Depression is a common mental illness that affects many people around the world. It causes feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness.
It’s one of the most common mental health disorders in the USA and can affect any age group. It can cause major changes in your life and is usually treated with medication and talking therapies.
The causes of depression aren’t known for sure, but some factors are thought to increase your risk of developing depression. These include long-term physical or emotional hardship, being lonely, having low self-esteem and having a stressful job or home life.
Losing a loved one, such as a spouse, child or parent, can also trigger depression. In other cases, a medical illness or other stressor can cause depression.
Symptoms of depression vary from person to person and can last for months or years. You might have symptoms like mood swings, irritability, loss of interest in many activities and trouble sleeping or concentrating. You may have thoughts of hurting yourself or dying.
Depression is more common in women than men, and it is usually diagnosed in adults over the age of 20. It can be triggered by a wide range of events, including losing a job, divorce or moving.
Treatment is a combination of medicine, talk therapy and lifestyle measures such as exercise and healthy eating. The doctor will decide on the best type of treatment for you, based on your symptoms.
Some people think that depression is caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, and that drugs can cure them. Antidepressants can help to reduce depression by changing the way the brain works. But this is not proven and may not be the most effective way of treating the disease.
Psychotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can also be used to treat depression. These types of treatments involve learning skills that will help you to manage your emotions and deal with problems better.
It’s important to take antidepressants as prescribed by your doctor and stop taking them if they make you feel worse or don’t work for you. These medicines can lead to side effects, such as weight gain and slowed thinking, so you should discuss this with your doctor before taking them.
You should also tell your doctor about any other medical conditions you have or medications you take, including those that may affect your blood pressure. You should also let them know if you’re pregnant or might become pregnant in the future, as some medicines can harm an unborn baby.
Getting treatment for depression is essential because it can lead to a full recovery and improve your quality of life. It can also help prevent you from relapsing and causing even more damage to your health.
Your doctor may suggest you try a range of self-help strategies, such as reading books or joining support groups. This will give you an understanding of what’s causing your depression and how to cope with it.
You might also consider getting help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 988.