What is depression?

  • Depression is a mood disorder.
  • We all experience sadness from time to time, especially when we are passing through difficult circumstances. Depression however, is more intense and long-lasting than ordinary sadness.
  • Depression often interferes with a person’s daily activities.
  • Depression is one of the most common psychiatric illnesses. It can affect anyone.
  • Women are almost twice as likely as men to suffer from depression.

What causes depression?

There is no single cause for depression.
  • Depression might be caused by a dysfunction in the brain chemicals.
  • Heredity might play a role as well. Family members are at a higher risk to develop the disorder than others.
  • Environmental factors also put the person at a higher risk.

What are the common symptoms of depression?

At least 5 of the following symptoms should be present for at least 2 weeks and cause significant impairment to be diagnosed with depression.
  • Depressed mood during most of the day
  • Diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Impaired concentration, inability to take decisions
  • Decreased or increased sleep
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • A sense of restlessness
  • Significant weight loss or gain

Is there a treatment for depression?

Yes.
There are several effective treatments for depression. They depend on the severity of the condition. These treatments might be used alone or in combination to achieve the best results.
Common treatments for depression include, but are not limited to:
  • Lifestyle Changes
    • Exercise
    • Improved nutrition
    • Sleep regulation
    • Increased Social Support
    • Stress Reduction
  • Medications
    • Specific drugs can be used to decrease the symptoms of depression.
  • Psychotherapy
    • A process in which trained mental health professional talks with you strategies that help you understand and deal with your depression.
  • Brain stimulation such as:

What happens if depression is not treated?

  • If left untreated, depression might last from weeks to years.
  • It might cause significant disability in the person’s life. It might lead to loss of employment.
  • Severe depression might lead to suicide.

Useful links on depression

www.nimh.nih.gov
www.mentalhealth.org.uk
www.beyondblue.org.au
www.mentalhealthamerica.net