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Depression Diagnosis and Treatment - Beh 225

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Depression is a common mood disorder, in which a person feels overwhelmed with sadness, loses interest in activities, and displays other symptoms such as excessive guilt or feelings of worthlessness (Psychology: An Introduction...,2002). Depressive disorders affect approximately 18.8 million American adults or about 9.5% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year. This includes major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, and bipolar disorder (Depression Fact and...,2004). Depression is one of the greatest problems and killers of our time. It can affect young adults, adults, the elderly, and even those as young as preschool age. Preschoolers are the fastest-growing market for antidepressants. At least four percent of preschoolers -- over a million -- are clinically depressed. The following will describe the current trends in diagnosis and treatment for depression, and what it means for the future of those diagnosed.

The fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) was coordinated with the tendth edition of the World Health Organization's International Classification of Diseases. The DSM-IV-RT is intended to provide a complete list of mental disorders, with each category painstakingly defined in terms of significant behavior patterns so that diagnosis based on it will be reliable. Mental Retardation, learning disorders, autistic disorder, ADHD; are examples of disorders categorized as Disorders Usually First Diagnosed in Infancy, Childhood, or Adolescence. A psychotic disorder due to epilepsy is an example of Mental Disorders Due to General Medical Conditions. These are a couple of the many examples described in the DSM-IV-RT, and with this it has gained increasing acceptance because its detailed criteria for diagnosing mental disorders have made diagnosis much more reliable (Nathan & Langenbucher, 1999).

The treatment for depression varies from person to person. Depending on the severity of depression that a person suffers from they could be prescribed antidepressants such as Prozac, Paxil, or Zoloft; in which, only work for 35-45% of the depressed population (Depression Fact and..., 2004). In other situations Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is used. Cognitive therapy focuses on present thinking, behavior, and communication rather than on past experiences and is oriented toward problem solving. Cognitive therapy has been applied to a broad range of problems including depression, anxiety, panic, fears, eating disorders, substance abuse, and personality problems; but, has been studied to see that it has an 80% relapse rate for the long term (Depression Fact and..., 2004). A more recent program called The Uplift Program, has been started and has a 94% success rate, according to follow-up questionnaires taken two years later. The program requires addressing the underlying relationship causes of depression, not simply symptoms such as chemical imbalance



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