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      HealthWACH: Treating depression

      HealthWACH: Treating depression

      COLUMBIA (WACH)

      Depression and bipolar disorder are two psychological illnesses that affect countless amounts of people world-wide. Depression is a constant feeling of sadness and unhappy emotions that causes physical and emotional pain. It is defined as a chronic illness that requires long-term treatment to stay healthy. Bipolar disorder is known as a manic-depressive illness. This illness is a brain disorder that continuously changes the mood of a person. It can also affect energy and activity levels as well as the ability to complete daily tasks.

      Signs of depression include deceased energy, fatigue, trouble concentrating, feeling of helplessness and hopelessness, irritability, excessive sleeping or insomnia, appetite loss or overeating, suicidal thoughts, ??empty?? feelings, and persistent headaches. These symptoms all lead to depression if they do not subside. Symptoms for bipolar disorder are dramatic and unpredictable. A person who suffers from this illness has a constant change of uncontrollable mood swings. Typically these symptoms include increased energy, happiness, irritability, restlessness, and an intense sex drive.

      Depression and bipolar disorder can now be treated with electroconvulsive therapy treatments. Originally developed in the late 1930s, ECT treatments were not favored, but now the improved therapy is safe and effective for patients, and it does not cause any pain or discomfort. Before the procedure, patients are sedated with anesthesia and a muscle relaxer to prevent the patient form moving during the treatment. Once the patient is sedated, doctors place electrodes on the head which delivers an electric current through the brain. This causes an induced seizure but only lasts about one minute or less. In order to notice progress form ECT treatments, a patient must undergo the procedure about 3 times a week until signs of depression or bipolar disorder subside. This method of battling psychological illnesses has evolved from its first attempts, and has shown that it can be more effective than prescribed medication. Common side effects such as headache, muscle aches, and upset stomach may occur, but the results can be life-changing.