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Schizophrenia is a serious and chronic mental disorder. Schizophrenia may cause a combination of hallucinations, delusions, and extremely disturbed thinking and behaviors that interfere with daily functioning.

It affects the way a person thinks, acts, expresses their emotions, sees realities and interacts with others. Although schizophrenia is not as common as other major mental illnesses, it can be extremely disabling. Mental illnesses In Telfair

Mental illnesses in Telfair

Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:
• Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness
• Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
• Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports
• Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
• Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort
• Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain
• Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
• Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
• Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame
• Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
• Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
• Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
• Thoughts of death or suicide

“Even depression is curable.”

Symptoms must last at least two weeks and must represent a change in your previous level of functioning. Medical conditions (e.g., thyroid problems, a brain tumor or vitamin deficiency) can mimic symptoms of depression so it is important to rule out general medical causes.

Depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults (6.7%) in any given year. Depression can occur at any time, but on average, first appears during the late teens to mid-20s. Women are more likely than men to experience depression. There is a high degree of heritability (approximately 40%) when first-degree relatives (parents/children/siblings) have depression. Mental illnesses In Telfair

Depression is different from sadness/grief and being sad is not the same as having depression. Grief and depression can co-exist For some people, the death of a loved one, losing a job or being a victim of a physical assault or a major disaster can lead to depression.

When grief and depression co-occur, the grief is more severe and lasts longer than grief without depression. Distinguishing between grief and depression is important and can assist people in getting the help, support or treatment they need.

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Risk Factors for Depression

Depression can affect anyone —even a person who appears to live in relatively ideal circumstances. Several factors can play a role in depression:
Biochemistry: Differences in certain chemicals in the brain may contribute to symptoms of depression.
Genetics: Depression can run in families. For example, if one identical twin has depression, the other has a 70 percent chance of having the illness sometime in life. Mental illnesses In Telfair
Personality: People with low self-esteem, who are easily overwhelmed by stress, or who are generally pessimistic appear to be more likely to experience depression.
Environmental factors: Continuous exposure to violence, neglect, abuse or poverty may make some people more vulnerable to depression. Mental illnesses In Telfair

Depression causes

There are several possible causes of depression. They can range from biological to circumstantial which includes:

  • Brain chemistry. There may be a chemical imbalance in parts of the brain that manage mood, thoughts, sleep, appetite, and behavior in people who have depression.
  • Hormone levels. Changes in female hormones estrogen and progesterone during different periods of time like during the menstrual cycle, postpartum period, perimenopause, or menopause may all raise a person’s risk for depression. Mental illnesses In Telfair
  • Family history. You’re at a higher risk for developing depression if you have a family history of depression or another mood disorder.
  • Early childhood trauma. Some events affect the way your body reacts to fear and stressful situations.
  • Brain structure. There’s a greater risk for depression if the frontal lobe of your brain is less active. However, scientists don’t know if this happens before or after the onset of depressive symptoms.
  • Medical conditions. Certain conditions may put you at higher risk, such as chronic illness, insomnia, chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, heart attack, and cancer.
  • Substance use. A history of substance or alcohol misuse can increase the risk of depression.
  • People who feel emotional or chronic physical pain for long periods of time are significantly more likely to develop depression. Mental illnesses In Telfair

How Is Depression Treated?

Depression is among the most treatable of mental disorders. Between 80% and 90% percent of people with depression eventually respond well to treatment. Almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms.

A health professional should conduct a thorough diagnostic evaluation, including an interview and a physical examination. In some cases, a blood test might be done to make sure the depression is not due to a medical condition like a thyroid problem or a vitamin deficiency.

The evaluation will identify specific symptoms and explore medical and family histories as well as cultural and environmental factors with the goal of arriving at a diagnosis and planning a course of action. Mental illnesses In Telfair

It’s common to combine medical treatments and lifestyle therapies, including the following:

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Brain chemistry may contribute to an individual’s depression and may factor into their treatment. For this reason, antidepressants might be prescribed to help modify one’s brain chemistry. Generally antidepressant medications have no stimulating effect on people not experiencing depression.

