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What is depression?

Depression is a type of mood illness characterized by a continuous sense of melancholy and a loss of interest. It affects how you feel, think, and behave and can lead to several mental and physical difficulties. It’s also known as major depressive disorder or clinical depression. Depression is more than a few days of being miserable or frustrated. Most individuals have down days, but when you’re depressed, you’re sad for weeks or months, not just a few days. 

Some people believe depression is a passing fad rather than a serious illness. They are mistaken. It’s a real disease with real signs and symptoms. Depression is not a weakness that can be snapped out of by getting yourself together. 

The good news is that most people who suffer from depression can recover fully with the correct treatment and support. Depression can be brought on by a variety of factors. It can be triggered by life-changing events such as bereavement, job loss, or childbirth. People who have had a family member suffer from depression are more likely to suffer from it themselves. However, you can get depressed for no apparent reason. 

What are the common symptoms of depression?

Feeling down or hopeless, poor self-esteem and a lack of enjoyment in activities that you normally like are all symptoms of depression. Depression has a variety of effects on people and can result in a wide range of symptoms. They can range from long-term emotions of sadness and hopelessness to losing interest in activities you used to enjoy and crying a lot. Anxiety symptoms are common in people with depression. 

Physical symptoms include fatigue, poor sleep, a lack of appetite or sex drive, and numerous aches and pains. Depression can manifest itself in a variety of ways, from moderate to severe. At its mildest, sadness can simply make you feel sad all of the time, whereas severe depression can make you feel suicidal as if life is no longer worth living. During challenging circumstances, most people feel stressed, anxious, or depressed. Instead of being an indication of depression, a poor mood may improve after a short amount of time.

What are the different types of depression?

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Perinatal and postpartum depression
  • Bipolar depression
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
  • Persistent depressive disorder
  • Psychotic depression
  • Seasonal affective disorder

How is depression treated?

Depression is usually treated with medication, psychotherapy, or both. If these therapies fail to alleviate symptoms, brain stimulation therapy may be considered. In milder forms of depression, psychotherapy alone may be used as a first line of defense, with medication added if symptoms persist. Many mental health specialists prescribe a combination of medication and counselling to begin treatment for moderate or severe depression. The best treatment plan should be based on a person’s unique needs and medical status while under the care of a professional. Finding the medicine that works best for you may need some trial and error. Below is a list of a few major treatment for depression:

  • Counseling: Talking with a mental health expert is known as counseling or psychotherapy. Your counselor will assist you in addressing your issues and developing coping mechanisms. Sometimes only a few sessions of counseling are required.
  • Alternative medicine: Complementary treatment can help people with minor depression or continuing symptoms feel better. Massage, acupuncture, hypnosis, and biofeedback are all options for treatment. 
  • Self-help: Exercise, adequate sleep, and spending time with loved ones can all help to alleviate depressive symptoms. 
  • medication: Antidepressants, a type of prescription medication, can assist to alter the chemical in the brain that causes depression. Antidepressants can take many weeks to work. Some antidepressants have adverse effects, but these usually fade over time.
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