A Living Hell. Part 2.
About this work
This episode deals with the difficulties of patients in recognising and seeking help for clinical depression and of doctors in diagnosing it. Untreated depression can lead to physical illness, job loss and marriage breakdown. Among the aspects of depression to which Prof. Lewis Wolpert gives closer examination are post-natal and childhood depression. There is also the case of a patient whose mental decline and extreme physical symptoms baffled doctors until an endocrinologist diagnosed Cushing's syndrome, normally a stress related illness, but in this case triggered by a tiny lung tumour which caused excessive cortisol production - showing that depression can have a purely physical origin. Chemical changes in the brain are of vital importance and this episode concludes with news of advances in the understanding of brain chemistry and of imaging the brain so as to identify brain activity associated with depression. Drugs are now available to regulate this activity.
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