Depression is a serious mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It’s a common and treatable illness that can make you feel depressed or hopeless for weeks or months. It can impact your relationships, job and overall well-being.
Treatment for depression focuses on helping you change the way you think and behave. This is often called “talking therapy” and can involve individual, group or family sessions with a therapist who specializes in helping people suffering from depression.
Some therapies have proven to be especially effective for treating depression, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps you monitor and change your negative thoughts and behaviors and learn how to cope with life’s stresses and conflicts better. Other types of therapy include family and couples counseling, problem-solving and substance abuse counseling.
Choosing the right therapist for you is crucial to your recovery. Look for someone who you can trust and who has a lot of experience dealing with depression. You may want to ask friends and family for recommendations or check with your primary care doctor or local mental health agency for referrals.
A good therapist will listen and provide support as you work through your symptoms. They will also offer guidance as you navigate the challenges of recovery. They’ll help you understand why you’re feeling the way you are, and they’ll support your goals for a better future.
If you’re thinking about taking your own life, call a suicide hotline right away. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The hotline can help you find a mental health professional or contact emergency services.
Researchers are trying to figure out whether depression has a genetic cause. They know that it’s more likely to run in families, and they are looking for genetic markers that indicate who is more likely to develop the disorder.
Recent research suggests that changes in the brain’s neurotransmitters (chemical messengers that control mood) and hormones are associated with depression. These changes can occur with pregnancy and during the weeks or months after delivery (postpartum), with thyroid problems, menopause or a number of other conditions.
Other factors that can increase your risk of depression include a family history of the disease, stressful events in your life or being diagnosed with a medical illness. A medical evaluation and lab tests can help your doctor identify a physical cause of your symptoms.
The medications that are most effective in reducing depression symptoms are antidepressants. These are generally prescribed in combination with other treatments, such as exercise, dietary changes and social support. They can take up to six weeks to start working, so it’s important that you try other methods first before starting medication.
Changing your diet, exercising regularly and getting more sleep are among the most helpful things you can do to reduce your chances of developing depression. These changes will improve your mental and physical health and help you to get more energy and focus.