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Clinical Depression: The Role Of Genetics

1026 words - 4 pages

Note: Citations included, but form is not correctEvery year more than 19 million American Adults suffer from clinical depression. Many people begin to feel depressed as the result of some recent, notable event or events, which occurred in one's life. However, these events are often not the the only cause of a major depressive episode. Family history and genetics play a significant part in the greater likelihood of someone becoming depressed in their lifetime.Clinical depression is a serious and common disorder of mood that is pervasive,intense and attacks the mind and body at the same time. The symptoms of depressioninclude feeling sad and blue, not enjoying activities once found pleasurable, havingdifficulty doing things that used to be easy to do, restlessness, fatigue, changes in sleep,appetite or weight, inability to make decisions, feelings of worthlessness, and thoughtsof death or suicide. Unlike feeling down-hearted or blue every now and then, clinicaldepression persists and does not go away on it's own. Clinical depression is an illnessthat can last for months or years if left untreated. 30% of all clinically depressedpatients attempt suicide; half of them succeed.According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 19 millionAmericans each year develop depression. Recent research indicates the number may beeven higher, closer to 20 million. Less than half of the people suffering from depressionactually receive treatment. Researchers believe that one out of every five adults mayexperience a depression at some point in their lives. Twice as many women as mensuffer from depression, although everybody, including children, can develop theillness.As many as 90% of people with depression improve from a combination ofpsychotherapy and antidepressants; however, adverse side effects from certainmedications make it difficult for many to take them. Some complementary andalternative therapies may be helpful in reducing the side effects from such medications;other complementary and alternative therapies may actually diminish the symptoms ofthe depression itself. Electroconvulsive therapy for depression is usually reserved forcases in which all other therapies have proven unsuccessful.There is no one single cause of major depression. Psychological, biological, andenvironmental factors may all contribute to its development. Whatever the specificcauses of depression, scientific research has firmly established that major depression isa biological brain disorder and that people with a family history of depression aregenerally higher at risk for developing it themselves.Chemicals called neurotransmitters carry messages from one nerve cell in the brainto another. These chemicals attach to special molecules on nerve cells called receptors,both in sending and receiving messages. Norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine arethree neurotransmitters thought to be involved with major depression. Scientistsbelieve that if there is a chemical imbalance in...

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