37th - Offering Hope to the Emotionally Depressed Norbert...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Offering Hope to the Emotionally Depressed Norbert R. Myslinski Based on advances in our understanding of the brain and its response to stress, promising new therapies for depressive disorders are on the horizon. Life is an adventure, with many ups and downs. At times, we accomplish our objectives and gain various benefits and comforts; at other times, we stumble and fall, or the course of events puts us in difficult situations. Accordingly, our mood oscillates between joy and sorrow, elation and dejection. Many people, however, find themselves stuck in a prolonged state of depression. Unable to shake off their gloomy feelings, they lose interest in activities they once enjoyed, and they no longer function normally. Moreover, their physical health declines, and their relationships with family and friends are adversely affected. They are suffering from clinical depression--a serious mood disorder, not a passing phase of feeling "blue." Clinical depression can occur in several forms. The three main types are known as major depression (or unipolar depression), dysthymia, and bipolar disorder (or manic depression). Taken together, they appear to be the most common group of mental health problems in the world, affecting people of every race, culture, and ethnicity. While a small percentage of children are affected, the elderly are much more vulnerable. It has been estimated that more than 20 million people in the United States suffer from depressive mood disorders. The cost in terms of lost productivity and medical care runs into tens of billions of dollars per year. Symptoms and causes Major depression is a disabling condition that severely hampers the patient's abilities of working, eating, sleeping, and relating to others. Each episode lasts two or more weeks, and most patients go through cycles of remissions and relapses. Symptoms of major depression include feelings of sadness, despair, and anxiety, as well as problems of fatigue, forgetfulness, and loss of concentration. The affected person may gain or lose a significant amount of weight, sleep too much or too little, and lose his ability to experience pleasure. This type of depression is also associated with suicides and increased risk of death. Different patients suffer from different combinations of these symptoms, and the level of severity varies from patient to patient and one episode to the next. Dysthymia is a milder form of depression that does not disable the affected individual, but the symptoms are chronic and persist for two or more years. A patient with dysthymia may occasionally suffer from episodes of major depression as well.
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Bipolar disorder is an illness in which the patient alternates between mania and depression. A manic episode is characterized by a number of symptoms, including feelings of elation and high energy, increased talkativeness, and a heightened sexual drive. In some cases, the affected individual is unusually irritable and behaves inappropriately in social settings. Here again, the symptoms and their severity vary from
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 02/26/2012 for the course PSYCH 1101 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '08 term at Columbia.

Page1 / 6

37th - Offering Hope to the Emotionally Depressed Norbert...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online