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Depression Symptoms and Treatments
Depression is a psychiatric disorder that causes people to feel sad and hopeless. It can cause problems at work, school and in family relationships. It can also make it hard to sleep or think clearly. Symptoms of depression can be mild to severe and last for weeks or months. People of all ages can have depression. It can affect men and women differently. In children, depression may look like irritability or trouble paying attention in school. Depression is different from sadness or grief, which are reactions to a loss or bad event.
If symptoms are severe, a person may have thoughts of suicide or self-harm. Anyone who has these feelings should seek help right away. A health care provider who has experience treating mood disorders can help determine the best treatment for you. The most common treatments for depression are psychotherapy and medication. Sometimes, a combination of the two works best.
Psychotherapy (talk therapy) is a type of treatment that helps you change unhealthy emotions, thoughts and behaviors. The most common type is cognitive behavioral therapy, which teaches you how to change your thinking and behavior. Other types of psychotherapy include couples therapy, family therapy and group therapy. Group therapy can be helpful for some people because it gives them a chance to learn from other people who are also dealing with depression.
You can find a therapist by word of mouth, asking friends and family for recommendations. A primary care doctor or a mental health clinic can also provide referrals. National mental health organizations can also offer lists of licensed credentialed providers. You can also find a therapist by searching online. If you are concerned about cost, some therapists offer low-cost or sliding-scale fees.
Medications can change the way your brain chemicals work, which reduces the symptoms of depression. Many different kinds of antidepressants are available, and it may take some time to find the one that works for you. It’s important to stick with your treatment plan, even if you don’t immediately feel better.
If you have thoughts of suicide, call 911 or your local emergency number or text TALK to 741741 to connect with a crisis counselor. Calling a suicide hotline can save your life.
Some things can increase your chances of developing depression, including a family history of the illness and certain illnesses or medications. Certain genes can also make you more likely to have the disease. Depression can also be triggered by certain events or circumstances, called triggers. If you have depression, it’s important to understand what makes your symptoms worse so that you can prevent them from getting worse. It’s also important to know how to recognize the difference between depression and sadness or grief. People with depression often confuse these feelings, and they might not seek the help they need. For example, they may blame themselves for feeling sad or guilty about something that happened. They may also mistakenly think that depression is a normal response to a difficult situation.