Depression: A Multimedia Sourcebook

Depression: A Multimedia Sourcebook

Depression: A Multimedia Sourcebook

Depression: A Multimedia Sourcebook


Any one of the following may be a symptom of depression: sadness, crying, preoccupation with death, guilt, insomnia, change in appetite, fatigue, loss of interest in sex, or shame. But these nine symptoms - and others - are not limited to depression. Medication including nondrowsy decongestant can cause insomnia. Thyroid disease can bring about change in appetite. Anemia can cause fatigue. However, several or more of these symptoms - existing collectively in a person - most probably indicate depression.

Depression is an illness affecting approximately 100 million people worldwide, approximately 16 million people in the U.S. The word "depression" is derived from "deprimere," a Latin word meaning "to press down." Depressed persons feel "down," as if the weight of the world is on their shoulders.

Some elderly people use "melancholia" to indicate what many younger persons call "depression." Melancholia has been traced back more than 2,500 years to Ancient Greece and Rome, Hippocrates having attributed melancholia to black bile. Bodily fluids, at this time, were believed to account for personality. An excess of black bile indicated a melancholic (depressed) individual.

Depression literature reveals many expressions qualifying the meaning of depression. "Agitated," "covert," "nonpsychotic postpartum," "fatigue-debt," "self-pity," and "vital" are some of these expressions.

Depression, for the purposes of this book, includes not only popular notions of depression, but also Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and bipolar depression, a newer term for manic depression. Readers interested in the specifics of word usage concerning depression should consult the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Depression is not limited to a particular sex, race, age, occupation, or geographical region. Depression is universal - the common cold of mental illness - and is closely associated with suicide.

When White House aide Vincent Foster committed suicide in 1993, he was purportedly depressed. When rock star Kurt Cobain committed suicide in 1994, he also was depressed, as are 6 million young people in the U.S. The book Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America describes a young woman's depression since childhood and her life affected by prescription drugs.

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