An in-depth report on the causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of depression.
What Is Depression?
Depression is a mood disorder in which overwhelming feelings of sadness, loss of pleasure, guilt, and hopelessness interfere with daily life. People with depression also suffer from sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, fatigue and low energy, changes in appetite, and recurring thoughts of death or suicide.
In medical terms, depression is also referred to as major depression, major depressive disorder, or clinical depression.
American Psychiatric Association Treatment Guidelines
The American Psychiatric Association's guidelines for the treatment of patients with major depressive disorder include:
- Exercise and other healthy behaviors (good nutrition, sleep hygiene, reducing use of tobacco, alcohol, and other harmful substances) are recommended for helping improve mood symptoms.
- Drug treatment is recommended for patients who are at risk for recurrent depression. Antidepressants are the main drugs used to treat depression.
- Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be helpful for patients with treatment-resistant depression, particularly for patients who have not responded to medication. Transcranial magnetic stimulation and vagus nerve stimulation are also possible options. Researchers are studying new types of brain stimulation treatments for depression.