Depression is a mood disorder that can affect how you feel, think and behave. You may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest in things you used to enjoy. You might also find it hard to concentrate and have trouble making decisions. Depression can also make you irritable or angry. The longer you have these feelings, the more serious your depression is. Depression can be treated with medicine, psychotherapy (talk therapy) or a combination of both.
Depression can happen to anyone. But it is more common in people who have had problems such as abuse, severe losses or other stressful events, and in women. It’s also more likely to occur if you have a family history of depression or bipolar disorder.
No one knows for sure what causes depression. But it is thought to be caused by a combination of factors, including genetic vulnerability, stressors in your life and faulty mood regulation by the brain. Some studies suggest that depression can be triggered by having a relative with the condition.
Research has found that people who have a family history of depression, or have had episodes in the past, are at a higher risk for depression themselves. However, there is no evidence that depression runs in the family because of a single gene.
Some people with depression have other health conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes. These conditions can cause depression or make it harder to treat. Depression can also affect how well you sleep or eat, which can lead to weight gain or loss. It can also stop you from taking care of yourself, leading to physical problems like aches and pains or making it harder to follow your doctor’s treatment plan.
Depression is a complex illness and symptoms vary from person to person. But there are some signs and symptoms that you can watch out for: feelings of sadness or hopelessness lasting more than a few weeks or feeling helpless or worthless a bleak outlook – believing that nothing will ever get better a change in your appetite, either eating more or less, or not eating at all low energy and tiredness lasting for long periods of time trouble sleeping or sleeping too much or not enough irritability and anger difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly feeling numb or deadened sense of emptiness or heaviness.
Most cases of depression are treated with medicine or talking therapy, or a combination. The earlier treatment begins, the more effective it is. Your healthcare provider will carry out a thorough diagnostic evaluation to identify your symptoms, review your medical and family histories and explore cultural and environmental factors. They may also order a blood test to check for some physical causes of depression, such as thyroid disease or vitamin deficiency. They may also refer you to a specialist or psychiatrist for more help.