Major Depression is a mood disorder that causes distressing symptoms that affect how you feel think and handle daily activities such as sleeping eating or working. Symptoms must be present most of the day nearly every day for at least 2 weeks. Other kinds of depression include persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia) perinatal depression (postpartum) seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and psychotic depression. The causes of depression include genetic, biological, environmental and psychological factors and can be associated with other serious chronic illnesses.
Signs include sad anxious or “empty” mood, feeling hopeless, helpless, worthless, or guilty, loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities, decreased energy or fatigue, difficulty concentrating remembering or making decisions, sleep problems, appetite problems, thoughts of suicide, restlessness or irritability and even unexplained aches and pains cramps and headaches. Symptoms may look different in women, men, seniors, children, and teens.
Treatment starts with seeing a medical and or behavioral health professional. Medications can help with brain chemical imbalance with the neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and gaba. Counseling (psychotherapy) helps by teaching new ways of thinking and behaving and changing habits that may be contributing to depression and can help understand and work through difficult relationships or situation that may be causing or worsening depression.
Vigorous exercise can be very helpful for many people and simply helps you feel better. Severe treatment resistant depression may respond to stimulation therapy such as Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Avoidance of alcohol and non-prescribed drugs are also recommended.
Resources include your health care professional, mental health care professional, NIMH webpage at www.nimh.nih.gov/findhelp or call 1-866-615-6464. For crisis situations call your doctor, or 911 for emergency services or go to nearest hospital emergency room or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or 1-800-799-4889.