Psychiatrist Prof. Julio Vallejo Ruiloba, MD, PhD


Depression is a common illness (5-6% of the general population) and its recognition in society dates back to Greek times. Its causes are mainly of emotional origin and the illness is characterized by psychological symptoms (sadness, helplessness, low self-esteem) and physical symptoms (loss of appetite, tiredness, pain, sleeping disorders), although the most common sign is sadness.

Depressions require a thorough diagnosis, given that symptoms are often similar to those suffered when a person goes through an emotionally straining period in life or the symptoms may be associated to another illness. Not all depressions are the same and they do not share the same cause. Some may stem from constitutional-hereditary factors of a physical nature (endogenous depressions) while others may be triggered by painful life events or personal problems (psychogenic, neurotic or psychological depressions).

The type of depression determines the treatment required. In the case of endogenous depressions the treatment is pharmacological while in neurotic depressions psychological methods are employed. A prompt detection and treatment of depression is essential to prevent chronification (20% of patients).

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