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Depression: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

What is depression?

  • Depression is classified as a mood disorder. It may be described as feelings of sadness, loss, or anger that interfere with a person’s everyday activities.
  • People experience depression in different ways. It may interfere with your daily work, resulting in lost time and lower productivity. It can also influence relationships and some chronic health conditions. Book a Doctors Appointment for Depression.

Conditions that can get worse due to depression include:

It’s important to realize that feeling down at times is a normal part of life. Sad and upsetting events happen to everyone. But, if you’re feeling down or hopeless on a regular basis, you could be dealing with depression.

Depression is considered a serious medical condition that can get worse without proper treatment. Those who seek treatment often see improvements in symptoms in just a few weeks,

Depression causes:

There are several possible causes of depression. They can range from biological to circumstantial.

Common causes include:

  • Family history. You’re at a higher risk for developing depression if you have a family history of depression or another mood disorder.
  • Early childhood trauma. Some events affect the way your body reacts to fear and stressful situations.
  • Brain structure. There’s a greater risk for depression if the frontal lobe of your brain is less active. However, scientists don’t know if this happens before or after the onset of depressive symptoms.
  • Medical conditions. Certain conditions may put you at higher risk, such as chronic illness, insomnia, chronic pain, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Drug use. A history of drug or alcohol misuse can affect your risk.

About 21 percent of people who have a substance use problem also experience depression. In addition to these causes, other risk factors for depression include:

  • Low self-esteem or being self-critical
  • Personal history of mental illness
  • Certain medications
  • Stressful events, such as loss of a loved one, economic problems, or a divorce

Many factors can influence feelings of depression, as well as who develops the condition and who doesn’t.

The causes of depression are often tied to other elements of your health.

However, in many cases, healthcare providers are unable to determine what’s causing depression.

Depression symptoms:

  • Depression can be more than a constant state of sadness or feeling “blue.”
  • Major depression can cause a variety of symptoms. Some affect your mood, and others affect your body. Symptoms may also be ongoing, or come and go.
  • The symptoms of depression can be experienced differently among men, women, and children differently.

Men may experience symptoms related to their:

  • Mood, such as anger, aggressiveness, irritability, anxiousness, restlessness
  • Emotional well-being, such as feeling empty, sad, hopeless
  • Behavior, such as loss of interest, no longer finding pleasure in favorite activities, feeling tired easily, thoughts of suicide, drinking excessively, using drugs, engaging in high-risk activities
  • Sexual interest, such as reduced sexual desire, lack of sexual performance
  • Cognitive abilities, such as inability to concentrate, difficulty completing tasks, delayed responses during conversations
  • Sleep patterns, such as insomnia, restless sleep, excessive sleepiness, not sleeping through the night
  • Physical well-being, such as fatigue, pains, headache, digestive problems

Women may experience symptoms related to their:

  • Mood, such as irritability
  • Emotional well-being, such as feeling sad or empty, anxious or hopeless
  • Behavior, such as loss of interest in activities, withdrawing from social engagements, thoughts of suicide
  • Cognitive abilities, such as thinking or talking more slowly
  • Sleep patterns, such as difficulty sleeping through the night, waking early, sleeping too much
  • Physical well-being, such as decreased energy, greater fatigue, changes in appetite, weight changes, aches, pain, headaches, increased cramps

Children may experience symptoms related to their:

  • Mood, such as irritability, anger, mood swings, crying
  • Emotional well-being, such as feelings of incompetence (e.g. “I can’t do anything right”) or despair, crying, intense sadness
  • Behavior, such as getting into trouble at school or refusing to go to school, avoiding friends or siblings, thoughts of death or suicide
  • Cognitive abilities, such as difficulty concentrating, decline in school performance, changes in grades
  • Sleep patterns, such as difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Physical well-being, such as loss of energy, digestive problems, changes in appetite, weight loss or gain

The symptoms can extend beyond your mind.

These seven physical symptoms of depression prove that depression isn’t just all in your head.

Treatment for depression:

  • Living with depression can be difficult, but treatment can help improve your quality of life. Talk to your healthcare provider about possible options.
  • You may successfully manage symptoms with one form of treatment, or you may find that a combination of treatments works best.
  • It’s common to combine medical treatments and lifestyle therapies, including the following:

Medications

Your healthcare provider may prescribe:

Each type of medication that’s used to treat depression has benefits and potential risks.

Psychotherapy

  • Speaking with a therapistcan help you learn skills to cope with negative feelings. You may also benefit from family or group therapy sessions.

Light therapy

Alternative therapies

  • Ask your healthcare provider about acupunctureor meditation. Some herbal supplements are also used to treat depression, like  John’s wort, SAMe, and fish oil.
  • Talk with your healthcare provider before taking a supplement or combining a supplement with prescription medication because some supplements can react with certain medications. Some supplements may also worsen depression or reduce the effectiveness of medication.

Exercise

  • Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity 3 to 5 days a week. Exercisecan increase your body’s production of endorphins, which are hormones that improve your mood.

Avoid alcohol and drugs

Take care of yourself

Natural treatment for depression:

Traditional depression treatment uses a combination of prescription medication and counseling. But there are also alternative or complementary treatments you can try.

Preventing depression:

  • Depression isn’t generally considered to be preventable. It’s hard to recognize what causes it, which means preventing it is more difficult.
  • But once you’ve experienced a depressive episode, you may be better prepared to prevent a future episode by learning which lifestyle changes and treatments are helpful.

Techniques that may help include:

  • Regular exercise
  • Getting plenty of sleep
  • maintaining treatments
  • Reducing stress
  • Building strong relationships with others

Other techniques and ideas may also help you prevent depression.

Depression Vs Anxiety:

Depression and anxiety can occur in a person at the same time. In fact, research has shown that over 70 percent. Trusted Source of people with depressive disorders also have symptoms of anxiety.

Though they’re thought to be caused by different things, depression and anxiety can produce several similar symptoms, which can include:

  • Irritability
  • Difficulty with memory or concentration
  • Sleep problems

The two conditions also share some common treatments.

Both anxiety and depression can be treated with:

If you think you’re experiencing symptoms of either of these conditions, or both of them, make an appointment to talk with your healthcare provider. You can work with them to identify coexisting symptoms of anxiety and depression and how they can be treated.

‘Ask Gogodoc About’ is an educational series providing information on various symptoms, pains, and disorders. (*intended for educational purposes only. If you are experiencing symptoms, please reach out to book an online GP consultation with a Gogodoc GP.) Talk to a doctor online at a time that suits you from home with a phone or video appointment. You can easily book an appointment with GP.

 

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