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Depression Health Center

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Depression in Men

Why should I care about depression in men? continued...

There are several recognized forms of depression:

  • Major depression . With major depression, depressive symptoms interfere with the ability to work, eat, sleep, and enjoy life. Symptoms are serious and last for weeks or months.
  • Psychotic depression. Psychosis refers to an inability to differentiate reality from non reality. In psychotic depression, someone may experience unshakable beliefs that he is worthless and deserves punishment, or that he has sinned or committed a crime, or that his problems are so hopeless he feels doomed. His imagination might also play tricks on him, such as hearing a voice telling him he is worthless or that he should kill himself. Suicide risk is especially high in this form of depression.
  • Persistent depressive disorder. A depressive episode can last for two years or longer in a minority of individuals. When that happens it is called persistent depressive disorder, which can involve either a longstanding depressed mood plus low-grade depressive symptoms that are fewer than the number seen in major depression (a condition also called dysthymia) or a longstanding full syndrome of major depression (also called chronic major depression).
  • Bipolar disorder . With bipolar disorder, episodes of depression alternate withmania an excessively "high" mood with excessive energy and sleeplessness and the potential for serious problems.

After years of research, no one yet understands what really causes depression. Chemicals that nerves use to "talk" to each other in the brain are thought to function improperly. Consequently, certain areas of the brain that regulate mood and thinking can be less active or function improperly during periods of depression. Research in these areas is ongoing.

How can I prevent depression?

There is no known medicine, supplement, or herb that prevents a first episode of depression.

After one episode of depression, most people will experience recurrences. But you can prevent or reduce these relapses by:

  • Taking antidepressant medicines consistently as prescribed. Taking medicine for six months to a year after an initial bout of depression prevents depression from coming back.
  • Learning and practicing cognitive therapy techniques. Done properly, these techniques may work as well as antidepressant medicines for some forms of depression to help prevent recurrences.
  • Getting regular exercise and sleep.
  • Avoiding alcohol and drug use, which can cause or worsen depression and make medication treatments for depression work less effectively.

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