Depression – a compendium of knowledge. Causes, symptoms, treatment

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Depression – what is it?

It is a group of mood (affective) and activity disorders. Due to the fact that it lasts even several months, it leads to impaired functioning in everyday life. Over time, it causes exhaustion of the body through the feeling of sadness and a lack of willingness to live. Depression is a disease that requires a very individual approach to the patient.

Depending on the prevalence of a given type of symptoms or the period of life in which depressive disorders occur, the following types of depression are distinguished:

  • anxiety depression – accompanied by a strong feeling of anxiety, great pessimism, nervousness, decreased self-esteem and excessive guilt; is associated with a high risk of suicide;
  • delusional depression – symptoms associated with lowering self-esteem and negative perception of the future reach the form of delusions; the sick torment themselves, do not trust their loved ones and have catastrophic visions;
  • depression with inhibition – patients have a frozen, suffering expression on their face, do not undertake any activity or verbal contact; the disease requires hospitalization;
  • hypochondriac depression – patients are accompanied by a false belief that they are in poor health; list symptoms that are not confirmed in diagnosis;
  • dysthymia – chronic depressed mood that lasts more than 2 years; sick people suffer from sadness, fatigue, and a feeling of being unable to cope most of the time;
  • bipolar disorder – depressive states are divided by periods of mania, when the patient experiences a race of thoughts accompanied by gossiping, too high an opinion of himself, as well as impaired assessment of the situation, sleep disturbances and problems with concentration;
  • atypical depression – its characteristic features are increased appetite and excessive sleepiness, accompanied by a significant deterioration of mood, loss of self-confidence and anxiety; symptom relief in the afternoon or evening and sleep disturbances in the second half of the night are characteristic;
  • winter depression – due to the decrease in insolation, sick people suffer from reduced energy to life, excessive sleepiness with deterioration of sleep quality and an increase in appetite;
  • postpartum depression – it is based on hormonal changes in the body of a young mother and the huge responsibility associated with the newborn baby; women feel that they are improperly caring for their baby, are worried about its health and, at the same time, do not feel connected with the baby; people suffering from this type of depression experience constant fatigue, and sometimes there is also pain in the breasts and abdomen.

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Depression – characteristic symptoms

The clinical picture of this mental disorder consists of many symptoms. Nevertheless, to diagnose depression, at least one of the two criteria must be met, which lasts for a minimum of 2 weeks every day for most of the day:

depressed mood, defined by patients as a state of sadness and hopelessness, but sometimes apathy or irritability may appear,

decrease in interest in everyday activities, including lack of concern for hygiene or clothing.

For the complete picture of the disease in patients with depression, other symptoms are additionally looked for, e.g. lack of humor, feeling unwell, loss of interests, inability to experience pleasure (anhedonia), constant fatigue and lack of energy.

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People with depression also have at least two of the following additional symptoms:

  •     trouble sleeping, incl. early morning wake up,
  •     a drop in mood or changes in mood during the day
  •     low self-esteem,
  •     decrease in concentration,
  •     lack of appetite and weight loss,
  •     black thoughts and pessimism,
  •     thoughts of death.


A sick person who has not received appropriate pharmacological treatment is also characterized by a specific appearance, e.g. avoids eye contact, his eyes blink less often than usual, usually a limited number of movements, general neglect, lack of care for hygiene and clothing are observed. Speech-related disorders also appear. Patients express themselves in a slow manner with clearly marked pauses, in addition, a lack of spontaneous speech can be noticed.

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