Depression – What You Need to Know
Depression is a serious mental illness that can affect your life, your relationships and your work. It can make you feel sad, hopeless and worthless, and may make it hard to sleep or focus. You may also feel angry, irritable or guilty.
If you think you might have depression, you should talk to your health care provider. They can do a thorough diagnostic evaluation and help you find the best treatment for your condition.
There are many factors that can cause depression, including genetics, brain chemistry and hormones. People with depression tend to have an imbalance of certain brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, which can make them feel depressed. Other factors that may increase your risk of depression include a recent stressful event or a medical condition.
Medications, therapy and other self-help methods are also often helpful in treating depression. Using these strategies, you can start to feel better and get back to living a more normal life.
The most common form of depression is called Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). It is characterized by feelings of sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, and other symptoms for most of the day every day. MDD is a chronic disease, which means that it may need ongoing treatment.
Antidepressants can be a great way to treat depression. But they are not a cure-all and don’t always work, which is why your healthcare professional will probably prescribe other treatments in addition to medication.
Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy or counseling, is a safe and effective way to help you deal with depression. Your therapist will help you learn how to cope with your feelings, manage stress, and develop new ways of thinking about the problems that caused your depression in the first place.
Problem-solving therapy, which focuses on identifying the most difficult issues and coming up with several solutions for them, is also an effective treatment option. Combined with antidepressant medication, therapy can be the most effective treatment option for most people with depression.
Other treatment options include exercise programs, acupuncture, and some dietary supplements. These have been shown to be as effective as antidepressants in some patients and may have less harmful side effects.
Family or couples therapy is also helpful for some people with depression. This type of therapy helps you and your partner understand how your depression affects you both and gives you some tools to prevent it from returning in the future.
Lifestyle changes, such as getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet can also help to alleviate depression symptoms. If your depression is severe, you might need to consider an inpatient or intensive outpatient program.
Prevention techniques, such as social support groups and coping skills education, can be effective in preventing depression. You can also try avoiding triggers that might lead to depressive symptoms, such as smoking, alcohol or drug use, and being in high-risk situations.
In addition, you can make healthier choices in your diet and choose activities that are enjoyable to you. By working to improve your mood, you can begin to regain your strength and your confidence.