Depression is a common mental disorder that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease your ability to function at work and at home.
Depression is a serious medical illness, but it is highly treatable. With proper treatment, most people with depression can recover and lead full and productive lives.
Symptoms of depression
The main symptoms of depression include:
- Feeling sad, anxious, or empty
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
- Restlessness or feeling slowed down
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Causes of depression
The exact causes of depression are not fully understood, but it is thought to be caused by a combination of factors, including:
- Biological factors: Depression may be caused by changes in brain chemicals, such as serotonin and norepinephrine.
- Psychological factors: Depression may be caused by stressful life events, such as the death of a loved one, a job loss, or a divorce.
- Social factors: Depression may be more common in people who have experienced childhood abuse or neglect, or who have a family history of depression.
Treatment for depression
Depression is highly treatable. The most common treatments for depression are medication and psychotherapy.
- Medication: There are many different types of medications available for the treatment of depression. These medications work by increasing the levels of certain brain chemicals, such as serotonin and norepinephrine.
- Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy is a talking therapy that can help you to understand and change the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to your depression.
Other treatments for depression
Other treatments for depression include:
- Exercise: Exercise can help to improve your mood and energy levels.
- Light therapy: Light therapy is a treatment that uses bright light to help regulate your mood.
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS): TMS is a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate the brain.
There is no sure way to prevent depression, but there are things you can do to lower your risk, such as:
- Take care of your physical health: Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep can all help to improve your mood.
- Connect with others: Spending time with friends and family can help to reduce stress and loneliness.
- Learn to manage stress: There are many different ways to manage stress, such as relaxation techniques, exercise, and yoga.
- Seek help if you need it: If you are feeling depressed, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. With treatment, you can recover and lead a full and productive life.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, please reach out for help. There are many resources available, and you don’t have to go through this alone.
Here are some resources that can help:
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- The Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741
- The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)
- The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
You are not alone. There is help available. Please reach out for help if you need it.❤️