¿What is depression?
WHO describes depression as a common mental disorder. This is characterized by the presence of sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, sleep or appetite, tiredness and lack of concentration.
Depression can get to become chronic or recurrent and substantially hinder performance at work or school. In its most severe form, it can lead to suicide. If it is mild, it can be treated without drugs but when it affects moderately or severely may need medication, professional psychotherapy or treatments to help self-regulation of central nervous system.
This is a disorder that can be diagnosed reliably and treated by non-specialists in the field of primary care.
Types and symptoms
Depending on the number and the intensity of the symptoms, the depression phases can be classify in mild, moderate or severe.
A fundamental distinction for people suffering depression is established between people with and without a history of manic episodes. Both types of depression can be chronic and relapsing, especially when not treated.
During the typical depressive episodes there is depressed mood, loss of interest and ability to enjoy, and energy reduction resulting in a decreasing in activity, all for a minimum of two weeks. Many people with depression also have symptoms of anxiety, sleep disturbances and appetite, feelings of guilt and low self-esteem, difficulty at concentrating and even medically unexplained symptoms.
Depending on the number and intensity of symptoms, depressive episodes can be classified as mild, moderate or severe. People with mild depressive episodes have some difficulties to continue their normal work and social activities although they do not probably suspend them completely. In contrast, during a severe depressive episode it is highly unlikely that the patient can maintain their social, work or domestic activities if it is not with great limitations.
This type of depression typically manifests manic and depressive episodes separated by intervals with normal mood. Manic episodes occur with elevated or irritable mood, hyperactivity, logorrhea, excessive self-esteem and decreasing of need for sleep.
Contributing factors and prevention
Depression is the result of complex interactions between social, psychological and biological factors. It can create more stress and dysfunction worsening the living situation of the person and therefore its own depression.
There are relationships between depression and physical health; thus, for example, cardiovascular diseases may cause depression and vice versa.
It is shown that prevention programs reduce depression. Among the effective community strategies to prevent them are, school programs of prevention of child abuse, to improve the aptitude to resolution of problems of children and adolescents, or programs to improve cognitive and social aptitudes.
Interventions directed to parents of children with behavioural problems may reduce depressive symptoms of parents and improve the results of their children. Exercise programs for the elderly are also effective for preventing depression.
Diagnosis and treatment
There are effective treatments for depression, a condition that can be diagnosed and treated reliably by trained health professionals working in primary care. The therapeutic options recommended for moderate to severe depression consist of a basic psychosocial support combined with antidepressant drugs or psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy or techniques for solving problems such as Neurofeedback.
Antidepressants can be effective in moderate to severe depression, but not in mild cases. They should not be used to treat depression in children or as first-line therapy in adolescents with whom the antidepressants must be used with extreme caution.
Data y numbers
– Depression is a common mental disorder that affects more than 350 million people worldwide.
– In the worst cases, depression can lead to suicide.
– Depression is the leading cause of disability and contributes substantially to the global burden of morbidity.
– There are effective treatments for depression.
– Depression affects more women than men.
Neurofeedback application in depression
Neurofeedback is a neuropsychological technique that allows self-regulation of the central nervous system. In cases of depression, the main benefits of its application are:
– Increasing of motivation.
– Development of emotional management.
– Improved mood.
– Strengthening of social relations.
– Increasing of motivation guided.
– Decrease or disappearance of difficulty sleeping (improving sleep hygiene).
– Increasing of muscle tone.
– Reduction or elimination of autolytic and irrational thoughts as well as suicide ideation.
– Decrease or disappearance of irrational fears and cognitive distortions.