Depression is a disease that affects the brain and mood. It can be treated successfully, but some people experience depression for years. The symptoms may include sadness, fatigue, anger, anxiety, or thoughts of death. Having severe depression can make it difficult to function. People with depression can harm themselves or others.
Depression can occur at any age. However, it is more likely to happen in people who are prone to stressful events in their lives. When a relationship breaks down, for example, it can cause a person to feel depressed. Another cause of depression is hormonal changes that occur during menopause and pregnancy.
People who are suffering from depression can benefit from antidepressants and talk therapy. Antidepressants work by improving the neurotransmitters in the brain, which help you feel better. You should never abruptly stop taking them. If you do, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. Instead, you should speak to your health care provider. They can tell you how to stop taking the medication safely.
Depression can also be caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. Those who have thyroid problems, for example, may have depression because of the change in hormone levels. This is why it is important to get a full physical exam to rule out other medical conditions.
The most common form of depression treatment is psychotherapy. In addition to individual counseling, group therapy is effective. Talking to a therapist can help you understand the causes of your depression and the best ways to deal with it. Your therapist may be able to help you come up with lifestyle changes that will help you stay happy.
Treatment for depression may take several weeks, but it can help. Some people get better with just a few sessions of treatment. Other types of treatment may require more time, such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Electroconvulsive therapy uses electrical pulses to stimulate parts of the brain. Most commonly, ECT is used when antidepressants are not working.
ECT has been in use since the 1940s, and is now considered mainstream treatment. It is most often used to treat severe depression. ECT is usually administered two to three times a week.
ECT is a form of electroshock therapy. A small, portable, noninvasive device sends magnetic pulses through the brain. This can improve the mood in many patients.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, reach out to a loved one or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Your doctor can also prescribe medications that can help you. Contact your local emergency room.
Depression is a very common illness. Studies show that it is twice as common in women as it is in men. One in 10 individuals who are depressed will kill themselves. Even though it is treatable, it is still a serious problem. Although there are no cures, you can learn what you can do to prevent it.
You can also work with a psychiatrist to treat depression. Psychiatrists look at depression as a multifaceted disorder that is triggered by many different factors. During an evaluation, your health care professional will explore your family history, medical and mental health history, and the specific symptoms you are experiencing. They will also discuss the cultural and environmental influences on your symptoms.