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    Depression: Depression Glossary

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    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 no longer than 15 to 30 minutes.

    Phototherapy: Also called light therapy, phototherapy is sometimes used to treat seasonal depression. It involves exposure to light from a box of white fluorescent light tubes covered with a plastic screen to block ultraviolet rays. Light therapy is safe and generally well tolerated. The reported side effects are minor and may include eyestrain, headaches and insomnia.

    Postpartum depression: Postpartum depression is a complex mix of physical, emotional and behavioral changes that occur in a mother after giving birth. It is a serious condition, affecting about 10% of new mothers. Symptoms range from mild to severe depression and may appear within days of delivery or gradually, perhaps up to a year later. Symptoms may last from a few weeks to a year.

    Premenstrual syndrome (PMS): The physical and psychological symptoms that occur in the week before a woman's menstrual period. Symptoms may include bloating, headache, irritability, anxiety or depression, low self-esteem, difficulty sleeping, changes in appetite, fatigue and breast swelling and tenderness.

    Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD): PMDD is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) that affects about 3%-5% of menstruating women. Emotional symptoms of PMDD include shifting moods, severe depression, feelings of hopelessness, anger, anxiety or low self-esteem, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and tension. Physical symptoms include fatigue, headaches, joint or muscle pain, breast tenderness, changes in appetite, food cravings or bingeing, sleep problems and bloating.

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