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Depression – What is It?
Depression is a common mental health disorder that can cause deep emotional pain for the person suffering from it and for their loved ones. It affects people of all ages, races, religions and cultures. It affects many areas of life including mood, thinking, relationships and daily activities.
Despite ongoing efforts by researchers, medical professionals and patients to raise awareness about depression and its impact on people’s lives, stigma continues to be a significant barrier for those who need to seek help. This is largely due to the damaging misconceptions that exist regarding depression, which prevent people from recognizing their symptoms and getting treatment.
The picture of depression that we often see in the media isn’t necessarily accurate. The condition is a complex, insidious and deeply personal illness that is often difficult for the sufferer to understand.
It’s not something that can be “snapped out of your mind” or a weakness or character flaw that you can “snap out of.” Instead, depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain that needs to be treated with medication and therapy.
Depression can have many different symptoms, and how severe they are, how often they occur and how long they last will vary from person to person. However, there are some common signs and symptoms of depression that you should look for if you or someone you know is experiencing them.
One of the most common and obvious depression symptoms is low mood. This can include feelings of hopelessness, sadness, irritability, fatigue and guilt. It can also include changes in appetite, sleep and how much you want to do.
Another common symptom of depression is loss of interest in activities. This can include things you once enjoyed, such as eating, exercising and spending time with friends or family. It can also include changes in your work or career.
Other common depression symptoms are problems with concentration or memory. These may include poor focus, problems remembering important events or trouble with decision-making. They can also include thoughts of suicide.
Some people with depression also experience physical signs such as muscle aches and headaches. They can also have trouble sleeping and feel tired all the time.
The most effective treatment for depression is taking a medicine called antidepressants. These medications affect the chemical balance in your brain, and they need to be taken for at least 4 to 6 weeks before you start to see an improvement. You can then take them for a number of months to help reduce your depression and help you avoid relapses.
Your healthcare provider can help you decide what type of medication is best for you and your lifestyle. Some people need to take multiple types of antidepressants before they find the right fit for them.
Keeping a positive outlook and working to manage your stress are also very helpful in managing depression. Having good social support and staying connected with your loved ones can also help you cope with depression.