Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Undiagnosed physical conditions

Various physical conditions may at first seem to mimic depression. Doctors aim to be on the lookout for these diseases and may order tests to rule them out if one is suspected. Perhaps the most common examples are:
  • An underactive thyroid gland - can make you feel quite low, weepy, and tired. A blood test can diagnose this.
  • An underactive pituitary gland (hypopituitarism) - the pituitary gland is just under the brain. It makes various hormones which have various actions. Sometimes one hormone can be deficient; sometimes more than one. There are various symptoms that can develop but they can include loss of sex drive, sexual problems, infertility, uncontrollable weight gain and feeling low, depressed and even suicidal. Blood tests can help to diagnose hypopituitarism. There are various causes of hypopituitarism, including head injury.
  • Head injury - even a relatively mild one, even many years ago. For example, studies have shown that rates of suicide (presumably related to depression) are more common than average in people who have previously had a head injury. The reason for this is not fully understood. However, one factor that may be significant in some cases is that a head injury may result in hypopituitarism, as discussed above.
  • Polymyalgia rheumatica - this condition mainly affects older people. Typical symptoms include stiffness, pain, aching, feeling depressed and tenderness of the large muscles around the shoulders and upper arms. Feeling depressed can be the first main symptom before the other symptoms predominate.
  • Early dementia - is sometimes confused with depression.
  • Certain drugs, both prescribed and illicit (street) drugs - can cause side-effects which may mimic depression.
  • The rest of this leaflet is about depression of unknown cause that is not associated with any physical condition.

source: http://www.patient.co.uk/health/depression

Symptoms of depression

depressions symptomsMany people know when they are depressed. However, some people do not realise when they are depressed. They may know that they are not right and are not functioning well, but don't know why. Some people think that they have a physical illness - for example, if they lose weight.

There is a set of symptoms that are associated with depression and help to clarify the diagnosis. These are:

Persistent sadness or low mood. This may be with or without weepiness.
Marked loss of interest or pleasure in activities, even for activities that you normally enjoy.
Other common symptoms:

Disturbed sleep compared with your usual pattern. This may be difficulty in getting off to sleep, or waking early and being unable to get back to sleep. Sometimes it is sleeping too much.
Change in appetite. This is often a poor appetite and weight loss. Sometimes the reverse happens with comfort eating and weight gain.
Fatigue (tiredness) or loss of energy.
Agitation or slowing of movements.
Poor concentration or indecisiveness. For example, you may find it difficult to read, work, etc. Even simple tasks can seem difficult.
Feelings of worthlessness, or excessive or inappropriate guilt.
Recurrent thoughts of death. This is not usually a fear of death, more a preoccupation with death and dying. For some people despairing thoughts such as "life's not worth living" or "I don't care if I don't wake up" are common. Sometimes these thoughts progress into thoughts and even plans for suicide.

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source: http://www.patient.co.uk/health/depression

What is depression

depressionDepression is common. Symptoms can affect day-to-day life and can become very distressing. Treatments include psychological (talking) treatments and antidepressant medicines. Treatment takes time to work but has a good chance of success. Some people have recurring episodes of depression and require long-term treatment to keep symptoms away.
The word depressed is a common everyday word. People might say "I'm depressed" when in fact they mean "I'm fed up because I've had a row, or failed an exam, or lost my job", etc. These ups and downs of life are common and normal. Most people recover quite quickly. With true depression, you have a low mood and other symptoms each day for at least two weeks. Symptoms can also become severe enough to interfere with normal day-to-day activities.

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source: http://www.patient.co.uk/health/depression