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Depression

Symptoms and treatment of depression

Many people experience depression at various points in their lives. The loss of a loved one, various personal failures or high levels of stress can all lead one to feel unhappy, disappointed or worthless. But when feelings of "the blues" last for several weeks and begin to get in the way of a person's ability to get by day-to-day, a diagnosis of clinical depression is made.

Clinical depression is a psychiatric illness where the patient experiences severe feelings of sadness, hopelessness and lack of control over an extended period of time. This can be the result of one or more tragic events in the person's life, brain chemical imbalances, or an outlook on life that is overly negative. Having other mental health conditions may also increase the risk factor. Even ADHD in children is comorbid with depression. If you or someone you know experiences periods of depression interspersed with periods of extreme happiness and joy, you may want to seek information on manic depression, which now goes by the name bipolar affective disorder. Between 5 and 10 percent of people with depression go through both of these stages and are considered bipolar.

Psychological Symptoms of Depression

  • Feelings of being helpless or worthless
  • Hopeless outlook on life or one's current situation
  • Overpowering feelings of sadness or guilt
  • Thinking about death or suicide
  • Concentration problems
  • Feeling irritable, angry and overreacting
  • Feelings of anxiety or anxiety attacks

Physical Symptoms of Depression

  • Changes in sleep patterns (insomnia or oversleeping)
  • Changes in eating habits (eating more or less)
  • Ongoing minor health problems such as headaches, aches and pains or cramps
  • Avoidance of social situations
  • Feeling tired and listless
  • Decreased sex drive

Information on Depression Treatment

Getting help early means that treatment for depression can begin sooner. Most people experience success in treating their depression and either find depression medication or therapy that works for them. It is important to realize that clinical depression is an illness that can be treated. Treatment usually comes as a combination of medical or drug therapy and counseling which can be arranged by your physician or mental healthcare provider.

Depression medication usually consists of antidepressants which help to bring the balance of brain chemicals back to normal. Typically they work on the levels of serotonin, norepinephrine or dopamine in the brain. Fortunately, there are a variety of medications available and so most of the time each individual's unique needs can be met.

Depression therapy is often the type called psychotherapy and may be short or long term. The goal of this aspect of depression treatment is to examine and correct the patient's attitude toward the world and various events in his or her life. Positive thinking plays a major role in protecting the individual from slipping into depression.

Clinical depression is one of the most common and most treatable mental disorders. Those who think they may be suffering should talk to a medical doctor as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment.

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