NOV 10, 2017 05:51 AM PST

Are You Sad or Clinically Depressed?

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed class of medication, second only to antibiotics. That's because depression affects more than 20 million people in the United States alone. Because depression often goes undiagnosed, this number could be even higher. And as the mental condition is tied to physical wellness, the incidence of depression is ever increasing.

Clinical depression is different than sadness following a traumatic life event, such as the loss of a loved one. Patients with clinical depression are diagnosed by trained physicians based on criteria set by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Symptoms of depression can vary, but typically include feelings of sadness and hopelessness, sleep disturbances, appetite changes, difficulty concentrating, lack of energy, and fatigue.

Currently, a popular treatment for depression option is with pharmacotherapy - using antidepressants to reduce mood symptoms. There are many classes of antidepressants, each targeting different neurotransmitters associated with depression. Though there are many options for which antidepressants patients can take, getting the right drug for the right patient is a challenge.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
NOV 06, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 06, 2018
The Rise of Thorium Nuclear Reactors
In the 1960s, an experimental reactor was built at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The scientists who worked on this project had one ingenious idea: to...
NOV 17, 2018
Videos
NOV 17, 2018
Using Genetic Research to Improve Animal Conservation and Care
A group of Peters's Angolan colobus monkeys were brought to US zoos from East Africa in the 80s, but little is known about them....
NOV 27, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 27, 2018
Here's What Makes Mars So Challenging to Land On
Humankind has sent spacecraft to a plethora of worlds in our solar system, including asteroids, comets, moons, and planets. Of all, Mars has consistently p...
DEC 07, 2018
Videos
DEC 07, 2018
A Common Pathogen: Norovirus
You've probably heard of norovirus before; it's a highly contagious family of viruses that can sicken large groups of people....
DEC 08, 2018
Videos
DEC 08, 2018
Repairing Broken Bones With 3D-Printed Scaffolds
Titanium implants and bone grafts can be painful. Researchers are creating a better way to fix damaged bones....
DEC 15, 2018
Videos
DEC 15, 2018
Why Does Your Nose Burn From Eating Wasabi?
Many of us might have thought we had wasabi; the green condiment that comes in packaged Sushi. But, more than often that is actually not wasabi—it&rs...
Loading Comments...