Depression

Clinical depression is a debilitating psychiatric disorder characterized by a low mood, associated with changes in behavior, activity level, and thinking. It can become chronic or recurrent, significantly impairing the ability to cope with daily life. It affects more than 350 million people worldwide and is the leading global cause of disability.

The exact causes of depression are unknown, although, as with other mental disorders, various factors may occur such as physical changes in the brain, alterations in neurotransmitter levels, and/or changes in hormonal balance (for example, during pregnancy and postpartum).

In addition to the above, there are a number of risk factors that may trigger depression. These include:

  • Age: it is more common in adults, although it can appear at any time in life.
  • Women are more likely to suffer from it.
  • Having low self-esteem or being overly dependent can increase susceptibility to depression.
  • Traumatic or stressful situations, such as the loss of a loved one or financial problems.
  • Family history of other mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, alcoholism, or suicide.
  • History of other disorders such as anxiety or eating disorders.
  • Abuse of alcohol and drugs.
  • Having other illnesses such as cancer or those associated with chronic pain.
  • Certain medications.

Symptoms

Depression can occur once in a lifetime or appear recurrently. During this period, symptoms may include:

  • Feelings of sadness or downheartedness, wanting to cry, or hopelessness.
  • Mood swings and irritability.
  • Loss of interest in most usual activities.
  • Sleep disturbances.
  • Fatigue and lack of energy.
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss.
  • Slowness in speaking, reasoning, or moving.
  • Feelings of guilt.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Negative thoughts that may include suicidal thoughts.

Prevention

There are prevention programs that have been shown to reduce the risk of depression. Among community strategies, school programs to promote positive coping models among children, interventions aimed at parents of children with behavioral problems, or exercise programs for older adults stand out.

Additionally, there are other strategies that can be useful:

  • Avoiding stress.
  • Relying on family and friends to overcome moments of crisis.
  • Seeking treatment at the first signs of a problem (especially psychological issues).
  • Undergoing long-term support treatments to prevent the recurrence of symptoms in cases of recurrent depression.

Number of observed variants

13.5 million variants

Number of risk loci

96 loci

Genes analyzed

ACO1 ADARB2 ADGRL2 AGBL4 AREL1 ASTN2 B3GLCT BEND4 BRINP2 C6orf118 CACNA1E CCDC68 CELF4 CHMP3 CNTLN COP1 CSF3R CTNND1 CTTNBP2 CYP7B1 DAGLA DCC DCDC1 DENND1A DENND1B DNAJB9 DRD2 ELAVL2 ELAVL4 EMILIN3 EP300 ERCC4 ESR2 EYS FHIT GRIK2 GRIK3 GRM5 H1-5 HIVEP2 HTT KCNG2 KIAA1109 KIF2A KIRREL3 KLC1 KLF7 KLHDC8B KLHL29 LIN28B LRFN5 LSAMP LTBP3 MAD1L1 MAT2B MEIS2 METTL9 NCOA2 NEGR1 NR4A2 NRDC NUDT12 OLFM4 PAX5 PCDH9 PCLO POU5F2 PTPRD PUM3 RAB27B RBFOX1 RSRC1 RTN1 SAMD5 SCLT1 SEMA6D SEZ6 SGIP1 SHANK2 SHISA9 SLC12A5 SLC45A1 SLC6A15 SORCS3 SOX5 SPPL3 SPRY2 STK24 TCF4 TLR4 TMEM106B TMEM161B VRK2 ZNF502 ZNF536

Bibliography

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