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Depression: Isn’t it really just the blues?

 

What is depression?

DepressionDepression is a very serious illness that attacks both the mind and the body. Depression can result in very serious impairment in work, social, and bodily functioning. It frequently is manifested in a multitude of physical symptoms, thoughts and moods. It affects the way you eat, sleep, and the way you feel about yourself. Depression is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be “willed away“. You cannot “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” and cause depression to go away. In most people however, depression can be treated successfully. Current research indicates that approximately 80% to 90% of individuals with depression can be successfully treated within one year of initiating treatment.

Depression: How is it different from the blues?

Depression is significantly different from the blues. Unlike grief or passing sadness, depression usually does not change in relation to your circumstances. It does not dissipate with time and may last for months or even years if left untreated. It frequently results in a disruption of relationships, professional productivity, disability or death.

 

An important essential distinction between depression and the blues, is that depression is an illness while the blues are normal reactions to life situations. Symptoms of depression include multiple moods, thoughts, and bodily functions, whereas the blues is composed of a single state of being in a low mood. The duration is also significantly different in that depression may persist for months, years or even decades without remission, whereas the blues are usually temporary and situational. Depression may result in suicide whereas the blues rarely produce any thoughts of harming yourself. Depression usually requires specific medical or psychiatric treatment, whereas the blues may merely require a good listener and/or time to heal the source of the sadness or grief.

What are the primary treatments for depression?

Depression is usually treated with medications, psychotherapy or a combination of the two. Medications continue to improve with some of the newer antidepressants such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa and Effexor being frequently used to effectively treat depression. These medications primarily affect the biochemistry of the brain, by having an effect on certain nerve cells, which are involved in many of the physiological processes associated with eating, sleeping, and the regulation of moods. Fortunately, they also have less side effects then the antidepressants which preceded them. Depression is frequently treated with antidepressants, whereas the blues only occasionally need the intervention of medications.

Psychotherapy or counseling is also frequently effectively used in the treatment depression. Current research indicates that some types of counseling such as cognitive behavioral therapy may be as effective as medications, and more effective in the long-term, with less probability of relapse. Counseling also may be effective for people who are experiencing the blues by helping them to ventilate feelings, solve problems and to develop rational ways of thinking about their temporary difficulties which may be causing them to feel down.

Information and webpage by Paul Susic  Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist  (Health and Geriatric Psychologist

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Mental Health Diagnosis - DSM-IV Diagnosis and Codes: In Alphabetical Order

Psychiatric Medication

Celexa 

Effexor

 Elavil

Lexapro

Luvox

Pamelor

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