Major depression can be a silent killer. When untreated, it can lead to major changes in a person’s life, including the loss of employment, a lack of love in the relationship, and the inability to enjoy most activities of daily living.
Major depression can sometimes happen in families with a history of the disorder, but more often it can affect individuals without such a history. In some cases, a doctor diagnosed with major depression may fail to provide treatment or advice on the best course of action for treatment.
If left untreated major depression can eventually lead to an emotional breakdown and the diagnosis of bipolar disorder can follow.
The symptoms of major depression include
- Constant feelings of sadness and worthlessness
- A decrease in energy and motivation
- Difficulty making friends and maintaining friendships
- Sleep disturbance
- Poor appetite or weight gain
These feelings tend to lead to severe episodes of depression that disrupt the patient’s daily life. Left untreated, the symptoms of a depressive disorder can lead to substance abuse and suicide attempts.
An important thing to remember is that major depressive disorder (MDD) is not always an appropriate diagnosis for each person. If you have any of these symptoms but are not experiencing major depressive disorder (MDD), you should consult with a mental health professional.
Bipolar disorder is another name for major depression
Because it has manic episodes, hypomania, and mixed episodes, patients with bipolar disorder experience variations in their mood. These mood swings are often unexpected and tend to be worse than those experienced by patients with depression. When left untreated bipolar disorder can lead to substance abuse and suicide attempts.
There are other symptoms of psychotic depression. This is a type of depressive disorder in which the patient experiences hallucinations and can cause delusions.
People with psychotic depression do not believe they are depressed. A common symptom is a belief that others are harming them, the police are trying to get them, or they are having a heart attack.
Patients with this condition should seek immediate help from a psychiatrist. Medications that are used to treat psychotic depression tend to be anti-psychotic and anti-depressants.
Another set of symptoms that can occur along with major depression are sleep disorders
Patients who suffer from sleeping disorders may experience insomnia, extreme tiredness, and can have restless sleep patterns. Insomnia is a common issue when dealing with depressive issues as it affects the quality of life.
Your doctor may suggest electroconvulsive therapy, it is often a last resort for treating depressive disorder. While it does have side effects similar to other forms of treatment, it does have some benefits.
While using ECT, or electroconvulsive therapy, the patient undergoes several sessions where electrical shocks are delivered to their body. This shock can make the patient feel disoriented and confused.
This disorientation can cause the patient to lose feeling in parts of their body that previously felt strong. The use of ECT is most often used in people who experience a lack of serotonin in their brain.
Another form of treatment for major depressive disorder is provided through a combination of psychological therapy and prescription medications.
Anti-depressant medications like Prozac, Celexa, and Zoloft are often prescribed to help those who suffer from this condition. Often these medications are used to treat not only the symptoms of depression but also the root cause of the disorder.
Many patients find that these drugs are very helpful in decreasing the amount of time that they are suffering from depression. It is important that anyone who is considering any type of treatment talk to their doctor and get an evaluation for depression before proceeding.
While there are many different treatments available for those who suffer from depression, there are some signs of depression that you should look for. Some of these include:
- Depressed mood
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in sleeping habits (difficulties getting to sleep and staying asleep)
- Change in bowel habits (constipation, diarrhea, or constipation
- Changes in eating habits or self-starvation)
- Decreased sex drive
- Suicidal thoughts
There is not yet research that proves all of these signs, but if you or someone you know exhibits one or more of them it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
Being without proper care can lead to serious health problems down the road such as organ damage or diabetes. Depression is a serious illness and if left untreated, can lead to even more devastating consequences.
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