Depression – What is It?
When you have depression, your mood is usually low and you may have other symptoms like sleep problems, irritability and restlessness. These symptoms make it hard to function at work, school or socially.
If you have more than five of the above symptoms in a two-week period, your doctor can diagnose you with depression. This is called major depression or clinical depression.
Many people who have depression feel better after a course of medication. Other treatments may include psychotherapy, or talking with a mental health professional to help you change your behavior and thoughts.
Your health history can also be a factor in whether or not you get depression. Having certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or thyroid problems, can increase your risk of depression. Other conditions, such as menopause and pregnancy, can also trigger depression.
Genetics, family history and early life experiences can also contribute to your risk of depression. You are more likely to have depression if you have a parent or sibling with it. It is also more common if you have had a life-changing event, such as the loss of a job or a relationship breakdown.
If your depression is severe enough that it interferes with your everyday life, you may need hospital or residential treatment. These facilities have psychiatric nurses and other professionals who can provide treatment in a safe, supportive environment.
There are different types of depression and the right treatment for you depends on the severity of your symptoms and how long you have been depressed. Antidepressant medications are the most commonly used therapy for most people.
Other therapies are also available, including cognitive-behavioral therapy and problem-solving therapy. These therapies can be very effective and may be more successful if they are combined with other methods of treatment, such as exercise, sleep-regulation and dietary changes.
Brain stimulation therapy is another option for some people with depression. This type of treatment involves passing electric currents or magnetic pulses through your brain to stimulate the neurotransmitters in your brain that control your mood. These therapies are sometimes referred to as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) or transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
Your doctor may suggest one of these approaches only after you have tried antidepressant medications and have not seen any improvement.
The most common way to treat depression is to use a combination of medication and psychotherapy. This can help you manage the symptoms of depression and make it easier to do everyday activities like going to work or having a conversation with your spouse.
It is important to take the right medication and stay on it for the recommended length of time to reduce your risk of relapse. It is also important to keep your doctor updated about how you are doing and what symptoms you have had recently.