Everyone goes through periods of deep sadness and grief. Everyone feels sad or low sometimes, but these feelings usually pass with a little time.
These feelings usually fade away within a few days or weeks, depending on the circumstances.
But in certain circumstances profound sadness that lasts more than two weeks and affects individual’s ability to function may be a sign of depression. Depression (also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is different. It can cause severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. It is an illness that can affect anyone—regardless of age, race, income, culture, or education. Research suggests that genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors play a role in depression.
Depression is a mood disorder that involves a persistent feeling of sadness, easy fatiguability and loss of interest. It is different from the mood fluctuations that people regularly experience as a part of life.
Depression may occur with other mental disorders and other illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and chronic pain. Depression can make these conditions worse, and vice versa. Sometimes medications taken for these illnesses cause side effects that contribute to depression symptom
Common symptoms of depression include:
– Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
– Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
– Feelings of irritability, frustration or restlessness
– Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
– Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities
– Decreased energy, fatigue, or being “slowed down”
– Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
– Difficulty sleeping, early morning awakening, or oversleeping
– Changes in appetite or unplanned weight changes
– Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and that do not ease even with treatment
– Suicide attempts or thoughts of death or suicide
There are many possible causes, and sometimes, various factors combine to trigger symptoms.
Factors that are likely to play a role include:
changes in the brain’s neurotransmitter levels
psychological and social factors
Depression treatment typically involves medication, psychotherapy, or both. If these treatments do not reduce symptoms, brain stimulation therapy may be another treatment option. In milder cases of depression, treatment might begin with psychotherapy alone, and medication added if the individual continues to experience symptoms. For moderate or severe depression, many mental health professionals recommend a combination of medication and therapy at the start of treatment.
Choosing the right treatment plan should be based on a person’s individual needs and medical situation under a provider’s care. It may take some trial and error to find the treatment that works best for you. You can learn more about the different types of treatment, including psychotherapy, medication, and brain stimulation therapies