Major Depression

The diagnosis that rocked football

As the most junior of his office's five pathologists, Bennet Omalu had to work weekends. One Saturday in September 2002, he saw on TV that everyone was talking about a great football player who died unexpectedly at age 50: ...

Oct 16, 2015
popularity15 comments 0

Medicine tackles concussions

A few decades ago, when a football player got his "bell rung" with a hard hit to the head, he would shake it off, take smelling salts and return to the game.

Oct 16, 2015
popularity30 comments 0

Divided opinions on vitamin D enrichment

Vitamin D is important for the absorption and metabolism of calcium, as well as for maintaining healthy bones and muscles. Danes generally have too low a level, and this is mainly because the sun - the main source - is absent ...

Oct 26, 2015
popularity12 comments 0

How we became the heaviest drinkers in a century

I first met alcohol in the late 1980s. It was the morning after one of my parents' parties. My sister and I, aged nine or ten, were up alone. We trawled the lounge for abandoned cans. I remember being methodical: pick one ...

Oct 27, 2015
popularity16 comments 0

Renewed hope for the brain-injured

One day soon, people who suffer traumatic injury to their spinal cord and lose the use of their limbs could regain that mobility thanks to a clever workaround: a brain chip that reroutes neural signals around the injured ...

Oct 26, 2015
popularity89 comments 0

Major depressive disorder (MDD) (also known as recurrent depressive disorder, clinical depression, major depression, unipolar depression, or unipolar disorder) is a mental disorder characterized by an all-encompassing low mood accompanied by low self-esteem, and by loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities. This cluster of symptoms (syndrome) was named, described and classified as one of the mood disorders in the 1980 edition of the American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic manual. The term "depression" is ambiguous. It is often used to denote this syndrome but may refer to other mood disorders or to lower mood states lacking clinical significance. Major depressive disorder is a disabling condition that adversely affects a person's family, work or school life, sleeping and eating habits, and general health. In the United States, around 3.4% of people with major depression commit suicide, and up to 60% of people who commit suicide had depression or another mood disorder.

The diagnosis of major depressive disorder is based on the patient's self-reported experiences, behavior reported by relatives or friends, and a mental status examination. There is no laboratory test for major depression, although physicians generally request tests for physical conditions that may cause similar symptoms. If depressive disorder is not detected in the early stages it may result in a slow recovery and affect or worsen the person's physical health. Standardized screening tools such as Major Depression Inventory can be used to detect major depressive disorder. The most common time of onset is between the ages of 20 and 30 years, with a later peak between 30 and 40 years.

Typically, patients are treated with antidepressant medication and, in many cases, also receive psychotherapy or counseling, although the effectiveness of medication for mild or moderate cases is questionable. Hospitalization may be necessary in cases with associated self-neglect or a significant risk of harm to self or others. A minority are treated with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). The course of the disorder varies widely, from one episode lasting weeks to a lifelong disorder with recurrent major depressive episodes. Depressed individuals have shorter life expectancies than those without depression, in part because of greater susceptibility to medical illnesses and suicide. It is unclear whether or not medications affect the risk of suicide. Current and former patients may be stigmatized.

The understanding of the nature and causes of depression has evolved over the centuries, though this understanding is incomplete and has left many aspects of depression as the subject of discussion and research. Proposed causes include psychological, psycho-social, hereditary, evolutionary and biological factors. Certain types of long-term drug use can both cause and worsen depressive symptoms. Psychological treatments are based on theories of personality, interpersonal communication, and learning. Most biological theories focus on the monoamine chemicals serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, which are naturally present in the brain and assist communication between nerve cells.

This text uses material from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA

Latest Spotlight News

New target could eliminate lurking cancer stem cells

Scientists from Trinity College Dublin have identified a novel target that could help to identify 'cancer stem cells' while they are in their inactive state. The scientists could then jolt these cells into action so that ...

How can I tell if she's lying?

Sarcasm, white lies and teasing can be difficult to identify for those with certain disorders – new video inventory developed at McGill may help

Functional human liver cells grown in the lab

In new research appearing in the prestigious journal Nature Biotechnology, an international research team led by The Hebrew University of Jerusalem describes a new technique for growing human hepatocytes in the laboratory. ...

Combination therapy can prevent cytostatic resistance

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have found a new way of preventing resistance to cytostatics used in the treatment of cancers such as medulloblastoma, the most common form of malignant brain tumour in children. The promising ...