Understanding the Symptoms, Causes and Treatment of Depression
Everyone has the blues once in awhile, but depression in adults is far more serious and affects approximately 14.8 million people in the United States. Understanding depression triggers, recovery and remedies can help overcome the problem and lead to a healthier, more positive life.
Understanding the Signs and Symptoms of Depression
Depression goes beyond the normal sadness most people experience due to life’s disappointments, struggles and setbacks. Depression in men and women is engulfing, and it interferes with one’s ability to have fun, work, sleep, eat and study.
Although the symptoms of the condition vary from individual to individual, depression in adults often produces these signs:
- Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
- Diminished interest in daily activities, including hobbies, social activities, sex and pastimes.
- Changes in weight or appetite.
- Changes in sleep patterns.
- Irritability or anger.
- Feeling sluggish, fatigued or physically drained.
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness.
- Reckless behavior, including substance abuse.
- Problems concentrating.
- Unexplained pains, including headaches, stomach pain or back issues.
The Causes of Depression
Depression may be caused by a combination of many factors, including psychological, biological and social factors, and many experts believe it is tied to an imbalance in brain chemistry. Depression triggers may include loneliness, alcohol or drug abuse, lack of strong social support, health problems, stressful life experiences, early childhood abuse or trauma, family history of the disease, relationship problems or financial strain. Understanding which of these depression triggers leads to symptoms is one of the most important steps to helping a patient recover.
There are many treatments and depression remedies available today, including the following options:
- Making positive lifestyle changes – People with depression may benefit from fostering supportive relationships, changing negative thought patterns, learning to manage stress, eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise.
- Seeking professional help – People with depression may seek therapy to help explore experiences and relationships, identify and deal with triggers, adjust to crises, regain a sense of control, learn to set healthy goals and develop mechanisms for coping with distress in healthy ways.
- Taking medications – Many patients find relief by taking depression medications, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and other drugs that may balance brain chemistry and alleviate symptoms.
The process of finding the right medication may take time, and many patients require a combination of drugs to alleviate depression. Combining lifestyle changes, professional help and medications gives many patients the best chance at recovering from depression and leading happier, healthier lives.