Major depressive disorder, or clinical depression, is a mood disorder that creates a general loss of interest and persistent sadness. This condition influences everything from how we feel, think, and behave, making normal, routine activities difficult. However, these constant feelings of sadness can be successfully treated with medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. Here is everything you need to know about depression.
The specific cause of depression is unknown, although, as with many mental disorders, there are several factors that can influence the development of clinical depression.
Hormones – Depression can be triggered as your body’s hormones change and become unbalanced. Pregnancy, thyroid problems, and other health conditions can all affect your hormones.
Brain Chemistry – Changes in the function of the neurotransmitters in your brain can influence your ability to stabilize your mood. Maintaining these brain chemicals and their interaction with your neurocircuitry can help to identify and treat your depression.
Heredity – If you have relatives that suffer from depression, you are more likely to develop this mental condition as well.
Depression can be a one-time occurrence, a temporary feeling, or a chronic and recurring condition. Episodes of depression can be recognized by symptoms such as:
Depression can affect anyone at any age, including children and teenagers. The symptoms for younger people are similar to those for adults, however, there can be some differences. Younger children may exhibit irritability, worry, clinginess, weight loss, and physical pain in addition to sadness. Teenagers may display poor school performance, self-harm, poor eating and sleeping habits, and avoidance of social interaction.
Based on the severity of symptoms, depression can be separated into different categories. The two main types of depression are major depressive disorder and persistent depressive disorder.
Major Depressive Disorder – This is the more severe type of depression, known by its persistent feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and sadness. A diagnosis of major depressive disorder is the result of experiencing five or more of the symptoms of depression (listed above) over a two week time period.
Persistent Depressive Disorder – While persistent depressive disorder is less severe in terms of symptoms, it is a chronic condition. Formerly referred to as dysthymia, experiencing symptoms for at least two years is required for a diagnosis.
When you experience depression it can affect much more than your mood and demeanor. Other emotional, behavioral, and physical conditions can present themselves as a result of suffering from clinical depression. Some of these complications include:
If you suffer from depression, it can exacerbate other underlying health conditions. Arthritis, diabetes, obesity, asthma, cancer, and cardiovascular disease can all be worsened during periods of depression.
While there is not a guaranteed way to completely avoid depression, there are some steps you can take that will be helpful in preventing depression.
There are a variety of options and strategies available to treat depression. Successful treatment of depression can greatly improve your quality of life. Antidepressants, anti-psychotics, and anti-anxiety medication is commonly recommended. Each type of medicine has its potential benefits and risks, which is why consulting with your doctor is so important. Psychotherapy is another beneficial form of treatment. A psychiatrist can help you to develop the skills needed to cope with negative feelings. Combining medication with therapy can be very effective in treating depression. In addition to medical applications, lifestyle changes can also treat the symptoms of depression. Exercising regularly, avoiding drugs and alcohol, practicing healthy sleep habits, and eating a healthy diet can all help you feel better both physically and emotionally.