The term depressive disorder defines a grouping of psychopathological and psychiatric disorders that primarily involve significant changes in the person’s mood. Mood tone is a psychic function that accompanies the adaptation of our internal, psychological world to the external one: the tone is high when we are in pleasant conditions, it tends downwards when we experience unpleasant situations.
How depressive disorders manifest
Those suffering from depression experience persistent anguish, loss of interest in activities that normally give pleasure and difficulty in carrying out even the simplest daily actions, sometimes with negative consequences on interpersonal relationships.
It is correct to speak of depression only when the mood loses its natural character of flexibility, that is, when it is always low and is no longer influenced by favorable external factors, causing discomfort and interfering with normal activities, life and freedom of act of an individual.
However, depression can be prevented and treated: an adequate knowledge of the depressive disorder can help reduce the associated stigma and motivate people to seek help.
People suffering from depression perceive themselves as inadequate and worthless, they consider the surrounding environment as “hostile” and unsupportive.
The future appears to them uncertain and full of difficulties.
Specifically, they experience some of the following symptoms:
loss of energy, change in appetite, insomnia or hypersomnia, anxiety, reduced concentration, indecision, restlessness, sense of worthlessness, guilt or despair, thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
The ideas of death are intrinsic to depressive pathology, characterized by themes of guilt, unworthiness, ruin, and are supported by the belief that there is no other way out of the condition of suffering and that, therefore, the only way to alleviate the emotional pain and no longer a burden on others steps through suicide.
It is often believed that depression is a simple lowering of mood:
it should instead be borne in mind that it is characterized by a set of symptoms that compromise the way in which a person thinks, thinks and portrays himself, others and the outside world.
Feeling depressed means seeing the world as if you were wearing glasses with dark lenses:
everything becomes gray, dull and difficult to deal with, even doing normal daily activities such as getting out of bed, washing, calling a friend, shopping.
Causes and course
Depression is a multifactorial disorder in which genetic, biological and psychosocial aspects interact with each other.
There are numerous empirical evidences that prove the important hereditary component in depression. Studies show an increased risk (5% – 25%) of developing a similar disorder in first-degree relatives of patients with major depression. This does not mean that depression is inevitable, but that you may be vulnerable to the disorder.
Depression derives from an alteration in the function of the monoaminergic systems – noradrenaline (NA), serotonin (5HT) dopamine – which contribute to the appearance of somatic, cognitive, emotional and relational disorders; both serotonin and norepinephrine carry out their action within brain nuclei responsible for the control of a whole series of functions (modulation of mood, regulation of affectivity, control of certain cognitive functions, regulation of sleep and appetite, motivation) which are altered in depression
The stressful events favoring the development of depression are experienced by the subject as irreversible, irreparable and total losses. Some of these may be: physical illnesses, marital separations, difficulties in family relationships, important changes in role, home, work, dismissals, business or economic failures, being the victim of a crime or abuse even in childhood, loss of a loved one.