What is Depression?
Depression is a common and serious mental health disorder that affects how you feel, think, and act. It causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.
What are the Symptoms of Depression?
Common symptoms of depression include:
- Persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness
- Angry outbursts, irritability, or frustration, even over small matters
- Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports
- Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
- Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort
- Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain
- Anxiety, agitation, or restlessness
- Slowed thinking, speaking, or body movements
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself when things aren’t going right
- Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things
- Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, or suicide
What Causes Depression?
Depression can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
- Environmental factors, such as stress or a traumatic event
- Psychological factors, such as depression or anxiety
How Can Depression Be Treated?
Depression can be treated with a combination of medications, psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes. The most common treatments for depression are:
- Medication – Antidepressants can help balance chemicals in the brain that regulate mood and emotions.
- Psychotherapy – Talking with a trained therapist can help you understand and work through the underlying causes of your depression.
- Lifestyle changes – Making changes to your diet, exercise, and sleeping habits can help you manage your depression symptoms.
How Can I Overcome Depression?
Depression can be difficult to overcome, but there are steps you can take to help manage your symptoms and improve your overall wellbeing. Here are some tips for overcoming depression:
- Reach out to others – Talking to friends and family can help you feel less alone and more supported. It can also help to join a support group or seek counseling from a mental health professional.
- Practice self-care – Taking care of your physical and mental health is important for managing depression. Try to get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, and exercise regularly.
- Focus on the positive – It can be hard to focus on the positive when you’re feeling down, but it can help to practice gratitude and look for the silver lining in difficult situations.
- Challenge negative thoughts – Negative thinking can make depression worse, so it’s important to challenge those thoughts and focus on the facts. Remind yourself that your thoughts are not necessarily accurate or helpful.
- Take small steps – Breaking large tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces can make them easier to tackle. You don’t have to do everything at once; focus on taking one step at a time.
Seek Professional Help
If your depression is severe or if you feel like you’re not making progress on your own, it may be time to seek professional help. A mental health professional can provide a diagnosis and treatment plan tailored to your individual needs. They can also help you identify the underlying causes of your depression and develop coping strategies to manage your symptoms.