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Chronic Depression: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Chronic Depression

While there are several different types of depression that have been defined, chronic depression is one of the most frequently reported. Chronic depression differs from major depression, mainly because of the severity of the emotions associated with them are less severe. Although chronic depression is a milder form, symptoms can last for a long time, sometimes years. Although less disabling than major depression, yet it prevents people from functioning at its best. People suffering from chronic depression can also go through short periods of major depression.

What Causes Chronic Depression

Experts are divided over what exactly causes chronic depression. Many believe that genetics play a role; however, there is controversy as to how big that role. Many of those receiving treatment for chronic depression have reported no cases of other family members who have suffered from the disease as well. It is commonly accepted that changes in brain chemistry are involved. It is also believed that chronic illness, life stress and some medications also contribute.

Chronic Depression Symptoms

Symptoms of chronic depression are the same as for major depression but are much less severe. These include the feeling of sadness that lasts most of the day, the lack of enthusiasm for the things that were once pleasant and important, changes in appetite or weight, oversleeping or insomnia, physical restlessness, fatigue, feelings of hopelessness, difficulty concentrating and making decisions, and suicidal thoughts.

Chronic Depression Diagnosis

The diagnosis of chronic depression is made by examining the symptoms by a physician. The doctor will rule out other possible physical causes such as hypothyroidism. He or she will examine your family history and discuss with you the medications that could be causing your symptoms. Unfortunately, there is no blood test that can conclusively indicate that the symptoms are caused by depression and no other cause.

Treatment for Chronic Depression

As with any chronic illness, early diagnosis and treatment are very beneficial to decrease the duration and severity of symptoms of chronic depression. Early treatment is also indicated to be effective in reducing the possibility of relapse. Treatment for this illness usually consists of psychotherapy, medication, or a combination. (See also: Most Common Treatments for Depression)

Education is the key to improving the quality of life of those suffering from some form of depression. Most people can be helped by treatment, and can go to fully realize their potential after being freed from the debilitating effects of the disease.

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