Depressive disorders are mood (affective) disorders. People who suffer from depression say that the main problems include: prolonged depressed mood, loss of the ability to feel pleasure, lack of motivation and decreased activity. These symptoms cause significant suffering and functional problems. Depression is not the same as sadness, which is a natural emotional response to different kinds of situations.
People who are diagnosed with major depressive disorder experience five or more of the following symptoms over a two-week period (after DSM V):
Depression is often accompanied by the feeling of tension, anxiety, fear or irritability, as well as psychotic symptoms. Depressive disorders differ in their course, depending on whether a patient is elderly, has a somatic illness, is postpartum, or if the disorder is substance or drug induced. Depression may have a recurring form, with periods of relief or improvement in symptoms. If your depressive symptoms last for at least two years, for most of your days, you may be dealing with dysthymia.
The lifetime risk of developing depression is 10-25% in women and 5-12% in men. Depression is a huge social problem that excludes many people from social and professional functioning. The risk of suicide in people suffering from depression is 50 times higher than in the general population.
Cognitive-behavioural theory believes that depression stems from maladaptive cognitive schemas developed in difficult, often traumatic experiences, and the adoption of a depressive style of behaviour. Depressed patients think negatively about themselves, the world and the future – we call this cognitive schema the “depressive triad”. Many thoughts of people suffering from depressive disorders are distorted, they deteriorate the mood and prevent effective problem solving.
Cognitive behavioural psychotherapy is an effective method of treating depressive disorders. The therapy goal is not only to improve patients’ mood and functioning, but also to prevent the disorder from recurring.

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