The mental illness "Depression Is more than just deep dejection, ca. 500.000 Austrians are said to be affected.There are older hypotheses that postulate a disturbance of the neurotransmitter balance (serotonin deficiency hypothesis) in the brain as the main reason for the development of depression. Modern explanatory models go in the direction of the sog. Psycho-neuro-immunology and suggest that so-called micro-inflammations play a role in depression. Symptoms of feeling worthless and loss of interests, as well as physical symptoms, are common signs of depressive illness. As the main reasons for the sharp increase in depression – known from large cohort studies – that loneliness and city life are the strongest drivers of affective disorders, which include anxiety, panic, compulsion and depression.
Physician-prescribed antidepressants, talk therapy with psychotherapists, and St. John's wort for mild episodes are the treatment of choice. Depression occurs as pure depression (unipolar depression). As a phase in the manic-depressive illness pattern of bipolar affective disorder. Often there are concomitant diseases, so-called. Comorbidities such as addictive disorders, sleep disorders u. v. a. m. – This is what needs to be considered when making a diagnosis.
Video: Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the psyche
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christoph Pieh (University Professor of Psychosomatic Medicine and Health Research, Department of Psychotherapy and Biopsychosocial Health, Danube University Krems) shows the connections between COVID-19 and mental illnesses. (Webinar, 30.6.2021)
Frequency of depression
At least 500.000 Austrians currently suffer from depression requiring treatment. There is a high number of unreported cases, the number of depressions is constantly increasing. Women are superficially two to three times more often affected than men. However, if one takes into account the characteristics of male depression and its different symptoms of increased risk-taking, self-aggressiveness and aggressiveness toward others, and increased substance use, then the number of depressions between the sexes almost balances out. Likewise, depression in adolescents, depression in pregnant women and young mothers, and depression in the elderly should be given special consideration.
Causes / symptoms / course of depression
Experts believe one of the contributors to the rise in depression is the demands of today's life on people: faster, faster, constantly pushing through. However, there is no single cause of depression, just as there is no single set of symptoms. As mentioned at the beginning, large social science studies suggest that worldwide 2 main drivers for affective disorders can be identified: Social exclusion (loneliness) and city life.
Neurotransmitter balance in the brain
One of the main reasons for the development of depression is a disturbance of the neurotransmitter balance in the brain: serotonin and/or norepinephrine are out of balance in the brain circuits. The disorder is in many cases biologically determined, although depression is not a hereditary disease.
For the so-called winter depression is a lack of sunlight as a trigger.
Psychologically stressful situations
Depression can also be triggered by life events such as job loss, serious illness or death of a loved one.
Symptoms of depression are also called "symptoms of detachment" called: Joylessness, listlessness, disinterestedness, senselessness, hopelessness, worthlessness. Severely depressed people no longer feel life is worth living, feel endless emptiness and deep sadness – 5 to 15% of sufferers take their own lives.
In depressed men, there may also be a tendency to aggressive behavior, symptoms of a so-called "male depression can be:
– increased irritability – moodiness – quick temper – increased aggression and tantrums – tendency to blame and resentful behavior – increased willingness to take risks – excessive sports activities – extensive alcohol and nicotine consumption
Physiological symptoms can be
Forms of depression
Unipolar or bipolar, these are the two major groups of the disease. While in unipolar depression there are only depressive episodes in phases of illness, in bipolar there are depressive and manic episodes (manic-depressive). In both pure depression and that with manic phases (bipolar affective disorder), there are phases of freedom from symptoms.
Diagnosis of depression
A detailed consultation with a doctor – first a family doctor, then a psychiatrist – is always the cornerstone of a depression diagnosis. A physical medical exclusion diagnosis is essential. Questionnaires also help.
Therapy of depression
Despite good treatment prospects, at least 45 percent of those affected do not receive adequate treatment or do not take advantage of it.
The therapy consists of different pillars:
The most important pillar of any depression therapy is an individualized therapy under method integration. Often treated with medication, by means of so-called antidepressants, which have a good overall effect. The fear of many patients of addiction is unfounded.