Depression, in simplistic terms, is the situation of being in a state of sadness over a lengthy period of time. Of course, it is already mentioned that this is a simplistic definition, because if it were that simple; the world would have been a happier place to live in for many people with depression! Depression is not something similar to a cold or a headache. It is not something that appears quickly and goes away as quickly. |
Symptoms are not exclusive Depression is a deeply rooted psychological malady that is difficult to understand in simple terms. Of course, people who have depression do exhibit a few common symptoms like sadness, listlessness, anxiety, moroseness, disinterest in matters of daily living and the like; but so do normal people. We all experience what may be called a bad day in office (not literally speaking though, because we should include home too here).
Difficult parameters So, how is a person who has depression different from the rest if these symptoms and behaviors exist in all kinds of people? It is said that depressed people are in this state of mind over a long period of time. But how long? That should be the defining parameter. The medical profession is not clear if a person who has been through a low for a couple of weeks should be called a depressed person and be bracketed with someone who has been though it for a couple of years. And how does it feel to ‘graduate’ from the two-week period to the two-year period? Is the behavior the same over this period of time, or it is graded? These are the real challenges psychiatrists encounter while treating people with depression.
Some stages Based on the pace at which depression builds up in a person’s mind; medical science usually classifies depression according to the following stages: oMajor; oManic or bipolar; oDysthymic; oCyclothymic; oPostpartum; oSeasonal.
What are these stages for? These are what may be called the various phases, but we have to be clear about what these stages really mean: These are more of a frame of reference for doctors than something that is irrefutable. This is certainly not a watertight compartmentalization of the condition. There is no reason to believe that one could be less treatable or more severe than another.
For whose benefit? These gradations are made to give doctors a kind of benchmark with which to approach the problem. To the patient himself, absolutely no difference is made. A person with chronic depression has more things to worry about and feel down than to estimate the stage he is in. For the patient, his family and the lay public alike; there is no serious sense out of these stages. They do serve a limited, academic purpose, which is to help doctors slot the patient and use as an assessment tool, nothing more; nothing less.
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