Depression Symptoms and Causes


Depression is a condition that can make you feel down and hopeless. It’s normal to have occasional low periods, but if you have symptoms for weeks or months and aren’t getting better, you should seek medical attention. Depression can be treated with psychotherapy (talk therapy) and medicine. Some people find that a combination of treatment is the best way to get better.

The most common signs and symptoms of depression are feelings of sadness, hopelessness or helplessness and a loss of interest in activities that you used to enjoy. It’s also important to note that if you have suicidal thoughts, it’s essential to get help right away.

Depression can affect anyone, but there are some factors that make it more likely to happen. It’s more common in people who have a family history of depression or other mental health conditions. It can also be caused by physical illness or injury, certain medications, drug or alcohol use, and many other things.

It’s not clear what causes depression, but some research suggests that changes in brain chemistry may play a role. This happens when neurotransmitters in the brain aren’t working correctly. Hormones can also cause or trigger depression. This is especially true during pregnancy and in the weeks and months afterward, and when a woman has menopause.

Symptoms of depression can range from mild to severe, and they can vary in intensity over time. They can be so intense that they interfere with daily life. People with depression don’t have the same energy as other people, and they often have trouble concentrating or thinking clearly. In extreme cases, depression can lead to suicide.

Seek medical attention if you have any of the following symptoms:

Getting help for depression isn’t easy, but it’s important to try. The first step is to make an appointment with your doctor for a physical exam and evaluation. You’ll be asked about the severity and frequency of your symptoms and what you’ve been doing to cope with them. Your provider will then refer you to a mental health professional for a psychiatric evaluation. Your provider will look at the symptoms you’re experiencing and compare them to the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to determine if you have depression. Then they’ll give you a diagnosis and recommend treatment. If you’re helping someone who is depressed, try to be patient and supportive. Encourage them to talk about their feelings, and try not to judge them. Offer to help them connect with other people and postpone major decisions until they’re feeling better. And be sure they stick with their treatment plan—ask them to take their medicines and go to therapy appointments. Also, remind them to avoid using alcohol or drugs, including over-the-counter medications, that aren’t prescribed for them. It can be difficult to know what kind of treatment will work for someone with depression, and it might take a while to find the right one.