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    Depression: Depression Glossary


    Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): A procedure in which an electric current is briefly applied to produce a seizure while the patient is asleep under general anesthesia. This is used to treat depressive symptoms that are not responding well to other forms of treatment.

    EKG or ECG (electrocardiogram): A recording of the electrical activity of the heart.

    Guided imagery: A form of focused relaxation used to create harmony between the mind and body.

    Hypochondria: Fear of imagined illnesses or disorders.

    Manic depression (bipolar disorder): A mental illness that causes people to have severe high and low moods. People with this illness have episodes in which they feel uncharacteristically euphoric or irritable accompanied by high energy and at other times periods of depression in which they feel sad and hopeless. In between these episodes, a person's mood may be normal.

    Major depression: A diagnosis of major depression is made when, in addition to a severely depressed mood, the individual suffers from several other typical associated symptoms involving changes in their sleep, energy, appetite, thinking, and behavior.

    Menopause: Menopause is a stage in life when a woman stops having her monthly period. By definition, a woman is menopausal after her periods have stopped for one year. Menopause typically occurs in a woman's late forties to early fifties. It is a normal part of aging, marking the end of a woman's reproductive years. Women who have their ovaries and uterus surgically removed undergo "sudden" menopause.

    Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs): A group of medicines sometimes prescribed to treat severe depression. MAOIs increase the concentration of chemicals responsible for transmitting information between nerves in particular regions of the brain, which may lead to increased mental functioning.

    Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): OCD is a disorder characterized by intense, recurrent, unwanted thoughts and rituals that are beyond the person's control.

    Occupational therapists: Health care professionals that teach people how to return to normal activities after injury or illness using therapy and rehabilitation.

    Panic disorder: An anxiety illness characterized by attacks of anxiety or terror, often, but not always, occurring unexpectedly and without reason. In general, the attacks last 15 to 30 minutes.

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