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Depression – What You Need to Know
Depression is a serious mental health condition that affects the way you think, feel and act. It can also cause suicidal thoughts, and it can have negative effects on your physical health. It is important to see your doctor if you have symptoms of depression or a family member has a history of depression.
Depression can occur at any age, but it is most common in older people and women. It may be linked to a number of factors, including genetics, life circumstances and the structure of your brain. It is often more common in people who have had a stressful or traumatic experience.
Symptoms of depression can be debilitating and difficult to treat. If they are severe enough to cause you to avoid activities or relationships, or if they keep you from working, eating or sleeping, seek help as soon as possible.
Treatment for depression can include medication, therapy and other therapies. You and your doctor will work together to find the best combination of treatments for you.
Medication is usually the first treatment that is prescribed. It can be an antidepressant, a mood-stabilizing medication or both. Some medications work by affecting how your body produces and uses the neurotransmitter serotonin. The most commonly used drugs are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which can be effective in the early stages of depression.
Other medications can be used to reduce the severity of symptoms, or to increase your energy level or improve your sleep. These medicines can be taken in combination with a psychotherapy session or alone.
Psychotherapy can help you identify and change the things that are causing your depression, and learn to recognize and cope with negative emotions. It can also teach you coping skills that will last a lifetime.
Interpersonal therapy is another type of counseling that can be helpful in treating depression. During this type of counseling, you meet with a therapist to discuss your feelings and how they relate to others. You will also learn how to better communicate your emotions and expectations, and how to deal with conflicts with other people.
A combination of psychotherapy and medication can be the most effective way to treat depression. However, no one treatment works for all people. This is why it is important to try several different kinds of treatments before you decide on a treatment plan.
ECT can be an option for patients with very severe depression who have not responded to other types of treatment. It is usually administered by a psychiatrist and involves brief electrical stimulation of the brain while the patient is under anesthesia.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is another form of counseling that can be used to help patients identify and change behaviors that cause them to feel depressed. It can help them learn to set and reach goals, reduce negative thinking and increase positive attitudes.
Lifestyle changes can also be helpful in managing depression. By adjusting your diet, getting regular exercise and making time to spend with friends and family, you can take steps to reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life.