August 16, 2023 – 11:17 am
From the mental health service of Escuela de Agudos Hospital “Dr. Ramon Madariaga explain what depression is, its symptoms and the importance of providing comprehensive support to patients. In addition, they advise to conduct an appropriate diagnosis and treatment process, accompanied by specialists in this field.
In this context, Romina Boretto, PhD in Psychology from the Mental Health Service of the aforementioned institution, described in detail the characteristics of the depressive picture: “Depression is a mental disorder characterized by low mood and feelings of sadness associated with changes in behavior. , the level of activity and thinking. It is considered to be one of the most common pathologies in primary health care and is a major cause of mental health care and mental health disability.”
In terms of symptoms, the professional mentioned, “The main symptoms of depression are morbid sadness, loss of interest and pleasure, and decreased vitality, limiting activity levels and causing exaggerated fatigue.” In addition, he added that other symptoms may also appear, such as feelings of guilt or inadequacy, irritability, pessimism about the future, thoughts of death or suicide, loss of confidence in oneself or others, decreased concentration and memory, anxiety, impaired sleep. and decreased appetite and libido, among other things.
Why does depression occur?
Boretto’s license explained that, with the exception of some cases of depression associated with organic diseases (Parkinson’s disease, tuberculosis, cancer, etc.), depression is usually caused by the interaction of certain biological factors (hormonal changes, changes in neurotransmitters, cerebral factors such as serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, genetic components, etc.), with psychosocial factors (stressful circumstances in affective, work or personal life) and personality.
Depression can be divided into 3 types:
- Major depression is more biological in origin, with a greater genetic component and less influence from external factors. It can appear periodically and in some cases has a certain connection with the season of the year.
- On the contrary, there is reactive depression caused by poor adaptation to stressful environmental conditions.
- Dysthymia, characterized by a depressive picture of less intensity than the previous ones, of a chronic course (more than two years), without asymptomatic periods and with a sense of incapacity and somatizations.
- Depression “in a mask”which, instead of manifesting the above symptoms, manifests itself as an organic discomfort – somatization – or changes in behavior.
The professional added that “being sadder or in the lowest mood at a certain point is not enough for a diagnosis of depression.” This requires that the intensity of the symptoms, their duration (at least 2 weeks) and the disability they cause are significant enough to affect the person’s normal or adequate functioning.
Differences between sad and depressive pictures
It is important to distinguish between sadness and morbid depression in several ways:
- In depression, there is always low self-esteem and personal grief; in sorrow one continues to love oneself.
- Depression is dominated by a sense of self-destruction; not in sadness
- The depressed person seeks isolation and affective loneliness; a sad person remains connected to his surroundings.
- With depression, a person has a bad mood that affects all areas of his life (social, sexual, work, family); in sadness, although the working capacity is somewhat reduced, the person continues his activity.
- Depression lasts for months, years; sadness usually does not last one to two weeks.
In this sense, in connection with the above, he emphasized that “it is of fundamental importance to conduct an appropriate diagnostic process; First of all, we conduct introductory interviews with an interdisciplinary team consisting of a psychiatrist and a psychologist; then ongoing cases of diagnostic evaluation; and when the psychopathological picture is determined, the treatment to be followed is determined, which may be psychotherapeutic, psychopharmacological, or a combination of these depending on the subtype of depression the person is going through.”