Depression – What is It?
Depression is a serious, life-altering condition that can interfere with your daily life. It can cause problems with sleeping, eating and thinking, and it may make you feel worthless and hopeless. It’s also a leading cause of disability worldwide.
Symptoms of depression include a combination of emotions such as sadness, irritability and fatigue. They can also cause feelings of guilt and worthlessness. People with depression also have trouble concentrating, remembering details and making decisions. They can also have low self-esteem and have thoughts about suicide.
Treatment for depression can help to relieve symptoms and improve your quality of life. It can involve medication, psychotherapy and a combination of both.
Your health professional can help you decide which treatment option is right for you. They can talk with you about how your depression is affecting your daily life and what kind of side effects may occur from treatment.
The causes of depression are complex and include brain chemistry, hormones, genetics, and a person’s lifestyle and social support. Stressful life events, such as the loss of a loved one or a job, or physical illness can trigger depression.
It can affect anyone, including children and teenagers. Women are more likely than men to develop depression.
There are some risk factors that put you at higher risk for depression, such as early childhood trauma and medical conditions. For example, people who have had a stroke, heart attack or cancer are at higher risk for depression. Chronic pain, insomnia and drug or alcohol abuse can also increase the chances of developing depression.
You can try to manage your symptoms by taking regular exercise, doing things that you enjoy and trying to maintain a balanced diet. This can help to boost your mood and can also improve your sleep patterns, reducing your feelings of sadness.
If you feel depressed, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. See your GP or call a helpline such as Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87 or Samaritans on 116 123.
Your doctor will do a thorough evaluation, including an interview and a physical examination. Then they will look at your medical history and family and cultural background to arrive at a diagnosis. They will also look at your medications and other treatments you are using to see if they might be causing depression.
They may ask you to stop using certain medications or start taking other ones that do not have depression as a side effect. In addition, they can prescribe medication to treat any underlying health problems that might be causing your symptoms.
Antidepressants are commonly used to treat depression, but they can also be combined with other treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and antianxiety medications. They can help to ease depression by changing the way you think about and behave.
Other options for treating depression include meditation, yoga, acupuncture and exercise programs. These can help to boost your mood and may be more effective than drugs alone.