Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home. 2
Depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors2. Risk factors include, Personal or family history of depression; Major life changes, trauma, or stress; Certain physical illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease, and medications3.
Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and other symptoms can include changes in appetite, difficulty sleeping or over sleeping, decreased energy, slowed movements and speech, feeling guilty, cognitive problems and thoughts of death or suicide1，2, symptoms must last at least two weeks for a diagnosis of depression3.
Depression, even the most severe cases, can be treated. The earlier that treatment can begin, the more effective it is. Depression is usually treated with medications psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. If these treatments do not reduce symptoms, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and other brain stimulation therapies may be options to explore. Antidepressants may help improve the way the brain uses certain chemicals that control mood or stress. 3 Antidepressants may produce some improvement within the first week or two of use. Full benefits may not be seen for two to three months. Psychiatrists usually recommend that patients continue to take medication for six or more months after symptoms have improved. 2Evidence-based approaches specific to the treatment of depression include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT), and problem-solving therapy3.
1. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), Fifth edition. 2013.
2. American Psychiatric Association. www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression.
3. National Institute of Mental Health. www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml.
CP-89368 Approved date 2019-5-10