Depression is defined as an illness; the feelings of depression persist and interfere with a child or adolescents ability to function. Depression can be a very difficult and painful experience that affects not only the individual suffering from it, but also the people around them. There comes a point in some peoples lives where social isolation, low energy, sadness, low self-esteem, and the feeling of hopelessness, cannot be taken anymore. The feelings are so strong and persistent, that the victim becomes severely unhappy, which can then result in depression. Clinical depression has many related symptoms trouble sleeping, eating disorders, withdrawal and inactivity, self-punishment, and loss of pleasure. People that are depressed do not like to do things they may usually like to.However, there are many differences between feeling depressed and actually suffering from depression, the disease. Any person feels depressed at some time or another in their life. They feel worthless, tired and tend to want to be alone without human interaction, this is normal. Depression brings on poor concentration or inability to think and make decisions (Kist 26). Surveys that have been taken that show approximately 20 in 100 people suffer from depression at any one time. About one if four Americans will suffer from a depression over the course of their lifetime. Depression strikes men and women of all ages, in all races, but most studies indicate that women are more often afflicted.Depression comes in many different types: major, manic and dysthymia are a few. A chronic, physical illness, drug habit, death of a loved one; or a problem in a marriage cause major depression. Even though most people with major depression will recover, half will suffer another episode (Hales 38). People with severe cases of major depression cant work, study, or interact and eventually cant feed, clothe or clean themselves (Hales 38).Manic depression is a type of depression that goes from a person being extremely happy and then becoming severely depressed (Kist 107). Being in a depressed state can be life threatening. People suffering from manic depression show many symptoms. A few major ones are hyperactivity; talking fast, inability, fear of dying, and jumping from one topic to another during a conversation (Kist 39). Another type is Psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis focuses on a patients unconscious thought, such as dreams, fantasies, and actions (Kist 84). During psychoanalysis the patient meets with a psychiatrist or a psychologist up to five times a week, and talks about his or her childhood, dreams, or whatever else may come to mind (Kist 84).Therapy is obviously the oldest cure for depression, and while it has no side affects, it is not foolproof. A therapist or psychologist may not cure a person, as this happens very often, and then another suggestion may be implemented. Drug prescription would probably be the next step. Depression can be helped with anti-depressants. The three main categories of anti-depressants are tricyclics (TCAs), monoamine oxiduse inhibitors (MAOIs), and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). TCAs raise the level of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain .They slow the rate of absorption by the nerve cells . TCAs have been prescribed since the 1950s. Tricyclics are made up of a triple carbon ring The most popular brand names of TCAs are Imipramine (Tofranil), Amutruptyline (Elaurl), and Nortriptyline (Pamelor) (Miligan 126). Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil are all commonly known anti-depressants, and all basically affect the patient the same way. Prozac is used by six million people in the United States and by eleven million worldwide. Prozac is an antidepressant that produces neuron chemicals that depressed people are missing. Many complaints have been issued about such drugs, as they often induce severe side affects. Side affects vary person to person. If they are taken at high doses, TCAs can be lethal. TCAs are the leading cause of death by a drug overdose in the United States. When people with depression dont respond to tricyclics, they are prescribed MAOIs. The three leading brand names are Phenelzine (Nardil), Tranylcypromine (Darnate), and Isocarboxazid (Marplan) (Miligan 129). Monoamine oxiduse inhibitors, inhibit monoamine oxiduse, which is an enzyme that destroys neurotransmitters in the brain (Miligan 129).Doctors should have a comfortable room that appeals to them and others as they feel its easy to talk about their problems (Blackman). There are two hundred different kinds of psychotherapy (Miligan 89). One type is psychoeducation (Miligan 90). Psychoeducation is to stabilize the home environment and educate the other family members about what their depressed family member is going through (Miligan 90). The most popular type of therapy is called “talking therapies” (Hales 79). “Talking therapies” are short-term, structured treatments. People usually have twelve to twenty sessions within twelve to sixteen weeks (Hales 79). Many doctors, such as the author of the novel Listening to Prozac, Peter Kramer, also have complaints about these drugs. The majority of complaints deal with the mask perspective. The mask theory basically states that the drugs, such as mentioned above, almost remake the self. Thus, as the title of his book suggests, Peter Kramer feels he is only listening to the drugs and not the actual person. Once the prescription has been taken, the patient becomes an entirely different person, not necessarily who they are, but what the drugs are designed to make them become.Behavior therapy is another popular type of therapy. Behavior therapy is based on two things. The first thing its based on is that the personality is a collection of learned habits, second that disordered behavior is nothing more than the use of these habits are situations where they have no useful value (Kist 84). Psychodrama really helps depressed people let their emotions out. Psychodrama is under the direction of a therapist and is a group of patients that act out their problems .The main goal of psychodrama therapy is to help depressed people better understand his or her reaction to other people and other situations that may affect depressive behavior. Sometimes eight to twelve people get together for group therapy. Group therapy really helps a patient by letting the patient know that others have similar problems. When talked doctors talked to their patients about the group therapy many of them said it helped because there was somebody there to listen, and there was also a special bond made. The main goals of psychotherapy are, to remove symptoms, restore the level of everyday functioning that the patient had before becoming depressed, and to provide ways to deal with the depression and the effects that depression has on his or her life. Obviously, neither of the most commonly used cures for depression seems too affective. However, with the combination of both drugs and counseling, it is believed that a patient will be cured quickly and efficiently. Perhaps they will find that deep secret that is causing them so much pain, or perhaps they will simply vanquish it from their minds. Either way, it is highly important that they get past their feeling of absolute worthlessness and move on to a better, more productive lifestyle. Overall, there are many causes of this unbearable disease, and often many times a combination of genetic, psychological, and environmental factors are involved in the onset of a depressive disorder. However, the big risk factor in major depression is suicide. Within five years of suffering from major depression, an estimated 25% of sufferers try to kill themselves. Therefore, it is important to take action when confronted with the symptoms of this disease. Depression reaches many people and that is why I chose this as my topic. Depression is maybe the most painful illness, but it can be overcome. Hopefully everyone with depression seeks help either through medication or therapy.

Blackman, Maurice. You Asked about Adolescent Depression.Available at
Hales, Dianne. Depression. Chelsea House Publishers, New York, Philadelphia, 1989.

Kist, Jay. “Dealing with Depression Current Health 2 Jan.1997 25-28.

Lytle, Victoria. The dark clouds of Depression. NEA Today Dec.1994.

Spike Milligan and Anthony Clare. Depression and how to Survive it. Arrow 1994.

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