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Depression – A Common Mental Health Problem That Can Be Treated Effectively
Depression is a disorder that affects how you feel, think and act. It is a common mental health problem that can be treated effectively.
The disorder results from a combination of biological, psychological and social factors. People who have a family history of depression, or who are exposed to major adverse events in their lives (for example, job loss, bereavement and relationship breakdown) are more likely to develop it.
It is a long-term condition, so it takes time to recover from it. You should seek help as soon as possible, so that you can begin to manage your symptoms and reduce the risk of a worsening condition.
Your doctor can diagnose depression by examining your symptoms and a medical history. He or she will ask you questions about how long your symptoms have been present and run tests to check for physical causes.
Treatment is a mixture of therapy, medication and self-care. These treatments can help you to improve your mood and feelings of hopefulness, reduce symptoms and increase energy.
The goal of treatment is to find the best combination that works for you and your situation. Talk to your health care provider and follow the directions carefully to get the most benefit.
Symptoms of depression vary widely and can include feelings of sadness, irritability, fatigue, lack of interest in normal activities, poor sleeping habits and thoughts about suicide. You may also be withdrawn from friends and family.
Some of these symptoms are normal, and they may happen to everyone from time to time. But if you have more than 5 of these symptoms for at least two weeks, they could be signs that you have depression.
If you have symptoms of depression, you should see a doctor as soon as possible to get treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent the development of serious and even life-threatening conditions, such as suicidal thoughts or attempts at suicide.
Your health care provider can test for a physical cause of your depression and prescribe medications to treat it. He or she may do a physical exam, perform lab tests and order blood work to check your thyroid or vitamin levels.
Medications for depression usually take 4 to 6 weeks to have their full effect, so it is important to stay on them until you start seeing improvement. It is also important to never stop taking them without first talking to your healthcare professional.
Antidepressants are the most commonly used medications for depression and can help a person with the condition to feel better. They work by changing how the brain’s chemicals are made.
Many people with depression respond to these medications, but others need to try several different types of antidepressants before finding one that works for them. It is also important to stay on these medicines to avoid withdrawal effects if you suddenly stop taking them.
Other methods to reduce symptoms of depression include exercise, diet and stress management techniques. Practicing mindfulness meditation, yoga or tai chi can also be helpful.