nearly 60% of people with depression do not seek medical help. Many feel that the stigma of a mental health disorder is not acceptable in society and may hinder both personal and professional life. There is good evidence indicating that most antidepressants do work but the individual response to treatment may vary.
The etiology of major depressive disorder is multifactorial with both genetic and environmental factors playing a role. First-degree relatives of depressed individuals are about 3 times as likely to develop depression as the general population; however, depression can occur in people without family histories of depression
The role of CNS 5-HT activity in the pathophysiology of major depressive disorder is suggested by the therapeutic efficacy of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Research findings imply a role for neuronal receptor regulation, intracellular signaling, and gene expression over time, in addition to enhanced neurotransmitter availability.
The investigation into depressive symptoms begins with inquiries of the neurovegetative symptoms which include changes in sleeping patterns, appetite, and energy levels.
Medication alone and brief psychotherapy (cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy) alone can relieve depressive symptoms. Combination therapy has also been associated with significantly higher rates of improvement in depressive symptoms; increased quality of life; and better treatment compliance.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): SSRIs have the advantage of ease of dosing and low toxicity in overdose. They are also the first-line medications for late-onset depression.
Major depression has very high morbidity and mortality contributing to high rates of suicide. Even though effective drug treatment is available, nearly 50% may not initially respond. Complete remission is not common but at least 40% achieve partial remission in 12 months.
Depression accounts for nearly 40,000 cases of suicide each year in the US. The highest rate of suicides is in older men.
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