Symptoms of depression can range from a sad and downcast mood to feelings of worthlessness, guilt, and hopelessness. You may experience difficulty concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions. You may have difficulty sleeping or enjoying activities. You may have thoughts of self-harm or suicide. You may experience restlessness and even gain weight. While all these symptoms are common, they may be mild, moderate, or severe. A health professional can help you determine the best course of treatment for your specific needs.
The following events may trigger a depressive episode. Often, these are major life changes, such as moving, losing a job, or getting divorced. Other factors may trigger a depressed mood, such as social isolation or feeling “cast out” by others. Other common causes of depression are major illnesses and traumatic events. The depressed mood can be worsened by lifestyle factors, such as chronic pain or headaches or medication for blood pressure.
Individuals with depression feel useless and unproductive. They may even isolate themselves from friends or family, or even contemplate suicide. While some depression is hereditary, others do not. It runs in families and psychion exposure may be a factor. Some environmental factors may also increase the risk of depression. People with a low self-esteem are more likely to develop depression than people with higher levels. Depression can also be hereditary, with a close relative or parent experiencing depression.
Symptoms of depression may appear to occur for no reason at all. It can also occur suddenly. Without treatment, depression may worsen and cause more episodes. If you don’t seek treatment, your depression may turn into a chronic illness that limits your ability to work or maintain your health. It’s important to note that depression often has a genetic component. When it develops early in life, you may have to deal with many episodes over the course of your life.
For severe cases of depression, treatment may include electroconvulsive therapy. This therapy involves passing a mild electrical current through your brain. This causes a brief seizure, which helps restore normal brain chemicals. The results should be noticeable within weeks, but you might have long-term effects if you don’t seek treatment. The best way to cope with depression is to keep your mind active and to avoid stressful situations. In addition, you should try to set realistic goals and avoid excessive stress.
Pregnancy-related problems can cause depression. Changes in female hormones can increase the risk. Pregnancy and postpartum hormonal changes affect the way the brain reacts to stress. Thyroid problems and menopause also affect hormone levels. Genetics play a part in depression, and research is trying to find a gene that increases your risk. And of course, many people are genetically predisposed to depression, so a genetic test is the best way to find out if you’re at risk.