Definition of "Clinical depression"

Last modified: 12 days

Clinical depression is a psychiatric disorder characterized by pervasive and persistent low mood, resulting in low self-esteem, anhedonia (loss of interest of pleasure), and pleasure.

  • Combination of hereditary and psychosocial factors
  • Also linked w/ substance abuse
  • Causes decreased levels of monoamines (esp serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine), which are required for communication between neurons
  • Endogenous depression, is Tx-resistant, non-psychotic, clinical depression, involving abnormal behavior of the endogenous opioid system, but NOT the monoaminergic system
  • It is a disabling condition, affecting the Pt's:
    • Family
    • Work/school
    • Sleeping/eating habits
    • General health
  • The Dx is based on the patient’s self-reported experiences, behavior reported by relatives or friends, and a mental status examination
  • There is no lab test for major depression, although doctors generally request tests for physical conditions that may cause similar Sx
  • This is not the same as description by the Pt of being depressed, which is advising of an internal state of low mood and loss of interest in activity
  • It can be a normal reaction to certain life events, or a side effect of certain drugs
  • Psychotherapy/counseling, and antidepressant medication, although its effectiveness is questionable for mild to moderate cases (and may also be linked w/ suicide risk). For those of significant risk of harm to self or others, hospitalization and even ECT may be required
  • 3.4% of Pt's will commit suicide
  • Up to 60% of people who die by suicide had depression or another mood disorder
  • Pt's have shorter life expectancy due to greater susceptibility to illnesses and suicide
  • The most common time of onset is between 20-30yo, with a later peak between 30-40yo
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Definition of Clinical depression | Autoprac

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