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Video by Dr. Dawn Elise Snipes on integrative behavioral health approaches including counseling techniques and skills for improving mental health and reducing mental illness.
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Depression – What You Need to Know
Depression is a serious mood disorder that affects your thoughts, emotions and behaviour. People who have depression can have a difficult time with normal daily activities, and sometimes feel that life is not worth living. It is important to get help if you think you or someone you know might be suffering from depression.
Depression can be triggered by many different things, including illness or trauma. It is also more likely to occur in people who have a history of mental health problems or who are prone to stress.
If you or someone you know is feeling sad, low or irritable for more than two weeks, it could be a sign of depression. It can make you feel sad, hopeless and tired most of the time.
Some people find that a few changes in their lifestyle can help reduce their symptoms. For example, taking up a new hobby or exercise routine can boost your energy and lift your mood. Talking about what is causing you to feel unhappy may also help.
You might need to take antidepressant medication as well as other treatment. These medications help restore a balance of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, which send messages between nerve cells in the brain.
Medications can also improve your mood by replacing negative thoughts with more positive ones. The best medication for you will depend on your symptoms and your doctor’s recommendations.
Antidepressants usually take 4 to 6 weeks before they work effectively. Your doctor might recommend a variety of antidepressants before finding one that is right for you.
Your doctor may also suggest some form of psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or a combination of these treatments. Some people also need hospital or residential treatment if their depression is severe enough to interfere with their ability to take care of themselves or with others around them.
If you have a history of depression or you are experiencing symptoms for the first time, your doctor will conduct a thorough physical and psychiatric exam to diagnose the condition. They will also review your medical history and family history to see if you have any other conditions that might be related to your depression.
The cause of depression is not known, but it is thought to be linked to genetics, biochemistry and life circumstances. Certain environmental factors, such as violence, neglect and poverty, can increase the risk of developing depression.
It is thought that some people develop depression after their bodies are unable to produce the correct balance of chemicals that normal brain function requires. The brain’s chemical messengers, serotonin and noradrenaline, are believed to be disturbed in depression.
Triggers of depression include a person’s environment, family history, and life events such as a major loss, bereavement or separation. Symptoms can appear suddenly or may become worse over time.
There are several types of depression, but all are linked to changes in the brain’s chemicals. This may be a reason why some people have more than one type of depression.