Depression is an illness which can affect your self-esteem, as well as your functioning at school, at work, or with your relationships. Depression is common. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depressive disorders affect approximately 19 million Americans. Depression is an illness of the brain. As a result, depression is not a state someone can just ‘snap out of’. Treatment is recommended to lessen both the intensity and the length of the illness.
Common Symptoms of Depression
- Depressed mood for over two weeks
- Decreased interest in usual activities
- Decreased energy or fatigue
- Appetite changes
- Sleep disturbance
- Poor concentration
- Decline in sexual interest
- Suicidal thoughts, feelings, or behavior
The current thinking is that genetics, environmental factors, and neurochemical changes in the brain contribute to the development of depression. Depression can result from loss, disappointment, and a change in one’s life, sometimes even positive change, such as a job promotion, or childbirth. Medical illness may contribute to depression and drug and alcohol abuse may occur concurrently with depression. At times, no exact reason can be identified, but a family history of depression may be present. It is not uncommon for a person to be depressed and anxious at the same time.
Treatment may consist of visits to an individual therapist or a recommendation to attend a particular group. Besides individual and group therapy, sometimes medication, such as an antidepressant, is recommended, and can be a very effective treatment for symptoms of depression.
Remember: Depression is very Treatable!
If you are suffering and are not functioning at your previous level, seek help. If you or a friend or loved one is experiencing suicidal thoughts, seek help as soon as possible. Many options are available for treatment.