Depression | Clinical Depression

Do you have feelings of sadness and hopelessness that won’t go away? Depression can cause you to lose interest in the people and things that once made you happy. Depression, also called clinical depression, is an illness that can be treated. Don’t wait to get help. Talk to your health-care provider about treatment.

What is depression?

Depression is a disorder that affects brain chemistry and changes how someone can react to situations. People may have a sadness that won’t go away. They may feel hopeless, have low energy and lose interest in people and activities.

Depression symptoms

Everyone experiences depression differently. Depression can cause physical symptoms such as:

  • Aches and pains
  • Digestive issues
  • Excessive sleeping or too little sleep
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Headaches
  • Significant appetite or weight changes

People with depression can have many emotional and mental symptoms such as:

  • Sadness that doesn’t go away
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling of emptiness
  • Guilt
  • Feelings of worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Irritability
  • Loss of motivation
  • Restlessness
  • Slow behavior
  • Self-harm thoughts, or self-harm attempts
  • Trouble concentrating or thinking critically

Talk with your health-care provider if you experience symptoms of depression.

Am I at risk of depression?

People can develop depression at any age.

Events and change in a person's life can trigger depression, or cause depression to deepen.

The cause of depression is thought to be a combination of genetic, biological, environmental and psychological factors.

Risk factors include:

  • Anxiety disorder
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Medication side effects
  • Personal or family history of depression
  • Previous medical conditions
  • Trauma or abuse

Diagnosing and treating depression

A health-care provider will ask you about your feelings, moods and how you respond in certain situations.

Patients may have a specific depression disorder that is influenced by other factors, such as stress or the time of year.

Depression treatments

Depression can be treated in a number of ways. Medication can help stabilize moods and control emotions. Other treatment options include:

  • Counseling or talk therapy
  • Electroconvulsive therapy
  • Light therapy
  • Exercise
  • Alternative and complementary therapies
  • Self-management and education

If you have questions about treatments, ask your health-care provider for more information.

 

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