of suicide.

Depression can occur in all age classes. In teenager’s lack of interest in school work, withdrawal from social life and difficult mood can be signs of depression.

THE PHYSIOLOGICAL CHANGES THAT PRODUCE THE SYMPTOMS

By depression there is a decreased amount of neurotransmitters in parts of the central nervous system, mainly deficiency of serotonin, but also to some extend of noradrenalin, acetylcholine, dopamine or gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA), or the nerve cells do not react properly by stimulation from neurotransmitters. A neurotransmitter is a signal substance that transmits the nerve signal through the junctions between two nerve cells.

Serotonin and noradrenalin cause nerve cells to send impulses along to other nerve cells, and thus increase the activity in the brain. Deficiency of these substances causes slowness in parts of the brain, and that again causes the depressive symptoms.

The role of GABA is the opposite, namely to slow down some nerve impulses, mainly those causing anxiety and panic response. Lack of GABA causes higher anxiety and easier panic response. Yet, lack of this transmitter also seems to cause depressive symptoms. This is because a too high activity in some brain processes may slow down other processes.

There are many causes and subtypes of depression with different physiological mechanisms involved.

TYPES OF DEPRESSION

Depression is often divided into subtypes according to exhibited symptoms.

1. Mono-polar depression and dysthymic disorder  

By mono-polar depression there are pure depressive symptoms. Mild cases of mono-polar disorder that do not affect a person’s ability to work and to participate in social activities are often called dysthymic disorder.

2. Bipolar disorder (manic-depressive disease) and cyclothymic disorder

In this condition there are periods with symptoms of depression – the depressive phase, alternating with periods of elevated mood level with increased mental and physical activity – the manic phase. In the manic phase, the affected person also sleeps poorly and has concentration difficulties. A mild form of this disease is called cyclothymic disorder.

3. Manic disorder

This condition is characterized by abnormally elevated mood, by unrealistic optimism, by lack of sleep and by hyperactive behaviour. Many psychiatrists think that this disorder is simply the same disease as bipolar disorder where the depressive face has not yet occurred.

4. Depression with mainly physical symptoms

Sometimes the physical symptoms of depression are alone or dominant, as for example: Digestive problems, constipation, difficulties with urination, slow response to sensorial stimuli or slow physical reactions.

CAUSES OF DEPRESSION

Two or more factors can have an effect simultaneously to cause depression. Depression can be an independent disease, or a part of other disease. Depression is also divided into different subtypes according to cause.

1. Reactive depression

This disease is simply a result from psychological stress, physical struggle or mental straining without proper rest or sleep over a long time period. The straining will simply wear out the nervous system or deplete the organism from nutrient necessary for the nervous system to work properly.

2. Endogenous depression

When there has not been any period of stress, straining or lack of rest that can explain the condition, the condition is often called endogenous depression. Inheritance is thought to be a part of the cause.

3. Depression by physical disease

Depression or depressive symptoms may be a symptom of physical disease. This is perhaps the most common cause of depression.

Diseases often associated with depression are: Heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, hypertension or Cushing’s syndrome.

Mononucleosis or flu may trigger depression that continues after the infection has gone.

By lack of thyroid hormones, hypothyroidism, the metabolism in the whole body is slowed down, including the production of neurotransmitters in the brain. Therefore depression is an important symptom of hypothyroidism.

4. Depressive symptoms as a consequence of unsound lifestyle

A general unsound lifestyle with too less exercise, too high consunsume of alcohol, coffee or tea, too less of important nutrient and too much of sugar and fat may give depressive symptoms, as well as physical problems.

5. Postnatal depression

Women will often have a period of depression after pregnancy and birth of the baby Pregnancy and berth is physically and mentally exhausting, and may drain the body for nutrient. This in turn can cause depressive symptoms.

6. Seasonal affective disorder

Depression can occur in cold and dark periods of the year and go away in warm and light periods. Light stimulates brain activity, and lack of light is a causative factor.

TREATMENT OF DEPRESSION

Serious or prolonged depression is often treated with anti-depressive medication. Medicines used against depression generally increase the level of neurotransmitters like serotonin in the central nervous system, or they mimic the neurotransmitters.

The medications mostly used today increase the serotonin concentration by decreasing the removal of serotonin from the space around nerve cells. Examples of this medication type are: Fluoxetine (Prozac), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Paxil), escitalopram (Lexapro, Celexa), sentraline (zoloft).

