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Depression – What You Need to Know
Depression is a common mental disorder that can have serious effects on your life and the lives of your family. It causes sadness or a feeling of hopelessness, and interferes with your ability to work, sleep and enjoy your relationships. If you have depression, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible.
The symptoms of depression vary from person to person, but most people have a few of the following signs or symptoms: low mood, low energy, loss of interest in most activities, a constant sense of hopelessness or worthlessness and thoughts of death or suicide. You may also have trouble sleeping or eating.
Causes of depression depend on the person and can include brain chemistry, hormone levels, genetics, or social, cultural or environmental factors. Depression is more common in people with a family history of it or other mood disorders. It can also be caused by certain physical health conditions, such as a thyroid problem or a vitamin deficiency.
Lifestyle changes are one of the most effective methods for treating depression. Simple changes such as eating well, getting plenty of sleep and exercising can improve your mood.
Talking to someone about your feelings is also a great way to get help. Psychotherapy (also called talking therapies) can be helpful for coping with depression and is often combined with medications to help you manage your condition.
Your doctor or therapist can help you find the best treatment for your specific situation. They may recommend a combination of medication, therapy and lifestyle changes. They can also refer you to other medical providers for testing or surgery, if necessary.
Medication can be a good way to treat depression, but you should take it slowly and be aware of side effects. Your doctor or therapist can explain the risks of using medication and help you decide whether this is right for you.
Antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed medicine for depression. They work by blocking the activity of chemicals in your brain that can make you feel depressed. They are usually prescribed after other treatments haven’t been successful.
They can be given in pill form, by injection or under the tongue. You’ll need to have regular appointments with your doctor or a mental health professional to monitor your progress and ensure you are taking the correct dose.
Your doctor may also recommend other medicines that can help your symptoms, such as pain relievers, antacids and other drugs. You should always tell your doctor about any other medicines or supplements you are taking.
You should also ask your doctor about other forms of treatment such as exercise or meditation. These are not substitutes for medication or psychotherapy, but can be helpful in improving your symptoms and preventing them from coming back.
Avoiding alcohol or other drugs is another helpful tool for treating depression. These substances can increase your risk of experiencing another mood episode or withdrawal effects, so they should be avoided if at all possible.