The Truth About Depression: a Medical Illness

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The topic I chose for this paper is depression. I chose depression because it is an illness that affects many people today, including myself. It is an important theme in Psychology, and we covered mental illnesses like Schizophrenia before this. Depression is such a huge part of an individual, and it’s interesting to learn about it and understand what could go on through a depressed person’s mind.

The format style I chose for this paper is APA Format, making it 3-5 pages long. I used calibri font in size 12. I organized this paper in 4 sections: my chosen topic for discussion, my writing format, research studies, and my own personal experiences and reflections regarding this topic. Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. It is a condition that can be associated with melancholy, loss of pleasure, loss of energy, difficulties focusing, and suicidal thoughts and actions.

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Symptoms of depression that can range from mild to extreme include:

  • Feeling down or having depressed feelings
  • Loss in interest or pleasure in activities
  • A change in eating habits — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
  • Cannot sleep or sleeping too much
  • No energy or increased fatigue
  • Increase in purposeless physical activity (Like pacing)
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Difficult to concentrate or make decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Being sad is not the same as having depression.

Grief and depression can co-exist, but they are different. Depression is the extreme case. It can affect anyone, and has several different factors that play a role in it: Biochemistry, genetics, personality, and environmental factors. Depression encompasses Major Depressive Disorder and its related mood disorders including bipolar disorder, postpartum depression, post-traumatic stress syndrome, anxiety disorder and suicide. Depression in the United States affects over 18 million adults every single year. It is actually the primary reason why someone dies of suicide about every 13 minutes. Worldwide, it affects over 300 million people yearly, not excluding any gender, race, culture or religion. It is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and tremendously contributes to the overall global burden of disease. Thankfully, it is treatable. Between 80 percent and 90 percent of people with depression eventually respond well to treatment. Treatments include medication, like antidepressants, to modify brain chemistry. Another being psychotherapy, AKA “talking therapy). This can help a person recognize and fix their distorted thinking and help change behavior. ECT stands for electroconvulsive therapy, and is another form of treatment. It is used when a patient is not responding well to other treatments.

It involves a brief electrical stimulation of the brain while the patient is under anesthesia. Other than these treatments, there are many options a depression victim may use to help cope and fix their condition. Exercising may help, or even a healthier diet and lifestyle. I have my own experience with this medical condition known as depression. My junior year of highschool I decided I did not like my body. Whatever I did, it was never good enough. I began to restrict myself from eating over 300 calories a day, and it got worse from there. I was diagnosed with Bulimia that summer. My mom and dad were worried and took me to a therapist. There, I began to gain weight and eat normally. It made me feel gross. I became depressed. I slept all day, I did not have energy to do anything anymore. I would cry every time I looked in the mirror, and all I could think about was how much I hated myself and my life. I had bad thoughts and I wanted them to go away. I was given medication to help me. One of them being Prozac, an antidepressant used for treating depression and anxiety. It began to help me. I also visited a therapist every week to talk about my feelings and negative thoughts that would come and go. I slowly became happier. Today, I still take it along with two similar medications every day, and honestly speaking I still do feel depressed sometimes, but I am getting the help I need and I am getting better. I have the support from my family and friends.

Depression really can affect anyone, and it is so hard to admit that you need help. But it is worth it. If I did not seek help I believe my symptoms would have gotten worse, and I do not know what could have happened. It is so important to be educated on mental/medical illnesses like depression, as it could help you distinguish what you are feeling, and what it is. It can vary between persons, and is different for everybody. It is beneficial to know about it and to be aware of it for yourself and the people around you.

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