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Depression Depression is very commonly seen by general practitioners GPs as well as by psychotherapists and psychiatrists Unfortunately not all general practitioners are as well trained as they should be to know how to handle depression patients It is important that general practitioners know what symptoms to look for when diagnosing a patient as depressed and how to treat those symptoms Everybodys mood varies according to events in the world around them People are happy when they achieve something or saddened when they fail a test or lose something When they are sad some people say they are depressed but the clinical depressions that are seen by doctors differ from the low mood brought on by everyday setbacks Psychiatrists see a range of more severe mood disturbances and so find it easier to distinguish these from the normal variations of mood seen in the community General practitioners need to be sensitive enough to distinguish emotional reactions to setbacks in life from anxiety syndromes somatisation and clinical depressions The general idea is that anxiety disorders depressive episodes somatisation and adjustment reactions are all different entities but in practice it is not always that clear-cut Major depression as defined by psychiatrists is unfortunately relatively common As a student studying in the medical field it is quite interesting to me to know how a GP should handle a depressed patient What is depression The term affect refers to ones mood or spirits Affective disorder refers to changes in mood that occur during an episode of illness marked by extreme sadness depression or excitement mania or both Depression is a disorder of affect Affective disorders are predominantly disturbances of mood that are severe in nature and persistent despite the influence of external events Depression is characterized by severe and persistent low mood which is often unresponsive to the efforts of friends and family to cheer the sufferer up Patients who suffer with repeated episodes of
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