Psychiatrists usually recommend that patients continue to take medication for six or more months after the symptoms have improved. Longer-term maintenance treatment may be suggested to decrease the risk of future episodes for certain people at high risk. Mental illnesses In Telfair


Speaking with a therapist can help you learn skills to cope with negative feelings. You may also benefit from family or group therapy sessions. Psychotherapy, also known as “talk therapy,” is when a person speaks to a trained therapist to identify and learn to cope with the factors that contribute to their mental health condition, such as depression. Mental illnesses In Telfair

Psychotherapy has been shown to be an effective treatment in improving symptoms in people with depression and other psychiatric disorders. Psychotherapy is often used alongside pharmaceutical treatment. There are many different types of psychotherapy, and some people respond better to one type than another.

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Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) uses electrical currents to induce a seizure, and has been shown to help people with clinical depression. It’s used in people with severe depression or depression that is resistant to other treatments or antidepressant medications. During an ECT procedure, you’ll receive an anesthetic agent which will put you to sleep for approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Mental illnesses In Telfair

Your healthcare professional will place cardiac monitoring pads on your chest and four electrodes on specific areas of your head. They will then deliver short electrical pulses for a few seconds. You will neither convulse nor feel the electrical current and will awaken about 5 to 10 minutes after treatment.

Side effects include headaches, nausea, muscle aches and soreness, and confusion or disorientation.Patients may also develop memory problems, but these usually reside in the weeks and months after treatment.

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Alternative therapies

Self-help and Coping- There are a number of things people can do to help reduce the symptoms of depression. For many people, regular exercise helps create positive feeling and improves mood. Getting enough quality sleep on a regular basis, eating a healthy diet and avoiding alcohol (a depressant) can also help reduce symptoms of depression. Mental illnesses In Telfair

If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, a first step is to see your family physician or psychiatrist. Talk about your concerns and request a thorough evaluation. This is a start to addressing your mental health needs.

Related Conditions

  • Peripartum depression (previously postpartum depression)
  • Seasonal depression (Also called seasonal affective disorder)
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Persistent depressive disorder (previously dysthymia)
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
  • Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder

Natural remedies and lifestyle tips-

  • Exercise
  • Avoid alcohol and substance use
  • Learn how to set limits in daily schedule
  • Take care of yourself- You can also improve symptoms of depression by taking care of yourself. This includes getting plenty of sleep, eating a healthy diet, avoiding negative people, and participating in enjoyable activities.
  • Supplements like S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe), 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)
  • Vitamins
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Acupuncture- Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that may help ease some symptoms of depression. During acupuncture, a practitioner uses needles to stimulate certain areas in the body in order to treat a range of conditions.

Depression test

There isn’t a single test to diagnose depression. But your healthcare provider can make a diagnosis based on your symptoms and a psychological evaluation. In most cases, they’ll ask a series of questions about your:

  • Mood
  • Appetite
  • Sleep pattern
  • Activity level
  • Thoughts

It’s important not to ignore symptoms of depression. If your mood doesn’t improve or gets worse, seek medical help. Depression is a serious mental health illness with the potential for complications. If left untreated, complications can include:

  • Weight gain or loss
  • Physical pain
  • Substance use disorder
  • Panic attacks
  • Relationship problems
  • Social isolation
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Self-harm

Types of Depression

Depression can be broken into categories depending on the severity of symptoms. Some people experience mild and temporary episodes, while others experience severe and ongoing depressive episodes.

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Persistent depressive disorder
  • Postpartum depression
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Depression with psychosis
  • Depression in pregnancy
  • Depression and alcohol

Preventing depression

Depression isn’t generally considered to be preventable. It’s hard to recognize what causes it, which means preventing it is more difficult. But once you’ve experienced a depressive episode, you may be better prepared to prevent a future episode by learning which lifestyle changes and treatments are helpful. Techniques that may help include:

  • Regular exercise
  • Getting plenty of sleep
  • Maintaining treatments
  • Reducing stress
  • Building strong relationships with others

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