Endogenous depression - basics, symptoms, treatment and curing

What is Endogenous Depression?

In most cases, a person who appears to suffer from a type of depression will often have a reason for it. In other words, the depression has been brought on or encouraged by an event, or something has happened to that individual, either in their youth or adulthood, that they have not been able to deal with. There are, however, cases where the individual does not seem to have a reason for their depression. They show all the symptoms of depression, but there just not seems to be any apparent cause for it. This is when the patient would probably be diagnosed with endogenous depression.

Endogenous means 'coming from within' and such depression were thought to be due to biochemical changes within the body, although there is still very little understanding of what triggered them.

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Note that the way in which depressive illness is classified has been changed recently. In practice this is really only of interest to statistician and researchers, but you may know of someone, a friend or relative perhaps, who was given a particular diagnosis under the old system and wonder how that relates to a diagnosis that someone receives now. Until very recently, depression was classified as either reactive or endogenous. Reactive depression was believed to have been caused by a particular event in a person's life. In other words, the sufferer became depressed as a reaction to things that had happened, such as redundancy, bereavement, serious illness, etc.

Endogenous depression is a term, which is also used to describe those patients who do not respond to medication.

Symptoms

A person who suffers from endogenous depression will often exhibit similar symptoms as someone suffering from any other type of depression. The person could appear anxious, have a change in sleeping patterns, a change in eating habits, show fatigue, have low self-esteem and even sudden mood changes.

The symptoms of endogenous depression range from mild to more severe and not all patients exhibit the same symptoms. If the patient is suffering from an underlying health concern or any accompanying mental health illness, the symptoms may become more severe in nature. Like most other forms of depression the symptoms of endogenous depression are classified into 4 distinct categories.

Impact on your Thoughts:
  • Lack of concentration
  • Forgetfulness
  • Inability to make spontaneous decisions
  • Pessimistic attitude
  • Guilt
  • Self pity
  • Thoughts of self destruction
Impact on your Behavior:
  • Apathy
  • Cry often
  • Prefer to stay away from social situations
  • Little to no sex drive
  • Lack of personal grooming (in severe cases)
  • Disinterest in work and routine activities
Impact on your Feelings:
  • Feel tired all day
  • Lack of motivation
  • Occasional temper outbursts
  • Irritability
  • Worthlessness
Impact on your Physical Well Being:
  • Prolonged fatigue
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Disturbed sleep patterns
  • Experience bodily aches
If you do experience any or all of these symptoms, consider getting medical help at the earliest in order to initiate treatment and speed up recovery. Since there are different treatment options available, discuss all of them with your doctor to find out which one is best suited to your unique needs.

Causes

Since endogenous depression is a genetic mood disorder, patients predisposed to this form of depression generally develop the condition when the chemical imbalances in the brain become more severe. Stress along with other traumatic circumstances can also influence the onset of this condition but in most cases the patient will not be able to associate any particular event with the advent of the disorder. Endogenous depression can affect people of all age groups and most patients realize that they’re suffering from the disorder only after the symptoms are manifested.

Treatment

How is endogenous depression treated? Endogenous depression can be also called as biochemical depression. It tends to run in families, as in genetic factors, and is generated by brain chemistry and imbalances of serotonin (it’s one of the "feel good" hormones that helps us to sleep) or other neurotransmitters. Most of anti-depressant medications prescribed currently are chemicals that maintain or improve serotonin levels. Even the natural approach that utilizes diet, herbs, and amino acids is geared toward raising serotonin levels.

Often though, with endogenous depression, the sufferer has difficulty controlling depressive thoughts and as such, in this situation a very specific form of counseling, CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, is also indicated.

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There are also certain food items and natural supplements which would be useful in alleviating endogenous depression, such as omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, vitamin B compounds, and folic acid found in broccoli, asparagus, and spinach. Research reports have indicated that increasing the intake of all three compounds is extremely effective in reducing the condition and / or preventing depression from setting in. Regular intake of salmon and other fish that are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids has been found to relieve the symptoms of depression.

Self-Help

Self help for endogenous depression may seem like an unrealistic objective when you have absolutely no interest in anyone or anything outside the black hole you find yourself in. That is why you need to have someone who will call you every day. It can be a close friend or family member. That is the first self help for endogenous depression tip. A tiny first step in keeping a supportive relationship alive and well…

The second self help for endogenous depression tip is to make a list of all the things that you liked or even still like doing and which give you pleasure. This can range from food, music, a movie, a hot bath, a long walk or even playing with a dog or cat. If you can aim to do one or two of these things every day, that is a great start.

The third self help for endogenous depression tip is not to underestimate the power of exercise. Scientists now are absolutely certain that any form of exercise has such a beneficial effect on our mood (and also on our body) that it can sometimes even replace anti-depressants. If you are stressed out or just totally down, exercise can really lift your mood and get those endorphins going which in turn raise your serotonin levels. It is no accident that endorphins are called 'happy chemicals’. Brisk walking for thirty minutes a few times a week can do the trick if you have no will power to face the gym and all that goes with it.

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Summary

Like any other type of depression, endogenous depression is treatable. While treatments may not seem to work at first, they will over time. It is important for anyone who wishes to work through their depression to be open and honest with their therapist so that the therapist can have a clear understanding about what the patient needs. With the proper information, the therapist can be sure to choose the right medication and/or other treatments that would best work in the patient’s favor. Depression is not something to ignore or shy away from getting help for. If anyone thinks they might be suffering from depression, they need to consult a therapist so they can get the help they need.

Untreated, this mental condition can cause severe problems for the affected person and his or her loved ones. Several cases of untreated endogenous depression result in suicide, mainly because afflicted persons feel depressed for no particular reason and ultimately feel totally helpless and hopeless; they then finally contemplate ending their lives.

It is extremely important for family members to ensure that persons suffering from depression endogenous get proper professional help. Family and friends should also ensure that persons suffering from depression are encouraged to engage in activities which keep them occupied and interacting with people. If possible, affected persons should also try and enroll into an exercise routine, as well as yoga and meditation. These will help calm and relax them on a long-term basis.

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