Depression – What Are the Symptoms and Treatments For Depression?
Symptoms of depression can range from feeling sad to losing interest in things that used to give you pleasure. They can also include loss of energy and a change in your sleeping patterns.
The disorder usually starts in your twenties or early thirties but can be experienced at any age, with a higher rate in women. It can be triggered by a number of things including social isolation and a lack of support from family and friends.
Some people with depression may have a physical problem such as thyroid problems, a brain tumour or vitamin deficiency. These conditions can be difficult to diagnose but can mimic symptoms of depression.
Your doctor can tell if you have depression by asking you to talk about your symptoms and how you are feeling. They may ask if you feel like your life has become meaningless or if you are having thoughts of suicide.
How severe your depression is will determine the type of treatment you will receive. For most people, a combination of medication and therapy is the best solution.
Antidepressants are medications that can help to reduce feelings of sadness and increase your energy levels. They work by changing the way your brain works.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is another type of treatment that helps you learn ways to reframe negative thinking and manage your feelings of depression. It can also teach you practical skills for coping with stress and how to improve your relationships.
Sometimes people find that medication doesn’t seem to be helping them, so they look at other treatments as a last resort. Some of these treatments can be as effective as antidepressants, but they take a long time to work.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) uses a coil to send magnetic pulses through your head to stimulate specific areas of the brain that regulate mood. This can be helpful in treating severe depression but is usually only suggested after other therapies haven’t worked.
Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is an alternative treatment that works on the same area of the brain as TMS but is less invasive and can be used in conjunction with other treatments for depression.
Other forms of treatment can include supportive counselling, where a qualified therapist can help you deal with the effects of your depression. This can be an individual session, or a group of people with similar issues to you.
Counselling is usually very effective in treating milder cases of depression, and can be used alone or in conjunction with other forms of treatment. It can also be useful if you have other underlying medical or mental health conditions, such as anxiety or a sleep disorder.
Choosing the right treatment for you can be a challenge, but it is important to find a professional who is qualified in this area. If you aren’t sure who to go to, talk to your GP or get in touch with the National Alliance on Mental Illness for help finding a therapist.