Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses affecting around 7% of adults. It affects how people feel, thinks, sleeps, eats, works and handles social activities and relationships. Depression comes in many different forms and may differ widely from patient to patient. Episodes can last from a few days to several years, can be triggered after pregnancy, can include psychosis and delusions or be seasonally triggered.
A number of genetic variations have been identified, that increase the likelihood of a person to develop a major depressive disorder. The disease is commonly accepted to be caused by a combination of genetic, environmental and psychological factors.
The following symptoms are common for depression and should be investigated by a specialist if they occur in combination and for an extended period of time:
- persistent feeling of sadness, anxiousness or emptiness
- hopelessness or pessimism
- feelings of guilt or worthlessness or helplessness
- loss of interest in hobbies
- slow movement or speech
- mental impairment in concentration, memory or decisions
- difficulty falling asleep
- weight gain
- pains, headaches or digestive problems without obvious cause
- thoughts of death or suicide
Genes relevant to depression
Several genes and polymorphisms associated with a risk of developing depression have already been identified by science. An analysis of these polymorphisms reveals the disease risk as well as other genetic characteristics relevant to this disease.
LEGEND: SYMBOL 2 Name of investigated genetic variation, rsNCBl 2 descriptions of investigated genetic
variation, GENOTYPE: result.
Summary of effects
Here is a summary of the impact the genetic variations have on your health and body:
- Your risk of developing depression is higher than the population average 1.8-fold.
Risk of developing a depression
Effects for sufferers only
- No increased risk of developing chronic depression
- No increased risk of suicide in depression
- Better response to antidepressants
Especially people with an elevated risk of developing depression should follow certain lifestyle recommendations to reduce the likelihood of the disease from developing.
- EXERCISE: Regular exercise improves and stabilizes your mood
- GOALS: set realistic goals in your private life and career
- SOCIAL CONTACT: the socially active and interact with people that are close to you and that
present a positive influence.
- AVOID ISOLATION: avoid isolation and maintain an active social life
- TIMING: at times when you’re feeling low, postpone important decisions such as relationships,
moving orcareeruntilyou feel better.
Should you ever appear to develop the symptoms of depression, do not hesitate to cont-act a
specialist to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.
Treatment is vitally important in people suffering from depression and can greatly improve the patient’s quality of life. There are a number of treatments and not every treatment is equally effective in every individual. As someone who is suffering from depression, you should be under medical supervision by a specialist who can help you choose the right to treatment.
There are a number of antidepressants that may be used to treat depression. Unfortunately, it usually takes 2 to 4 weeks for an antidepressant to show its effect. Side effects sometimes include symptoms such as sleep, appetite and concentration problems, which sometimes negatively influence compliance of the patient. Should you feel adverse effects from the medication you’re taking, discuss this with your specialist and give it time before judging if the drug helps you or not.
Today we know a lot about how drugs are metabolized and how certain genetic variations can influence the emergence of side effects of medication. A genetic test can help in choosing the right antidepressants at the right stills.
Psychological counseling and talk therapy can help people with depression. Talk to your specialist about the potential benefits of psychotherapy to better deal with symptoms.
This type of treatment uses electrical currents to stimulate the brain. The therapy is done under anesthesia with a muscle relaxant and is painless for the patient. A number of studies have shown it to be effective in cases where acute treatment was required or where other treatment methods have not shown to be effective. Should you wish to explore this therapy, talk to your specialist about the potential benefits of this treatment.
Effect on relevant medication
Please note: The right choice and dose of medication is always the responsibility of the doctor. Never make your own decision on whether to stop taking a medication or change its close!
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