by: Patrick Lee

Body System Affected

The brain is the main part of the body that is affected by depression. Neurotransmitters are naturally occurring brain chemicals that probably have a part causing in depression. When your neurotransmitters are out of balance, it may be associated with symptoms of depression.
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Signs and symptoms

  • Feelings of sadness, emptiness or unhappiness
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities, such as sex
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Tiredness and lack of energy, so that even small tasks take extra effort
  • Changes in appetite — often reduced appetite and weight loss, but increased cravings for food and weight gain in some people
  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness — for example, excessive worrying, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that are not your responsibility
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Frequent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches


Current research shows that depression often correlates with chemical imbalances in the brain. Chemicals that may have abnormal levels include serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. These chemicals act as neurotransmitters in the brain. They send signals from one nerve cell to another, which affects how people feel, think, or behave. Hormone imbalances or severe vitamin deficiencies may also affect some patients.


  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Doctors often start by prescribing an SSRI. These medications are safer and generally cause fewer bothersome side effects than do other types of antidepressants. SSRIs include fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), citalopram (Celexa) and escitalopram (Lexapro).
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Examples of SNRI medications include duloxetine (Cymbalta), venlafaxine (Effexor XR) and desvenlafaxine (Pristiq).
  • Norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs). Bupropion (Wellbutrin) falls into this category. It's one of the few antidepressants not frequently associated with sexual side effects.
  • Atypical antidepressants. These medications don't fit neatly into any of the other antidepressant categories. They include trazodone and mirtazapine (Remeron). Both are sedating and usually taken in the evening. A newer medication called vilazodone (Viibryd) is thought to have a low risk of sexual side effects.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants. Tricyclic antidepressants — such as imipramine (Tofranil) and nortriptyline (Pamelor) — tend to cause more severe side effects than do newer antidepressants. So tricyclics generally aren't prescribed unless you've tried an SSRI first without improvement.
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). MAOIs — such as tranylcypromine (Parnate) and phenelzine (Nardil) — may be prescribed, typically when other medications haven't worked, because they can have serious side effects. Using MAOIs requires a strict diet because of dangerous (or even deadly) interactions with foods ― such as certain cheeses, pickles and wines ― and some medications including birth control pills, decongestants and certain herbal supplements. Selegiline (Emsam), a newer MAOI that you stick on your skin as a patch, may cause fewer side effects than other MAOIs do. These medications can't be combined with SSRIs.
  • Other medications. Other medications may be added to an antidepressant to enhance antidepressant effects. Your doctor may recommend combining two antidepressants or medications such as mood stabilizers or antipsychotics. Anti-anxiety and stimulant medications might also be added for short-term use.


The reason I chose this topic is because I suffer from depression and so do a few of my family members. Also I wanted to draw attention to this mental illness because depression is generally not talked about and people tend to have a misconception about depression. Most people think that people with depression can just "get over it" or "snap out of it" but in reality it is a big problem in our society and many people you know might suffer from depression so don't think its not an issue at our school. It's an issue at many schools and households worldwide.

Works cited

“Bostic, Jeff Q., and Michael Craig Miller. "When Should You Worry?." Newsweek 145.17 (2005): 60. Middle Search Plus. Web. 22 Jan. 2015.

"Break the Silence for Suicide Attempt Survivors." JD Schramm:. Web. 22 Jan. 2015. <>.

"Confessions of a Depressed Comic." Kevin Breel:. Web. 22 Jan. 2015. <>.

"Depression (major Depressive Disorder)." Depression (major Depression) Treatments and Drugs. Web. 21 Jan. 2015. <>.

"Depression (major Depressive Disorder)." Depression (major Depression) Symptoms. Web. 22 Jan. 2015. <>.

"Depression (major Depressive Disorder)." Depression (major Depression) Causes. Web. 21 Jan. 2015. <>.