What is depression?

Depression is classified as a mood disorder. It may be described as feelings of sadness, loss, or anger that interfere with a person’s everyday activities. It is also common mostly among the youths. It is considered a serious medical condition, and it can get worse without proper treatment. Yet, those who seek treatment often see improvements in symptoms in just a few weeks.

Symptoms of depression in men may include:

Mood: anger, aggressiveness, irritability, anxiousness, restlessness

Emotional: feeling empty, sad, hopeless

Behavioral: loss of interest, no longer finding pleasure in favorite activities, feeling tired easily, thoughts of suicide, drinking excessively, using drugs, engaging in high-risk activities

Sexual: reduced sexual desire, lack of sexual performance

Cognitive: inability to concentrate, difficulty completing tasks, delayed responses during conversations.

Sleep: insomnia, restless sleep, excessive sleepiness, not sleeping through the night.

Physical: fatigue, pains, headache, digestive problems.

Depression causes

There are several possible causes of depression. They can range from biological to circumstantial.

Common causes include:

Family history: You’re at a higher risk for developing depression if you have a family history of depression or another mood disorder.

Early childhood trauma. Some events impact the way that body reacts to fear and stressful situations.

Brain structure: There’s a greater risk for depression if the frontal lobe of your brain is less active. However, scientists don’t know if this happens before or after the onset of depressive symptoms.

Medical conditions. Certain conditions may put you at higher risk, such as chronic illness, insomnia, chronic pain, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Drug use. A history of drug or alcohol misuse can impact your risk.

Many other people may never learn the cause of their depression.

About 30 percent of people who have a substance use problem also experience depression. In addition to these causes, other risk factors for depression include:

low self-esteem or being self-critical

personal history of mental illness

certain medications

stressful events, such as loss of a loved one, economic problems, or a divorce

Many factors can influence feelings of depression, as well as who develops it and who doesn’t. The causes of depression are often tied to other elements of your health.

Treatment for depression

Living with depression can be difficult, but treatment can help improve your quality of life. Talk to your doctor about possible options.

You may successfully manage symptoms with one form of treatment, or you may find that a combination of treatments works best. It’s common to combine medical treatments and lifestyle therapies, including the following:

Medications

Your doctor may prescribe antidepressants, antianxiety, or antipsychotic medications.

Each type of medication that’s used to treat depression has benefits and potential risks.

Psychotherapy

Speaking with a therapist can help you learn skills to cope with negative feelings. You may also benefit from family or group therapy sessions.

Light therapy

Exposure to doses of white light can help regulate mood and improve symptoms of depression. This therapy is commonly used in seasonal affective disorder (which is now called major depressive disorder with seasonal pattern).

Talk with your doctor before taking a supplement or combining a supplement with prescription medication because some supplements can react with certain medications. Some supplements may also worsen depression or reduce the effectiveness of medication.

Exercise

Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity three to five days a week. Exercise can increase your body’s production of endorphins, which are hormones that improve your mood.

Avoid alcohol and drugs

Drinking or using drugs may make you feel better for a little bit. But in the long run, these substances can make depression and anxiety symptoms worse.

Learn how to say no

Feeling overwhelmed can worsen anxiety and depression symptoms. Setting boundaries in your professional and personal life can help you feel better.

Take care of yourself

You can also improve symptoms of depression by taking care of yourself. This includes getting plenty of sleep, eating a healthy diet, avoiding negative people, and participating in enjoyable activities.

Sometimes depression doesn’t respond to medication. Your doctor may recommend other treatment options if your symptoms don’t improve.

These include electroconvulsive therapy, or transcranial magnetic stimulation to treat depression and improve your mood.

Natural treatment for depression

Traditional depression treatment uses a combination of prescription medication and counseling. But there are also alternative or complementary treatments you can try.

It’s important to remember that many of these natural treatments have few studies showing their effects on depression, good or bad. 

Talk to your doctor before adding supplements to your treatment plan.

 

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