Sample Literature Review On Nursing: Depression

Type of paper: Literature Review

Topic: Depression, Psychology, Therapy, Treatment, Medicine, Brain, Feeling, Love

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2021/02/01


"I’m fed up of my life!", "I want to be alone!", "I’m good for nothing". All these feelings are the signals of depression. There are times when people feel low, disheartened and dejected. Sometimes these feelings occur without any proper reason. Having this kind of feelings in severe density for a long period of time is called depression (NHS Choices, 2013). The objective of this paper is to understand depression and how Electroconvulsive therapy applies to depression. The paper is divided into three sections. The first section discusses depression, its symptoms and causes. The second section deliberates how Electroconvulsive therapy applies to depression. The third section concludes the paper.

Depression-Meaning, symptoms and causes

This section is divided into three sub-sections. The first section discusses about depression. The second section enlists its symptoms. The third section highlights causes of depression.

What is Depression?

Depression makes life difficult for the people. It affects in day to day activities. People started loosing confidence in them, loose interest in work, hobbies, meeting with friends & family, feels isolated & worthless and wanted to spend more time alone. When depression becomes severe and prolong, it started hampering health as well. Depression, can also be called as major depression, clinical depression or major depressive disorder, is a medical sickness that affects the person’s thought process, behaviour and feeling (MediLexicon International Ltd, 2015).

Symptoms of Depression:

Depression is not just feeling sad or unhappy; it is a serious mental illness which can cause severe health issues, both mental and physical, if not gets treated on time. As per Dr Kenny (2014), a person is suffering from depression when he is reported to have the symptoms for last two weeks during most of the times of the day; and have minimum one core symptoms and at least five symptoms from the list below:

Core symptoms:

Feeling down at most of the times of the day.
Looses interest in normal activities which otherwise the person uses to enjoy.
Some of the other common symptoms:
Problem of having a peaceful sleep or deviation in the usual time and duration of the sleep.
Depression also affects in food intake of the person. Either the person gains too much weight or looses too much
Fatigue or tired
Restlessness, disturbance and annoyance
Difficulty in concentrating things
Feeling worthless, helpless and guilty
Feeling to kill themselves or the thought as life is not worthy to live
.What causes depression?
According to Smith, Saisan and Segal (2015), Depression is very complicated, it is not just the chemical imbalance of brain; but it is caused by the combination of genetic, mental and societal factors. Knowledge of causes of depression would help in the treatment of depression. Below are the eight common causes or factors which are more prone to depression in an individual.


Broken relationship
Financial crisis
Childhood trauma
Medical illness
Genetic characteristics
Physical or sexual abuse
Lack of support, isolation or loneliness
The examples given above are some of the common causes of depression; however it varies from individual to individual to react in a given circumstance. Some people cope up in these situations, some become depressed.

How Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) Applies to Depression?

There are several treatment for depression i.e. antidepressant drugs, counselling, changing of lifestyles and other psychotherapies. According to Goldberg (2014), ECT which is also referred as "electroshock therapy" is considered to be the most effective treatment for people who are otherwise difficult to treat. ECT is often taken wrongly as brutal and painful therapy. However the reality is that this therapy is painless as general anaesthesia is used for the treatment. It is considered as a life saving treatment for severe depression. ECT is a process in which electric charges gets transferred to the brain on purpose to cause seizure (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2012). This seizure in the brain influences the brain chemicals and helps in brain cells work better. Better functioning of brain cells and brain chemical also helps to improve the person’s mood which stops the symptoms of depression or other mental illness. In one of the research it was found that nine patients who were not responded to antidepressants or other therapies; showed good response when ECT is applied and found that depressed person is now showing decrease in connectivity in some parts of the brain (Szalavitz, 2012). Researchers found that ECT causes to decrease in the connections of “left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex" which is linked to negativity, pessimistic thoughts, ponderings and anxiety. Basically, ECT influences the connections of different part of the brains while in depression.
ECT has been used to treat severe depressed patients for about 70 years now and it is still the best treatment for the patients who are suffering from severe depression. It is also use to treat people with severe mania, severe depression, patient with schizophrenic syndromes, treatment-resistant epilepsy and those who are not improving with medication or in suicidal condition (Lisanby, 2012). As per British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (2013), in a survey conducted by ECT Accreditation Service in the year September 2004-February 2006 on patients who has gone through ECT, reported that more than 70% of the patients confirmed that ECT had been beneficial for them.
Now the question arises whether ECT is safe? According to SANE Factsheet (2014), ECT is considered to be safe therapy and no long term brain damage is reported so far. One of the most common side effects of ECT is short term memory loss. However, this problem generally deteriorates with time. Some of its other side effects include nausea, confusion, drowsiness, headache and aching of muscles.


Hence, depression is not just feeling low syndrome, it is a serious medical ailment which affects the human being both physically and emotionally. There are many symptoms of depression, for e.g. sleep disorder, restlessness, tiredness, feeling worthless, suicidal feeling, mostly feeling low and looses interest in the activities which earlier use to please him/her. A person is said to be depressed if he is suffering from the depression symptoms with at least last two weeks. The factors which causes depression varies from individual to individual as every individual behave differently in the given situation. There are many treatments for depression, however, Electroconvulsive Therapy or ECT is considered as one of the most effective therapy. ECT is used to treat severe depressed patients who are not able to recover from medication or other therapies. It is used by transferring electric current to the brain that causes seizure.


British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (2013). Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT). Retrieved from
Goldberg J. (2014). Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) for Depression. Retrieved from
Dr Kenny T. (2014). Depression. Retrieved from
Lisanby S. H. (2012). Treating Depression with Electroconvulsive Therapy. Retrieved from
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (2012). Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT). Retrieved from
MediLexicon International Ltd (2015). What is depression? What causes depression? Retrieved from
NHS Choice (2013). Clinical Depression. Retrieved from
SANE Factsheet (2014). Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT). Retrieved from
Smith M., Saisan J. and Segal J. (2015). Depression Symptoms and Warning Signs. Retrieved from
Szalavitz M. (2012). How Electroconvulsive Therapy Works for Depression. Retrieved from

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Sample Literature Review On Nursing: Depression. Free Essay Examples - Published Feb 01, 2021. Accessed April 20, 2024.

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