Depression is a medical condition that affects the way your brain and nerves work. It can be caused by a combination of factors, including stress, abuse or difficult personal relationships, or by a chemical imbalance in your brain, such as low levels of serotonin and other important brain chemicals. Genetics also plays a role. Depression is a serious illness, and you can recover with the help of therapy or medication. You can take steps to feel better, such as exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and eating well. You should also stay in touch with family and friends, go to follow-up appointments with your doctor, and seek treatment right away if you think you have depression.
Depression symptoms vary from person to person, but they may include feelings of sadness, tearfulness or emptiness; a loss of interest or pleasure in activities you usually enjoy; trouble sleeping or having too much sleep; feeling worthless or hopeless; or thoughts of hurting yourself or others. The more depression symptoms you have, the more severe the disorder is. Depression is a treatable illness, and you can get better, even when you have had depression for a long time.
People who have depression tend to think of themselves as worthless or hopeless, and they lack energy or motivation to cope with stressful situations. They often have a negative thinking pattern, which means that when something bad happens, they blame themselves, and when good things happen, they do not recognise or appreciate them. In addition, people who have depression are more likely to have a history of abuse or stressful experiences in their lives. It is also thought that some types of medications can trigger depression, and certain physical illnesses and injuries can cause depression, particularly those with a dramatic effect on the person’s lifestyle, such as heart disease, cancer or head injury.
You can help someone who is depressed by showing that you care and offering support. Encourage them to see a health care provider or mental health professional as soon as possible, and go with them. Help them find resources and provide support, such as cooking a healthy meal or taking them on a walk.
If you have depression, practice positive self-talk and a realistic attitude toward life. Try to think more positively, and focus on the good in your life, such as family, friends and hobbies. Keep a journal of your negative thoughts and how they affect you. Keeping track of your negative thoughts can help you identify destructive patterns.
Be sure to eat a balanced diet, including fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats. Avoid sugary snacks and processed foods, which can cause a crash in your mood. Make sure you get enough vitamins and minerals, especially B vitamins, which can be depleted by depression. It’s also helpful to try a mindfulness practice, such as meditation or yoga, which can reduce depression symptoms by helping you to slow down and focus on the present moment.