Symptoms and causes

Symptoms:

  • Gloomy mood and/or loss of interest and pleasure in almost everything
  • Feelings of guilt, self-blame and worry
  • Strong pessimism
  • Sometimes apathetic, resigned, appears numb
  • Self-accusations
  • The person in question does not conclude anything, is inactive and inhibited
  • Difficult to delayed thinking, preoccupied with death
  • Concentration issues
  • Perception of time is disturbed or delayed

Causes

Not all the causes listed below occur, and depression can also be caused by other things. Below is a list of some common causes:

  • Only physical symptoms e.g. hormonal disorders, liver disease, cancer, anaemia, heart attack, thyroid disease or neurological problems: Parkinson's disease or Huntington's chorea or e.g. tumours in the brain...
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency, due to gastric mucous membrane abnormality
  • Certain medications: antihypertensives, urinating medications, benzodiazepines
  • Environmental factors
  • Susceptibility to stress due to hyperactivity hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, increased secretion of cortisol
  • Vulnerability, for example, due to the person's past, personality ...
  • Deficiency of serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine; impaired functioning.

Diagnosis and treatment

Treatment

A depressive disorder can be treated with:

  • antidepressants
  • psychotherapy
  • maintaining a good daily rhythm
  • stopping alcohol and drug use
  • sufficient physical activity (walking, swimming, running, etc.)

There are different treatments possible; the psychiatrist will be able to recommend and/or prescribe an appropriate treatment.

Treatment centres and specialisations

Psychiatric Department

Latest publication date: 21/01/2021
Supervising author: Dr Raemdonck Jan