How to Deal with Depression

Depression is a common health condition affecting people of all ages in the United States. It’s been estimated that approximately one out of every five Americans will experience depression at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, depression can have many serious repercussions in a sufferer’s life. Without proper treatment, an individual facing depression can have difficulty performing their job, maintaining healthy relationships, and taking care of themselves and their family obligations in a healthy manner. Educating yourself on the topic of depression is the first step toward protecting yourself and those you love from this difficult to deal with condition.

As one of the most common mental illnesses, depression impacts millions of Americans. People with depression often feel apathetic, withdrawn and irritable. It’s common to lose interest in your normal activities, have difficulty sleeping or lose your appetite. In the most severe cases, this despair leads to suicidal ideation. Depression can be cause by constant chemical imbalance, or it can be affected by your environment. Some people, for example, have depressive episodes during the winter when there is less sunlight, and it’s common for women to experience postpartum depression after giving birth.

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As one of the most common mental illnesses, depression impacts millions of Americans. People with depression often feel apathetic, withdrawn and irritable. It’s common to lose interest in your normal activities, have difficulty sleeping or lose your appetite. In the most severe cases, this despair leads to suicidal ideation. Depression can be cause by constant chemical imbalance, or it can be affected by your environment. Some people, for example, have depressive episodes during the winter when there is less sunlight, and it’s common for women to experience postpartum depression after giving birth.

When treating depression, expect to work with both your regular doctor and a mental health professional. Most patients respond to a combination of antidepressant medications and therapy. Don’t be alarmed if finding the right plan for you takes some time. Different medications work for different people, so expect some trial and error as you find the one that’s right for you.

What Causes Depression?

While it can be normal to experience sadness in relation to negative or stressful life events, this is not the type of depression that we are describing here. Feeling sad over the loss of a loved one is a normal event. Clinical depression when describing a mental health condition is a very different phenomenon.

Clinical depression is believed to have a variety of causes, making it a rather complex disease. One known factor that can result in depression for many individuals is a change in normal brain chemistry. Whenever it is functioning properly, the brain naturally produces a variety of chemicals that keep our emotional state well-balanced. Life events, prescription medications, trauma, abuse, and other factors can all disrupt the normal brain chemistry. Disruptions in a normal pattern of brain chemistry can lead some people to develop severe bouts of depression. Some people are also genetically predisposed toward developing depression, so this may be the case for you if you have immediate family members who also suffer from this condition.

How to Know if You’re Suffering from Depression

There are many different signs and symptoms associated with depression. These symptoms can also vary greatly depending on how the condition affects you and the specific type of depression you have. Consider some of the following as common signs of clinical depression:

  • Lack of interest in previous hobbies or beloved activities
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Lack of appetite, low energy, and poor sleep
  • Persistent feeling of extreme sadness that is not connected to a major life event
  • Complex feelings of anxiety, hopelessness, guilt, or apathy

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed above and they continue for more than a few weeks, you could be dealing with a case of clinical depression. It is important to determine the specific type of depression you have and to reach out for professional help if you feel it is necessary.

Learning the Different Types of Depression

Depression comes in many different forms and affects people in a wide variety of ways. The following list covers the three most common types of depression affecting Americans today.

Major Depression

Major depression is the clinical term that is usually used to describe cases where a person feels severely depressed almost constantly. This is very different from the normal degree of sadness that accompanies certain life events such as the death of a loved one. A person experiencing major depression will often not be able to perform their usual responsibilities relating to their family or their job. This results in even more stress on relationships along with financial worries.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder describes a condition in which the person affected swings between periods of time where they are extremely happy and periods of time where they are extremely depressed. There does not have to be a precipitating life event to set off this disruption in mood and functioning.

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is a severe form of the disease that affects women who have recently given birth. It is normal for women to experience mild mood changes following such an enormous life event. However, clinical postpartum depression is severe and can prevent the woman from carrying out her usual tasks, including those involving the infant.

Depression is a serious health condition affecting millions of Americans today. By recognizing the signs and symptoms of this condition, you can be better equipped to handle it and to know when to seek professional help. Remember that there are various types of depression and each can affect people in different ways. Educating yourself on the basic facts surrounding this common problem can help protect you and your loved ones from the repercussions that can result from leaving the condition untreated

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