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Depression – What is It?
Depression is a mental health disorder that can affect your mood, thoughts and feelings. It can be a long-term, chronic condition and needs to be treated. It is also a serious illness that can lead to physical health problems if left untreated.
The cause of depression is not known, but it can be caused by a combination of genetic, biological, psychological and environmental factors. It can also be triggered by certain traumatic events or illnesses.
Symptoms of depression vary widely and can include feelings of sadness, hopelessness and worthlessness. These symptoms can also be accompanied by low energy, poor concentration and poor appetite.
Treatment for depression includes medication, counseling and lifestyle changes. It may take several weeks to get results from an antidepressant, so you should not be discouraged if you don’t see improvement right away.
Antidepressants work by changing the amount of specific brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. They are not always effective and sometimes need to be combined with other kinds of drugs. The type of drug you need will depend on the severity of your symptoms, the way they affect your life and any other medical conditions you may have.
Medication and counseling are the most common treatments for depression, and they work well for many people. Your doctor will prescribe the best medicine for your situation and help you choose the right dose. You should follow your doctor’s instructions closely, as it is important to take the medicine as directed.
Medications for depression are typically used in combination with psychotherapy (also called “talk therapy”) or with exercise and other healthy lifestyle changes. Medication can be taken for a long time, so you should keep taking it as prescribed and follow your doctor’s directions.
Counseling can be done by yourself or with a professional, such as a mental health counselor or therapist. Your therapist will help you identify the reasons for your symptoms and will give you coping skills to deal with them.
Your therapist will use different types of therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or talk therapy. Your therapist can teach you to change negative thinking patterns and habits that are causing your symptoms.
You may need to see a therapist on a regular basis for the best results. Your therapist can also help you cope with stress and provide support during times of crisis.
If your symptoms are very severe, you can go to the hospital or residential treatment center for psychiatric care. This will allow you to stay calm and safe until your depression improves.
Getting help early is important for recovery and can make a big difference in how quickly you recover. Having your depression treated early can help you to live a more normal, happy life.
Risk factors for depression include family history, a traumatic event in your life and stressful life circumstances. For example, being unemployed or losing a loved one can increase your risk for developing depression.
Gender can also play a role in your risk of developing depression. Studies have found that women are more likely to experience depression than men, but it’s unclear why this is the case. The hormonal changes that women go through at various times in their lives also can increase your risk of depression.