Depression is a serious medical condition that causes feelings of sadness and loss of interest. It interferes with daily life and affects work, school and relationships. If not treated, it can lead to suicide. The good news is that depression can be prevented and treated.
Many different factors can cause depression, including a family history of the illness, trauma or stressful events, physical illnesses and drug or alcohol use. People who live in difficult social and economic conditions are also at a higher risk of depression.
Depression can be very challenging to treat. However, it is important to know that there are many treatment options available, including psychotherapy (talk therapy) and medicine. Psychotherapy can help you identify and change unhealthy emotions, thoughts and behaviors that contribute to depression. Medicine can change the chemistry of the brain and improve your mood. There are several types of antidepressants, and it may take a while to find one that works for you. Talk to your doctor if you are thinking about taking medication for depression.
While everyone feels sad or low occasionally, depression is a persistently depressed mood that lasts for weeks, months or even years. Symptoms of depression include feeling sad or worthless, having trouble sleeping or having trouble eating and feeling tired all the time. Depression can also cause a variety of health problems, such as headache, stomachache or back pain. Depression can also make it harder to think clearly or concentrate, and it may make it hard to remember things.
If you are having symptoms of depression, it is important to get help right away. Don’t wait to see if it will go away on its own or try to deal with it by yourself. If you are having suicidal thoughts, call 911 or contact the suicide hotline.
There are several ways to prevent depression, including exercise, healthy diet and avoiding drugs and alcohol. Psychotherapy can also help, and there are a variety of treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy and interpersonal therapy. It is important to have a support system and to spend time with friends. You can also read self-help books or join a support group.