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Depression is a psychiatric disorder characterized by a persistent feeling of sadness, depressed mood, and loss of interest in various activities, causing significant daily life impairment.
People can generally be sad after an adverse event happened in their lives, such as losing a job or a loved one but will recover from the event. Depression is a persistent feeling of sadness that lasts about two weeks. The feeling of depression must be accompanied by five or more of the most common symptoms of depression: a change in appetite, losing or gaining weight, sleeping too much, insomnia, fatigue, low energy, feeling helpless, inability to focus, or even suicidal ideation. These symptoms must cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important functioning areas. Besides, the individual must not have any history of a manic or hypomanic episode.
Scientists believe that depression is a connective abnormality in the cortico-limbic network. There is an imbalance of connectivity between the prefrontal cortex and one or all of the brain’s limbic regions: hippocampus, amygdala, and hypothalamus. It seems like that under depression; the volume of the hippocampus decreases. There are three neurotransmitters responsible for these neuro-connections between the cortical region and the limbic regions. These neurotransmitters are dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.
It is important to note that serotonin is the primary neurotransmitter regulating communication between the prefrontal region and the limbic region. In addition, serotonin also regulates the mood and the level of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. It is believed that depletion of these neurotransmitters is the cause of depression. Several other factors can contribute to depression, such as physical health issues, including cancer, a recent loss of limb, certain medications such as cortical steroid, oral contraceptive, family history of depression, environmental factors, and stress. Stress, for example, increases the cortisol level, which may decrease serotonin level.
At this time, no unitary mechanism of depressant action has been found. The relationship among serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, acetylcholine needs further assessment and study. However, treatment with medication that helps regulate these neurotransmitters has proved empirically successful in treating many patients.
McCance, K. L., & Huether, S. E. (2019). Pathophysiology: The biologic basis for disease in adults and children (8th ed.). Elsevier, Inc.
Varcarolis, E. M., Shoemaker, N. C., & Carson, V. B. (2006). Foundations of psychiatric mental health nursing : a clinical approach (5th ed.). Elsevier Saunders.
Depression is a life-threatening, severe disorder that affects over a million people all over the world. Despite what many stereotypes, it is not caused by stress; this disorder can affect anyone from children to adults in their late years (Gregor, 2018).
Depression costs society a lot as it causes distress, and if ignored over time, it can be fatal, even leading to death. The psychopathological state involves symptoms like low mood, distract from other people, and loss of energy or fatigue. Low self-esteem, suicidal tendencies, guilt, and even lack of sleep or insomnia are present symptoms. Depression is no small matter. It is very complex and constitutes different subtypes and more than one etiology (Gregor, 2018).
There is much evidence showing that family and genetics play a significant role in the etiology of depression. Over 80% of cases of chronic depression are hereditary. Even though that is the case, most of the genes do not necessarily lead to the disorder as they are not strong enough to act alone to lead to the disease’s susceptibility. Even after the likelihood of inheritance, the influence of genes in unipolar disorder is less evident than a bipolar disorder (Gregor, 2018).
Depending upon the sickness’s seriousness, depression essentially influences both the actual wellbeing and the personal satisfaction of affected people (Nemeroff, 2020).
It brings about adverse effects on working with the end goal that influenced people who cannot satisfy their social capacities and family works (Gregor, 2018).
By far, most of the exploration attempted on gloom and its relationship with different illnesses (particularly ongoing ailments) recommends that downturn increments both the danger of advancing various sicknesses and demolishing the forecast and building mortality (Nemeroff, 2020).
Despite research in neurophysiology and neuropsychiatry expanding the comprehension of the pathophysiology of depression, the exact mechanism(s) by which discouragement is created is fragmented. This is halfway because a downturn is a heterogeneous problem with a perplexing marvel and various likely etiologies (Gregor, 2018).
Gregor, H. (2018). Pathophysiology of depression: do we have any solid evidence of interest to clinicians? World psychiatry: official journal of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20975857/.
Nemeroff, C. B. (2020). The state of our understanding of the pathophysiology and optimal treatment of depression: Glass half full or half empty?. American Journal of Psychiatry, 177(8), 671-685.