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Depression, variously called Melancholia, Depressive reaction or Neurosis and major depressive disorder, has been a major cause of disability and suicide through history, and is the most common mental disorder and the leading psychiatric complaint prompting medical consultation in most series.

Quote:The term has been variously used throughout medical history, at times referring to low mood and diminished energy, at other times to various mood disorders now separated diagnostically and most recently to a syndrome of low mood, diminished self-esteem and loss of interest in former pursuits and activities.


The manifestations of major depressive disorder are multiple and pervasive, and its effect on life function and quality of life is comparable to that of diabetes.
The chief characteristic of a major depressive episode is : low mood, with anhedonia or inability to derive pleasure from formerly enjoyable activities and pursuits.
  • Rumination over feelings and thoughts of regret, hopelessness, helplessness and unworthiness are common, as are preoccupation with guilt and self-deprecation.
  • Depressive symptoms may be accompanied by symptoms of psychosis, particularly self-deprecating or –accusatory delusions or less common frightening or menacing hallucinations.
  • Psychotic depressive episodes or major depression of the melancholic type are often associated with impaired concentration and memory, while social withdrawal, abandonment of former activities, decreased sex drive and interest and preoccupation with death or thoughts of suicide are common.
  • Sleep disturbance is almost universal, usually early awakening with inability to get back to sleep but also hypersomnolence.
  • Multiple physical complaints, chiefly digestive ones or related to headache or fatigue, are common, and in developing countries these are the most common presenting symptoms of depression.
  • Decreased appetite and weight loss are more common than increased appetite and weight gain, and recent cognitive symptoms such as forgetfulness and motor symptoms such as slowness are described, particularly in older depressed individuals.
  • Either agitated or lethargic behavior may be reported by caregivers of older patients, in whom coexistent physical disorders such as cardiovascular disease, stroke or Parkinson’s disease are more common.
Quote:Mood may be irritable rather than depressed in children, and personality change, inattention and decreased cognitive performance in school may predominate over depressive feelings.
Teens today are a the most common victims of depression. While stress levels in high school and college lives has almost doubled over the past few decades, no proper steps have been integrated yet into the education systems of most countries to deal with this. A place as simple as a Counsellor's office where a physician or better a specialist is available during the working hours can be introduced as a compulsion in every school and college. However most cases of teen depression go unseen. On one hand the suicide rates of teens, specially undergoing a continuous education is ever increasing while on the other hand the causes for it have increased too. this double trouble is adversely affecting our youth and causing loss to mankind. Meditation, focus on a happy life than a material life and various other core metaphysical concepts should be imbued in the young minds to help them deal with this.
you need to be on god side agree with good and automatically pray.
Interesting topic, Miles. I actually think one of the worst forms of depression would be something new mothers may experience: Postpartum Depression (PPD for short).

It affects roughly 15% of all women after they give birth (, and while other people with depression in general (e.g. men, menopausal females, or teenagers) can always turn to medication to ease their condition, for new mothers it's not as simple.

For example, the Mayo Clinic says that, “If you're breast-feeding, any medication you take will enter your breast milk. However, some antidepressants can be used during breast-feeding with little risk of side effects for your baby. Work with your doctor to weigh the potential risks and benefits of specific antidepressants (”

There's always a possibility that mothers can pass on the chemicals from anti-depressants when breast-feeding their babies, and even though the Mayo Clinic says that some of those drugs are of “little risk,” I think the potential for harm is still there.

So for me the question becomes: how do new mothers suffering PPD overcome their condition?

Luckily, there's several treatments options which don't involve the use of drugs, one of which is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (or CBT for short). 

Maybe you've heard of it.  If not, here's a description:

CBT works by changing people’s attitudes and their behavior by focusing on the thoughts, images, beliefs and attitudes that we hold (our cognitive processes) and how this relates to the way we behave, as a way of dealing with emotional problems (”

In other words, CBT can help people solve their emotional problems by changing how they think and act. 

But is it effective for treating depression?

I think the following quote gives us some idea:   

In the short term, it’s just as good as drug therapies at treating depression and anxiety disorders. And the benefits may last longer. All too often, when drug treatments finish, people relapse...two years after therapy has ended, many studies have shown a marked advantage for CBT. For example, having just 12 sessions of CBT can be as helpful in tackling depression as taking medication throughout the two-year follow-up period. This research suggests that CBT helps bring about a real change that goes beyond just feeling better while the patient stays in therapy.”

So we find that CBT can be just as effective in treating depression as any pill. In fact, studies show it may actually be better; after all, with drugs there's always a chance patients will relapse after they stop medicating. 

Factor in other disadvantages like addiction, withdrawal, and some nasty side-effects, and we see that drug therapy (which is of course still very useful) also has its dangers. Or at least its limitations.

Now compare that to CBT where two years after therapy patients still show clear signs of improvement. With drugs, the benefits last only as long as the pills, but with CBT the positive effects linger long afterwards.

I know that PPD is a unique type of depression, so it could be argued that the above facts and statements don't apply to it. 

But that's not true. In fact, the International Journal of Women's Health performed a study on 87 women suffering from PPD and found that they had “significant improvement in depressive symptoms. Women who received six CBT sessions versus one had greater decrease in depressive symptoms (”

So CBT is a very effective treatment alternative to drug therapy. Overall, I think it actually may be better: first, there's no chance of addiction or relapse like with medication, second, there's no risk that harmful chemicals will be passed onto a baby through breast milk, and third, the positive effects of CBT last longer.

Oh, and interestingly, one of the newest variations on CBT is Therapist-Assisted Internet Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TAICBT for short). Basically, it has all the elements of CBT but the sessions are held online where the patient communicates with a therapist. Even though TAICBT is very new, a study in Women's Mental Health shows that it could potentially help mothers suffering from PPD.

Of the 24 women who underwent the online therapy, a

majority of [them] expressed that the TAICBT program afforded flexibility, accessibility, and convenience, as well as anonymity and privacy. Some participants described the program as helping them take a step in the right direction and enhance their self-awareness and parenting skills.”

(Women's Mental Health, April 2015)

So TAICBT has all the advantages of its non-internet counterpart but gives women greater flexibility and convenience (two very important things for mothers with busy schedules). And it also gives them privacy as well as anonymity, both of which are crucial to women suffering from PPD who don't want to bring attention to their distress, or lack the energy to go out in public.

So now mothers suffering from Postpartum Depression can access CBT at home, on their own time, and do it in complete privacy, and I can only hope this results in better health for both mom and child.