By bipolar disorder in the manic face, heavy tranquilizers (neuroleptica) are used to stop the manic symptoms. By bipolar disorder, lithium salts are sometimes used to stabilize the condition, and prevent new outbreak of depressive or manic faces.

Psychotherapy is sometimes used by depression, usually in combination with medication.

Sometimes serious depression is treated by applying electric shock through the head, electroconvulsive therapy. The shock induces epileptic eruption of nerve signals through the brain and this gives cramps throughout the body. The cramps are alleviated or stopped by applying anaesthesia before the electroshock. This form of treatment is controversial, since it can cause memory loss and is suspected of causing brain damage. The possibility of brain damage is however denied by most psychiatrists.

By seasonal depression, light therapy maybe useful.

Adjustment of lifestyle should always be considered by depression or depressive symptoms. Lifestyle measures can sometimes be enough to cure depressive symptoms before a serious depression develop. Lifestyle adjustments can be:

– To slow down a stressful life with too much work or activities.
– Enough rest and sleep.
– A good diet with enough of necessary nutrients.
– Some physical exercise.
– Meditation.
– Supplement of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, lecithin, amino acids and essential fatty acids.
– Stimulants like coffee or tea may help against depressive feelings in moderate amount. However, if you are a heavy user of these stimulants, you should cut down on your consumption.

There exist nutritional products in the marked to help against depressive symptoms. These contain ingredients that the brain uses as building blocks for neurotransmitters, for example amino acids and lecithin. They also often contain vitamins and minerals that the brain uses as tools to produce neurotransmitters, especially vitamin B6.

Supplements may further contain herbal extracts that trigger higher brain activity much like anti-depressive medications, but may have fewer side effects.

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Some Information On The Residential Addiction Treatment Program In Alaska

There is a residential addiction treatment program in Alaska too, which is quite similar in pattern to the residential treatment programs of the other states. In fact, the residential program in Alaska has been modeled on the programs of other states and so you will find several similarities. Just as in other states, even here the program is considered to be the most elaborate and detailed addiction treatment program which almost ensures complete recovery for the patient. Here’s some information on the residential treatment program in Alaska.

Who enters a Residential Treatment Program in Alaska?

This program is generally meant for people who consider it as the last refuge for bringing them out of the addiction. This might include the following groups of people:-

1. People who have been arrested for some crime committed under the influence of an addiction are ordered by the drug courts in Alaska to complete a program at a residential treatment center. For this reason, people feel that the residential treatment program is a form of punishment. However, this is not the case. Even people of different groups such as the following are potential candidates for such a program.

2. People who have been with an addiction for a very long period of time will likely have a lot of accumulated toxins in their bodies because of the addiction. This can be lethal for them in the long run. If these people were to go for an ordinary treatment program, there is a possibility that that program wouldn’t work for them because of the very high concentration of the substance in their body that will keep on creating the urge for them repeatedly. They would require the substance to be removed from their body before the treatment is to have any effect.

3. Next, people who have some health complications will find suitable treatment with the residential treatment program. They may be put into a dual diagnostic treatment approach which can help treat both the conditions simultaneously.

4. People who have some mental disabilities are always a challenge for addiction treatment. One of the main things that addiction treatment requires is a resolve on part of the patient to come out of the addiction. However, people with mental conditions are not able to work out this resolve. They will require additional care and counseling which is provided through the residential treatment program, using the dual diagnosis approach.

5. People who have hit bottom with their addictions, such as those who have required hospitalization due to a complication caused by the addiction will also do well with such a program.

How does the Residential Treatment Program in Alaska work?

There are three main aspects to a residential treatment program in Alaska. These aspects are outlined below:-

1. The first part of the program is about convincing the patient why they need treatment. This is always an important part of the program because most people who are introduced to a residential treatment program in Alaska are not sure that their addiction is a problem and do not want treatment. Several weeks may pass in just convincing the patient for the treatment and in this period, the treatment would progress very little.

2. The next big step is the detox treatment. Detox is always needed for people who get into residential treatment because of the great extent of the addiction present in them. The main purpose of the detox treatment is to cleanse their bodies from the toxins that accumulate in them because of the long period of addiction. This helps people to come out of the addiction faster because it mitigates the urge that the body produces for the substance.

3. The final part of the resident program, the rehab treatment, can go on for several years. The main aspect of this program is to make the person aware of the repercussions of the addiction and to train them on how to answer the temptations that the substance produces. This could be an extended aftercare program that includes both counseling and maintenance treatment. The maintenance treatment is targeted at keeping the person away from feeling the need for the substance repeatedly. Counseling therapies could include behavioral therapy, motivational therapy, social readjustment, cognitive behavioral therapy and many more depending on the visions of the treatment center.

