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Depression – What You Need to Know
Depression is a mood disorder that can interfere with your ability to work, study, and socialize. It can also affect your eating and sleeping habits, thoughts and emotions. It can cause significant distress and even lead to suicide.
It is a serious medical condition that can be treated, but it is important to get help as soon as possible. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks or months.
About 1 in every 6 people in the United States will have depression at some point in their lives. It is the most common mental illness, affecting millions of people each year.
Symptoms of depression include low mood, feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, changes in appetite and sleep, and a lack of energy. These symptoms usually last for at least two weeks and can affect other parts of your life too.
You may feel a lot better after you start taking an antidepressant medication. This medicine changes the way your brain works and can help you feel better. The dose of the medication you take depends on your specific needs.
There are several types of antidepressants, but each has different effects and side effects. Your doctor will tell you the right one for you. It can take a few weeks for the drugs to start working, and they can cause withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking them suddenly.
Your doctor might also recommend talking therapy or other treatments. Some of these therapies include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy, and family therapy. These therapies can help you understand your problems, change unhealthy patterns of thinking and behavior, and learn new ways to cope.
Diet and exercise can also be helpful for mild depression. These may help you feel more energetic, improve your sleep, and reduce the intensity of the symptoms of depression.
Herbs, vitamins, and supplements can also be useful. These can be taken by mouth or injected into the bloodstream. They may not be as effective as prescription medications, but they can help you feel better.
ECT, or electroconvulsive therapy, is an effective treatment for severe, life-threatening depression that has not responded to other medicines. This treatment causes a brief seizure to help relieve symptoms.
Electroconvulsive therapy is not for everyone, and it is only considered when other treatments haven’t worked or the person is unable to take an antidepressant drug. It is not recommended for pregnant women or women who are trying to become pregnant.
The goal of this treatment is to restore normal balance of chemicals in your brain. This usually helps you feel better within a few weeks and prevents the symptoms from coming back.
Getting started on therapy is easy with BetterHelp, our online therapist matching tool. Just fill out a short questionnaire and we’ll match you with an appropriate therapist in 48 hours.
Your therapist will use different approaches to treat your depression, depending on the type of disorder you have. This may include talk therapy, diet and exercise, and medication. It can also involve educating your family and friends about what depression is, how it affects you, and how to support you.