Depression is a serious illness that can happen to anyone, even people who seem to have it all.Everyone experiences sadness from time to time. But depression lasts longer, interferes with daily life and can cause physical pain. Fortunately, depression is highly treatable, and getting effective treatment is crucial.
What causes depression?
A combination of genetic, chemical, biological, psychological, social and environmental factors likely contributes to the disorder. Depression is often a signal that certain mental, emotional and physical aspects of a person’s life are out of balance. Chronic and serious illness such as heart disease or cancer may be accompanied by depression.
Significant transitions and major life stressors such as the death of a loved one or the loss of a job can help bring about depression. Other more subtle factors that lead to a loss of self-identity or self-esteem may also contribute. The causes of depression are not always immediately apparent, so the disorder requires careful evaluation and diagnosis by a trained mental health care professional.
Sometimes the circumstances involved in depression are ones over which an individual has little or no control. At other times, however, depression occurs when people are unable to see that they actually have choices and can bring about change in their lives.
Types of Depression
Major Depressive Disorder, or Major Depression
- is characterized by a combination of symptoms that interfere with a person’s ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy once-pleasurable activities. Major depression is disabling and prevents a person from functioning normally. Some people may experience only a single episode within their lifetime, but more often a person may have multiple episodes.
- Depression is a common but serious illness. Most who experience depression need treatment to get better.
- is characterized by having symptoms for 2 weeks or longer that do not meet full criteria for major depression. Without treatment, people with minor depression are at high risk for developing major depressive disorder.
- also called manic-depressive illness, is not as common as major depression or dysthymia. Bipolar disorder is characterized by cycling mood changes—from extreme highs (e.g., mania) to extreme lows (e.g., depression). More information about bipolar disorder is available.
When you are depressed, it is important to:
Pace yourself. Do not expect to do all of the things you were able to do in the past. Set a schedule that is realistic for you.
Remember that negative thinking (blaming yourself. feeling hopeless, expecting failure, and other such thoughts) is part of a depression. As the depression lifts, the negative thinking will go away, too.
Avoid making major life decisions during a depression. If you must make a major decision about your life, ask your health care provider or someone you trust to help you.
Avoid drugs and alcohol. Research shows that drinking too much alcohol and use of drugs can cause or worsen a depression. It can also lower the effectiveness of antidepressant medicines or cause dangerous side effects.
Understand that it took time for the depression to develop and it will take time for it to go away.
Depression is highly treatable when an individual receives competent care. Licensed psychologists are highly trained mental health professionals with years of experience studying depression and helping patients recover from it.Studies also show that curcumin has an antidepressant like effect and can improve mental health.
There is still some stigma or reluctance associated with seeking help for emotional and mental health problems, including depression. Unfortunately, feelings of depression often are viewed as a sign of weakness rather than as a signal that something is out of balance. The fact is that people with depression cannot simply “snap out of it” and feel better spontaneously.
Getting quality treatment is crucial. If depression goes untreated, it can last for a long time and worsen other illnesses.