Depression is not a new phenomenon. Depression has found portrayal in literature and arts for centuries. In the nineteenth century, doctors started viewing depression as an inherited
weakness of temperament. In the first half of last century, the famous psychiatrist Freud linked the development of depression to guilt and conflict. Last some decades have seen the focus being shifted from the cause of depression to its effect on the afflicted people.
Depression is a multi-faceted problem. The different factors that play role can be genetics, environment, life events, medical conditions,…These are discussed in short below.
People with faulty genes are more likely to get depressed. Having said this, there are cases when people with genetic makeup for depression have not got depressed. Also, there are
cases of people with no such history in the family, and still they have got depressed.
The death of near one can go beyond normal grief and sometimes lead to depression. Other difficult life events, such as when parents divorce, family disputes can trigger depression. Even situation like a long period of unemployment, a financial crisis can lead to depression.
Family and Social Environment
Situations such as poverty, homelessness and disputes in the family can lead to depression. In fact, any negative, stressful, or unhappy family atmosphere can be the cause of depression.
Use of alcohol and some drugs are known to lead to depression.
Some medical conditions can disturb hormone balance and consequently affect mood. Hypothyroidism is known to lead to depression. On being treated for such disorders, depression
also is cured of its own.
Depression needs to be treated by a psychiatrist. The doctor makes a physical examination and reviews medical and psychiatric history and makes a mental status examination.Sometimes
depressive symptoms are caused by a neurological disorder. So neurological examination should be done to make sure that the cause is not neurological. The doctor also asks if there
is any family history of this disorder, as depression can also be genetic. In severe depression, a patient may attempt suicide. Such patients need to be hospitalized till the danger is over.
Each case of depression has to be tackled differently. So the treatment is tailor-made. It also helps to take some help from a psychotherapist. in addition to a psychiatrist.
Antidepressant drugs are also available for fighting depression. These are
* selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
* tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs).