Sunday, October 19, 2008

Meaning of Depression

Meaning of Depression
One of the difficulties in conceptualizing depression is essentially semantic, that term has been variously applied to designate: a particular type of feeling or symptom; a symptom complex (or syndrome); and a well defined disease entity.

Not infrequently, normal people say they are depressed when they observe any lowering of their mood below their baseline level. A person experiencing a transient sadness or loneliness may state that he is depressed. Whether this normal mood is synonymous with, or even related to, the feeling experienced in the abnormal condition of depression is open to question. In any event, when a person complains of feeling inordinately dejected, hopeless or unhappy, the term depressed is often used to label this subjective state.

The term depression is often used to designate a complex pattern of deviations in feelings, cognition and behavior that is not represented as a discrete psychiatric disorder. In such instances it is regarded as syndrome, or symptoms –complex. The cluster of signs and symptoms is sometime conceptualized as a psychopathological dimension ranging in intensity from mild to severe. The syndrome of depression may at times appear as a concomitant of a definite psychiatric disorder such as schizophrenic reaction; in such a case, the diagnosis would be “schizophrenic reaction with depression.” At times, the syndrome may be secondary to or a manifestation of organic disease of the brain such as general paresis or cerebral arteriosclerosis.

Finally the term depression has been used to designate a discrete nosological entity. The term is generally qualified by some adjective to indicate a particular type or form as, for example: reactive depression, agitated depression or psychotic depressive reactive. When conceptualized as a specific clinical entity, depression is assumed to have certain consistent attributes in addition to the characteristics signs and symptoms; these attributes include specifiable type of onset, course, duration and outcome.
Meaning of Depression

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