“Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.”
The influence of biochemistry on human behavior is complex and incompletely understood. While we must acknowledge the physiologic basis of all behavior, there is a point in clinical practice at which a disorder manifests itself primarily as abnormal thought and behavior. In these cases, we often categorize the patient’s problem as a “mental”, rather than a physical illness.
Depression is a particularly common mental illness. All of us have been saddened by loss of a loved one or some other adverse life event. While this is normal, sadness that is especially severe, persists for an abnormally long time, or has no obvious external cause, is called depression. Along with the feelings of sadness and hopelessness, depression can cause physical symptoms such as disturbances of sleep and appetite. Consequences can include difficulty performing activities of daily living, school and employment problems, abuse of drugs and alcohol, and even suicide.