Depressive Disorders

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Depression has many possible causes, and often it is a combination of factors that will lead to a depression.

Major depressive disorders have many different sides to it

Depressive disorders are not only characterized by mood changes such as sadness, hopelessness and low spirits, but also by a reduced drive or an irritated biorhythm. Mood, drive and biorhythm of a person are often affected at the same time. The typical physical symptoms caused by a depression are constipation, mouth dryness, upper abdominal pain, pressure in the breast area or dizziness and often occur in episodes. In case of unipolar depression, depression-free periods alternate with depressive phases, whereas a patient suffering from a manic depressive disorder additionally experiences phases of excessively elevated mood and irrepressible zest for action.  

Depression can affect everyone

There are many factors that can contribute to the development of depressive disorders. Usually, it is not a single factor but a combination of causes that trigger a depression. Some potential factors are a lack of sunshine during a certain time of the year, a physical illness or a traumatic life event such as the death of a close person. These causes can lead to an imbalance of certain messenger substances within the body and to changes in the brain. Even minor changes of these messengers can lead to clinically detectable depressive symptoms.

Depression is a widespread disease

About 800.000 people in Austria suffer from depression, whereas women are more often affected than men. Depression in men is often not diagnosed as men typically show different kinds of symptoms. The WHO predicts that within 20 years, depression will be the most frequent disease following cancer and cardiovascular diseases. In this context, it is a problem that depression is often underestimated and that many affected people do not seek help. Depression can be a life threatening disease, as persons suffering from depression often have suicidal thoughts and about half of the people showing severe depressive symptoms attempt suicide.

Depression is a widespread disease

About 800.000 people in Austria suffer from depression, whereas women are more often affected than men. Depression in men is often not diagnosed as men typically show different kinds of symptoms. The WHO predicts that within 20 years, depression will be the most frequent disease following cancer and cardiovascular diseases. In this context, it is a problem that depression is often underestimated and that many affected people do not seek help. Depression can be a life threatening disease, as persons suffering from depression often have suicidal thoughts and about half of the people showing severe depressive symptoms attempt suicide.

Depression can be treated

The key factors in the therapy of depressive disorders are antidepressant medication and psychotherapy. If possible, both therapies should be combined and applied simultaneously. Antidepressants promote the signal transmission between nerve cells in the brain and thereby restore the balance of the messenger substances that has been disrupted by the depression. There is no risk of becoming addicted to antidepressants or of experiencing a change of personality caused by the drug. The medication helps affected persons to handle everyday worries and to see their situation less pessimistically.

Further information: Österreichisches Bündnis gegen Depression    

References: Österreichisches Bündnis gegen Depression: http://www.buendnis-depression.at/Startseite.134.0.html; ORF on Science: http://sciencev1.orf.at/science/news/9703