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What is Melancholia: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment?

What is Melancholia?

 Melancholia is a term used to describe the feeling of being deeply sad and desperate since that time. Also known as melancholic depression is a type of depression. About 15%-30% of people have this type of depression. This condition may have more severe symptoms than other types of depression and it’s harder to treat.

It is a major mental health condition characterized by persistent and intense feelings of sadness and hopelessness. The disorder can affect many areas of life and may also impact mood and behavior as well as various physical functions. People with this condition often lose interest in activities they once enjoyed and have trouble getting through the day. Occasionally, they may also feel as if life isn’t worth living.

What are the Symptoms of Melancholia?

  • Depression that is consistently worse in the morning
  • A different quality of depressed mood characterized by profound despair, sadness, or emptiness
  • Sleep badly and wale early in the morning
  • Lose their appetite and lose weight
  • Extreme or inappropriate guilt
  • Think about suicide

What Causes Melancholia?

The typical causes of this condition are changes in the brain and hormonal pathways. This is due to the malfunction of the adrenal glands, hypothalamus, and pituitary glands. These glands release chemicals that regulate stress and appetite. With this condition, you may have high levels of steroids and cortisol. These are hormones that are made by your adrenal glands when you are stressed. This affects many different functions in your body, including your metabolism, appetite, and memory. You may also have changes in brain signals called neurons. These signals affect how you respond to your surroundings.

What is the Treatment for Melancholia?

Psychotherapy and medication are often part of the treatment plan for this condition because it is believed to have a biological root. Causes of melancholic depression appear to be mainly due to genetic makeup and brain function, necessitating a medication that works on biological causes like brain function. Types of antidepressants used for this condition are:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. These works by changing the way the neurotransmitter serotonin works in the brain, thereby improving mood
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. It affects the way both serotonin and norepinephrine work in the brain. 
  • Norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors. It affects norepinephrine and dopamine.
  • Atypical antidepressants. These medications affect brain chemicals that seem to improve mood. 

In addition to medication, psychotherapy is also used to treat people who have MDD with melancholic symptoms. A combination of these two treatment methods is usually more effective than either approach on its own. This involves meeting with a therapist on a regular basis to discuss symptoms and related issues. It helps a patient in the:

  • Adjusting to a crisis or other stressful event
  • Managing or replacing negative beliefs and behaviors with positive, healthy ones
  • Improving communication skills and producing healthy coping mechanisms to solve problems
  • Regain a sense of satisfaction and control in life and boost self-esteem

Medication Used for Melancholia

Venlafaxine. It is an atypical antidepressant drug referred to as serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor. It works by increasing the levels of mood-enhancing chemicals called serotonin and noradrenaline in the brain. The side effects of this medication include feeling sick, headaches, sweating, and dry mouth are common. They are usually mild and go away after a couple of weeks.

Warnings and Precautions When Taking Venlafaxine

  • It can make your heart beat faster or cause an irregular heartbeat, so your doctor may not think it is suitable if you are already taking medicine for your heart.
  • Talk to your doctor if you have a history of blood pressure and heart problems before taking this medication.
  • If you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, avoid this medication or talk to your doctor about its risks and benefits.
  • Take this medication as instructed by your physician and avoid inconsistent dosing.

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