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Depression – What You Need to Know

Depression is a serious mood disorder that affects more than one million people in the United States. It is a condition that usually gets better with treatment and support. But it is not something you can “snap out of” or get rid of by “pulling yourself together.”

Depression causes a variety of symptoms that may include loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, difficulty thinking clearly, feelings of worthlessness or guilt and thoughts of death. Sometimes, the symptoms can be very severe. They can interfere with your everyday life and make it difficult to think clearly or do things you normally enjoy.

A therapist or counselor can help you find ways to manage your feelings. It is important to choose someone you can trust and who is experienced in treating depression. You can use a referral list from your primary care doctor or national mental health organizations to find a licensed credentialed therapist near you.

Medication is an important part of treatment for depression. Antidepressants increase the amount of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, in your brain. This helps to relieve depression by reducing feelings of sadness and by changing your thoughts so that they are less negative.

Your medications will depend on what type of depression you have and how severe it is. Your doctor will recommend the best medication for your situation and lifestyle. You may need to try several different types of drugs before you find one that works for you.

Exercise is another way to treat depression. Getting enough physical activity and sleep is important for both your mental and physical health. It can also improve your mood by reducing stress and anxiety.

Self-help and support groups are also helpful for people with depression. These groups can offer friendship, encouragement and support for your journey to recovery.

Avoiding triggers, such as stress, emotional or physical pain and stressful events is an effective way to prevent depression. Other factors that put you at risk include a family history of depression, significant adverse life events or certain medical conditions.

A therapist can help you learn new ways to deal with your feelings, as well as change some of your habits and attitudes that are contributing to the depression. You can also learn relaxation and stress-management techniques, such as meditation, progressive muscle relaxation or yoga.

Keeping a journal is another helpful tool for managing your emotions and thoughts. This can improve your mood by allowing you to express your feelings in a safe and private space.

Talking to a therapist can also help you identify the underlying causes of your depression and address them in a supportive environment. This will help you feel more in control and make the most of your recovery.

You can also work on your relationships with yourself and others by learning about positive affirmations, self-talk and other coping skills. Your therapist can also help you recognize your strengths, which may provide the motivation you need to get through the day.

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