Mental Illness/ Psychological Disorders

Depression is a mental disorder characterized by loss of interest, lack of activity, tiredness and fatigue, a change in appetite; sleeping more or less, feeling of worthlessness, and self-blame.
It may be caused by external factors such as social (marital disputes) or financial reasons, or sad events (death of loved ones), or internal factors that lead to physical changes in the brain.
Risk Factors:
Factors that seem to increase the risk of depression include:
  • Traumatic or stressful events, such as the death or loss of a loved one or financial problems.
  • Inherited factors.
  • Serious or chronic illness, including cancer and heart disease.
  • Certain medications.
Depression affect people in different ways, and may cause a wide range of symptoms ranging from consistent feeling of sadness and despair, loss of interest in most or all normal activities, and tearfulness. The symptoms of anxiety also appear in many people who suffer from depression.
The affected person may also show other physical symptoms such as tiredness, not having adequate sleeping, lack of appetite and sex drive and complaining of pain in different parts of his body. The severity of symptoms can vary and may be a persistent feeling of depression at the lowest level, while severe depression can lead a person to think about suicide and that he is worthless. Most people experience severe distress and anxiety at different times; however, bad mood may improve after a short time rather than be a sign of depression.
Medical history and clinical examination:

Seeing a psychiatrist is no different from seeing any other physician. As any other specialist dose, the psychiatrist firstly aims to diagnose the condition of his patient. Sometimes he may order laboratory tests, but not as much as other medical branches do.
Psychiatric examination is of two parts:
  1. Medical history.
  2. Examination of mental state.

Diagnosis is done through symptoms, clinical examination, laboratory tests and psychological measures.


  • Decline in the quality of life.
  • Anxiety disorder.
  • Problems at school, university or work.
  • Social isolation.
  • Self-mutilation, such as cutting.
  • Premature death from other medical conditions.
  • Suicide.
Treatment of depression includes either medications, psychotherapy sessions or combination of both, depending on the type of depression the patient has.

There is no sure way to prevent depression; because it involves several biological and behavioral factors; but there are steps through which can reduce its probability, and help diagnose and deal with it in its initial stages, including:
  • Practice physical activities.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Reach out to family and friends, especially in times of crisis.
  • Get acquainted with adequate and reliable information about depression, especially if you are susceptible to it.
  • Try dealing with and controlling stress.
Health Promotion and Education General Department
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Last Update : 15 March 2018 10:53 AM
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