Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It affects how you feel, think, and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn’t worth living.
Symptoms of Depression
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
- Decreased energy, fatigue, being “slowed down”
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
- Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain
- Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
- Restlessness, irritability
- Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please see a mental health professional for diagnosis and treatment. Depression is a treatable condition. With proper help, it can be managed successfully.
Depression affects people of all ages, from young children to older adults. It is more common in women than men, and there are different types of depression that can occur at different times in a person’s life. Depression is also more common in people who have a family history of the condition.
What Causes Depression
There is no single cause of depression. Rather, it is thought to be a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.
Depression often runs in families, which suggests that there may be a genetic component. But even if you have a family history of depression, it does not mean that you will necessarily develop the condition.
Biological factors may also play a role in the development of depression. For example, people with certain medical conditions (such as thyroid problems or chronic pain) are more likely to develop depression.
Environmental factors, such as stress or a major life event (such as loss of a job or the death of a loved one), can trigger episodes of depression.
And finally, psychological factors such as low self-esteem or negative thinking can contribute to the development of depression.
What happens when you are depressed?
If you are depressed, you may experience a number of different symptoms. These can include changes in mood, energy levels, appetite, sleep patterns, and interest in activities. You may also have physical symptoms, such as headaches or digestive problems.
Depression can make it difficult to concentrate, remember things, or make decisions. You may find it hard to get out of bed in the morning or may feel exhausted all the time. You may also lose interest in activities that you used to enjoy, such as hobbies or spending time with friends and family.
Depression can make it hard to function at work or school, and can lead to social isolation. It can also cause relationship problems.
How is depression diagnosed?
A diagnosis of depression is made based on a clinical evaluation. This means that a mental health professional will ask you about your symptoms, medical history, and family history. They may also do a physical exam to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms.
You may also be asked to fill out a questionnaire or rating scale to help with the diagnosis. The most common one is the Beck Depression Inventory.
If you are diagnosed with depression, your mental health professional will work with you to develop a treatment plan. This may include medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of both.
Treatment for Depression
There are many effective treatments available for depression, including medication, psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes.
Medication can be used to correct any imbalances in your brain chemicals that may be causing your depression. The most common type of medication used to treat depression is antidepressants. These come in many different forms, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).
Psychotherapy is a form of counseling that can help you identify and change any negative thoughts and behaviors that may be contributing to your depression. It can also help you develop healthy coping skills.
The type of treatment that is right for you will depend on the severity of your symptoms and your personal preferences. If you have mild depression, you may only need to see a therapist for a few sessions. If you have severe depression, you may need to take medication and see a therapist on a regular basis.
Lifestyle changes, such as getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep, can also help improve symptoms of depression.
What are the side effects of depression medication?
The most common side effects of antidepressants are dry mouth, nausea, anxiety, insomnia, and sexual dysfunction. These side effects usually go away after a few weeks as your body adjusts to the medication.
If you are taking an SSRI, you may also experience a rare but serious side effect called serotonin syndrome. This can occur if you take more than one type of antidepressant or if you take an SSRI along with certain other medications. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome can include confusion, agitation, sweating, muscle twitching, and seizures.
Natural Remedies for Depression
There are several natural remedies that have been shown to be effective in treating depression. Some of these include omega-3 fatty acids, St. John’s wort, and SAMe.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish oil supplements. They have been shown to be helpful in treating depression by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain.
St. John’s wort is a herb that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of conditions, including depression. It is thought to work by increasing levels of serotonin and other brain chemicals.
SAMe is a compound that is naturally produced in the body. It is involved in the production of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin. SAMe supplements have been shown to be effective in treating depression.
If you are considering taking any natural remedy for depression, it is important to speak with your doctor first. This is because some herbs and supplements can interact with medications.
Long Term Effect
Depression can have a number of long-term effects. These can include physical health problems, such as heart disease and stroke. Depression can also lead to mental health problems, such as anxiety and suicidal thoughts.
If you are suffering from depression, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional. With treatment, you can reduce the effects of depression and improve your quality of life.
If you think you may be depressed, please see a mental health professional for an evaluation. Early diagnosis and treatment is important for managing depression successfully. There are many effective treatments available, including medication, psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes.
If you or someone you know is in danger of harming themselves or others, call organization or government agency for support.