Depression is a common but serious mood disorder.
It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working.
If you have been experiencing some of the following signs and symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, you may be suffering from depression:
- Appetite and/or weight changes
- Decreased energy or fatigue
- Moving or talking more slowly
- Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment
Depression can happen at any age, but often begins in adulthood.
Depression is now recognized as occurring in children and adolescents, although it sometimes presents with more prominent irritability than low mood. Many chronic mood and anxiety disorders in adults begin as high levels of anxiety in children.
Depression, especially in midlife or older adults, can co-occur with other serious medical illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease.
These conditions are often worse when depression is present. Sometimes medications taken for these physical illnesses may cause side effects that contribute to depression.
Risk factors include personal or family history of depression, major life changes such as trauma or stress, certain physical illnesses and medications.
Depression, even the most severe cases, can be treated.
The earlier that treatment can begin, the more effective it is. Depression is usually treated with medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two.
No two people are affected the same way by depression and there is no "one-size-fits-all" for treatment.
Here are other tips that may help you or a loved one during treatment for depression:
- Try to be active and exercise.
- Set realistic goals for yourself.
- Try not to isolate yourself, and let others help you.
- Expect your mood to improve gradually, not immediately.
- Try to spend time with other people and confide in a trusted friend or relative.
- Discuss decisions with others who know you well and have a more objective view of your situation.
- Postpone important decisions, such as getting married or divorced, or changing jobs until you feel better.
If you or a loved one is concerned about depression, request your free subscription to Care Support Network today and complete our free Depression Assessment.