What is depression?

We explain what depression is, the types that exist and their main causes. In addition, its symptoms and what is chronic depression.

  1. What is depression?

Depression is a temporary or permanent psychic ailment,  characterized by deep feelings of despondency, unhappiness and guilt , as well as inability to enjoy and often episodes of anxiety . It can occur in response to an external stimulus and be temporary, but leave a deep mark on the individual; or it can become a disorder and become chronic, in which case it requires psychiatric treatment.

In reality, depression is a set of emotional and psychic conditions, which can have different causes of biological (hormonal, neurochemical, genetic) social (experiential, loving) and / or psychological (emotional, traumatic). Any age is susceptible to it , although it is usually more frequent in women than in men and usually manifests itself in young adults.

The main types of depression are the following:

  • Major depressive disorder . It appears only once, without being associated with traumatic events or consumption of psychotropic substances, and has a particular impact on the patient’s life. It is usually an intense emotional event.
  • Disorder  , dysthymic . Also known as dysthymia, it is believed to be of genetic-hereditary origin and consists of more spaced, mild but prolonged episodes of depression.
  • Cyclothymic disorder . Also called cyclothymia, it is considered a mild form of bipolar disorder, since it consists of moderate episodes of depression that alternate with periods of hypomania (high mood and energy).
  • Seasonal affective disorder . It is a type of moderate depression that is usually associated with certain periods of the year, such as certain weather seasons.
  • Bipolar depression . Part of bipolar disorder or bipolarity, it is a mental illness that causes the patient to oscillate between intense periods of mania (euphoria, hypersexuality, irritability) and others of depression (sadness, apathy, disinterest) with little or no transition time between one and other.

Treatment of this disease may vary depending on the case , but it often involves treatment with antidepressants and / or anxiolytics, as well as spoken therapy or psychotherapy. In some cases this may mean prolonged and constant work.

  1. Causes of depression

Sleep disorders can lead to times of depression.

Depression has a multifactorial origin. Some factors associated with its appearance are:

  • Particularly  traumatic events  . The loss of a loved one or other personal catastrophes can induce a depressive state from which it is difficult to leave.
  • Genetic tendency . It has been proven that a certain tendency towards depression can be inherited, as are many psychiatric pathologies with which it is associated.
  • Poor diet . A bit pattern healthy food , rich in carbohydrates and sugars but low in essential amino acids and proteins , can lead to depression and abnormal neural responses.
  • Sedentary lifestyle . It is proven that exercise stimulates the production of endorphins, hormones that lift the spirit, so that a life that is too sedentary can make us more prone to depression.
  • Chronic  intake  of substances . Alcohol, tobacco or psychotropic drugs can affect the functioning of the brain in the long or medium term and induce symptoms of depression.
  • Hormonal and metabolic disorders . Diseases of the sugar regulation system or the secretion of regulatory substances in the body may be associated with the onset of depression.
  • Sleep disorders . Prolonged lack of sleep directly affects the functioning of the brain and can lead to times of depression or distress.
  • Lack of vitamin D . There are studies that relate the absence of this vitamin in the body with the appearance of depressive symptoms.
  1. Symptoms of depression

The usual symptoms of depression include the following:

  • Apathy, lack of energy and desire to live.
  • Alterations in the sleep routine.
  • Panic attacks or general feeling of anguish.
  • Absence of sexual desire and / or appetite.
  • General feeling of sadness and vital nonsense.
  • Chronic tiredness
  • Irritability.
  • Digestive problems.
  • Decrease of the immune system .
  1. Endogenous depression

Endogenous depression is called depressive symptoms whose root is in internal affairs of the body , whether hormonal, neuronal, etc. They are thus distinguished from exogenous depressions, that is, those caused by factors or events external to the organism, such as traumatic events, consumption of harmful substances or other factors outside of body biology.

  1. Chronic depression

Chronic depression occurs when symptoms are constant in the patient’s life.

It is known as chronic depression to the one that does not give in to its symptoms in a medium or long term in the patient’s life , thus becoming a more or less constant and prolonged state in his life, or recurring, yielding at times and returning after a while.

  1. Postpartum depression

Known as DPP or Postnatal Depression, postpartum depression is a very unique and exclusive syndrome of women who have given birth. It can occur from the moment of birth until a year later , but it is more frequent in the next three months after birth.

It is distinguished from the so-called  Baby  blues , a form of emotional disorder resulting from the violent hormonal changes that the end of pregnancy causes in the female body, since it does not usually give up quickly and spontaneously.

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