Throughout the program, the family of the patient would be an important factor, even though the program itself is an isolated form of treatment. There are collective counseling programs for families of all patients at the treatment center at once so that they can meet with each other and share mutual experiences.

Click on addiction treatment program in Alaska to know more about how it functions.

Finding The Effective Treatment For Your Anxiety Disorder

Although anxiety is accepted as being a normal and healthy emotion, some people suffer from intense anxiety, which ends up affecting their lives and causing them to keep away from certain situations that they used to be able to deal without difficulty. If you are suffering from anxiety then you should begin on finding an appropriate and effective method of treatment.

The first thing you need to do is determining the type of anxiety disorder you suffer from. There are five main types of anxiety disorders: generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and social anxiety disorder. Effective treatments for each anxiety disorder are accessible, and new and enhanced treatments are always becoming available.

Non-medication treatments

Once you have found out the type of anxiety that you are suffering from you will be able to find the suitable anxiety disorder treatment. Mild anxiety disorders can often be treated relatively simple with relaxation and breathing techniques. Yoga, for instance, is a great type of exercise that can really help with anxiety and related health conditions. This is definitely something that should be tried prior to more serious forms of anxiety disorder treatment.

If your anxiety is more severe or constant, then therapy or counseling may become the best option. Cognitive behavioral therapy for one has been confirmed to be very effective in the treatment of all types of anxiety disorder. In this therapy you work one on one with an experienced and qualified mental health professional, who will assist you to deal with your fears in a safe and controlled environment. Over time you will be able to find out the root of your anxiety and from there work towards developing a treatment plan that will lead you to your normal life.

You can also select an anxiety disorder treatment plan that involves natural and herbal treatments. Herbal remedies such as valerian root and kava kava have over and over again proven to be effective at treating anxiety disorders and depression. You do need to keep in mind that just because these herbal remedies are natural it does not indicate that you do not still have to be careful. If taken inappropriately, these remedies can actually worsen your anxiety.

Hypnotherapy, biofeedback, and acupuncture are other options for anxiety disorder treatment. In order to determine which one is going to work best for you, you need to talk to your doctor. You may need to try a few different methods before you find the one that works best for you and your particular anxiety condition.

Medications for anxiety disorder

Generally, most treatments for anxiety disorders include at least one prescription medication. If you start taking medication as a treatment for anxiety disorder, it is important to understand that this should not be a long-term solution and you should keep working with a certified mental health professional in order to determine the root cause of your anxiety.

There are several common medications for anxiety disorder and one of them is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Serotonin is known as the brain’s all-natural happy drug. Scientists believe that a lack of serotonin is the source of depression, anxiety, and panic attacks and therefore the purpose of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors is to increase the levels of serotonin in the brain. Some familiar brands that use selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are Prozac and Zoloft.

Benzodiazepines are another choice of medication, which act like minor tranquilizers. They decelerate the body’s nervous system, giving it an all-over calm. These types of medications can be addictive, so they should only be taken as prescribed. Some well-known brand names are Xanax and Valium.

Another medication that is used to treat anxiety disorder is antidepressants, which affect the neurotransmitters in the brain. Effexor is a good example of this type of anxiety disorder medication. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are very strong antidepressant drugs that should only be taken as a last resort after all other treatments have been tried. These drugs can be lethal when combined with certain other drugs and foods. One thing that need to be noted, anyone who takes antidepressants may become more susceptible to suicide, especially when they first begin to take them or when the dosage is changed.

Last important remark

Taking time to find the right treatment for your anxiety disorder is going to be vital to your success and you are going to want to work with a professional, especially if you have little knowledge on anxiety disorders in general. Remember that treatment for anxiety disorder is as different as the individuals who use them, and what works well for one person may not be effective for you. You may find relief from various sources of treatment including medication, therapy, self-help, alternative medicine or another form of treatment, and it may take some time and some trial and error in order to discover what works best for you.

One thing to remember is that support from family and friends are also very important. Many communities have organized support groups for people with different difficulties and you should be able to find a support group dedicated to anxiety disorder. These groups are typically made up of people with similar problems. Most patients find it reassuring to realize that they are not alone. Others in the group will be able to share advices, failures, and successes.

Cindy Heller is a professional writer. Visit pet insurance plan to learn more about pet health insurance marketing plan and florida pet health insurance.

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