10 May 2009

Depression Facts

Here is some disheartening reading from the online Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders. I regret to say that I think my husband is sliding fast into a full-on depression. I think he started in February and now here we are where its taken over again. Mother's Day was just too much pressure. He fell apart after breakfast because we were running late for church and it was worse and worse all day. He has an appt Tuesday with our pastor and we're expecting the Dr. to call us back any day. So prayers for him to actually make it to the lunch with our pastor would be really really appreciated. Thanks.

"The core symptom of major depression is a sad mood that does not go away. While most people have occasional days when they feel out of sorts, persons with Major Depressive Disorder experience low feelings that build gradually over a period of days or weeks. They are usually not able to "snap out of it" even when something positive happens. In some cases, the symptoms are preceded by an obvious loss or painful event, such as divorce or a death in the family, but the disorder may also appear to begin "out of the blue." People with MDD often appear sad, irritable, and easily moved to tears. They may sleep poorly and complain of vague physical aches and pains; experience sexual difficulties or loss of interest in sex; drop out of social activities; and come across to others as unhappy or lacking in energy. Some people with MDD may deny that they feel depressed, but they lose their enthusiasm for hobbies or work they once found enjoyable and rewarding. Children and adolescents present with many of these same characteristics, but they may often appear easily frustrated and cranky instead of sad. The symptoms of MDD can be summarized as follows:

  • Disturbed mood (sad, hopeless, discouraged, "down in the dumps") during most of the day.
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities.
  • Change in appetite nearly every day, leading either to weight gain or to loss of 5% of body weight. In children, this symptom may appear as a failure to make normal weight gains related to growth.
  • Insomnia(waking in the middle of the night and having difficulty returning to sleep, or waking too early in the morning) or hypersomnia(sleeping much more than normal).
  • Psychomotor retardation (slowed thinking, speech, body movements) or agitation (inability to sit still, hand-wringing, pulling at clothing, skin, or other objects) that is apparent to others.
  • Sense of worthlessness or unreasonable guilt over minor failings.
  • Problems with clear thinking, concentration, and decision-making.
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, or making a suicide attempt.
Major depression is increasingly viewed as a chronic condition for many people. Left untreated, a depressive episode may last four months or longer, regardless of the age of onset. While most people recover fully from a given depressive episode, eventual recurrence is common. Long-term studies of people with MDD indicate that about 60% of patients who have one episode of depression will have a second episode; with each succeeding episode, the chances of a subsequent episode increase. For example, persons having a third episode stand a 90% chance of having a fourth. Between depressive episodes, the patient's mood may return to a nondepressed state (in about two-thirds of the cases) or continue to show some degree of impairment (one-third of cases). Patients who recover only partially between episodes appear to be at especially high risk of recurrence."

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