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Depression – What You Need to Know
Depression is an illness that affects how you feel, think and behave. It causes feelings of sadness, irritability and loss of interest in daily activities. It can be a very serious condition that can have a lasting impact on your life, affecting your work and relationships with others.
It can lead to thoughts of suicide and is the fourth leading cause of death in 15-29 year olds. The sooner you start treatment, the better your chances of recovery.
Symptoms of depression vary from person to person and depend on the type and severity of the disorder. They can include feeling down all the time, having a hard time sleeping, wishing your life was over, avoiding social situations or trying to self-harm (cut yourself).
People who have a family history of depression are at an increased risk of developing depression themselves. They may also be more likely to have other mental health problems, such as anxiety or bipolar disorder.
Your brain chemistry and hormones can also play a role in depression. Changes in these chemicals can occur because of things like pregnancy, postpartum issues, thyroid problems or menopause.
Genetics can also increase your risk of depression, especially if you have a close relative with the condition. Other factors, such as a stressful or difficult childhood, a recent bereavement or a financial problem can also trigger symptoms.
Medications can be helpful in treating depression and can help to reduce symptoms. They are available through your healthcare provider. They can be used alone or in combination with psychotherapy (talk therapy).
If these therapies do not help, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be an option. This involves a brief electrical stimulation of the brain that is delivered under anesthesia.
The earliest treatment is usually most effective, so it is important to talk to your healthcare provider and discuss options for treatment as soon as possible.
Your treatment plan will depend on your specific needs and preferences, including how much you want to participate in treatments and what benefits are most important to you. The treatment you choose should take into account your medical and psychiatric history, the severity of your symptoms and your goals for improving your life.
You might also want to consider other options such as counselling, exercise, healthy eating, and stress management techniques. These strategies can also help you to manage depression and reduce its effects on your life.
Medication is an essential part of most depression treatment plans, but it isn’t always the best choice for everyone. You might have to try several different medications before you find one that works for you.
Other treatment options include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or group psychotherapy. This is a more intensive form of therapy that is geared toward helping you learn to control your thoughts and emotions.
There are also many self-help resources and support groups available for those suffering from depression, or for their loved ones. These can be found in your local community and on the Internet.