For a diagnosis of depression, symptoms must persist for two weeks or more and include:
- Fatigue and lack of energy
- Thoughts of suicide or attempts of suicide
- Aches and pains
- Feelings of guilt
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Sad, empty feelings that persist
- Digestive problems
- Difficulty focusing
- Lack of interest
According to the American Psychiatric Association, one in 6 people (16.6%) will experience depression in his or her lifetime. Depression is not the same as the feeling you get when through a difficult time like the loss of someone you love or the end of a relationship. These are difficult times but they make sense and they usually change over time. With Major Depressive Disorder, there’s often no known reason for the sadness, nor does it usually change without help.
What Causes It?
There are 4 risk factors for depression:
If someone in your family suffers from depression the likelihood that you would develop depression is higher.
People who are abused, neglected, exposed to violence or live in severe poverty are more prone to developing depression.
For some people, their personality causes them to experience depression because they have low self-esteem, are pessimistic or get overwhelmed by the stress in life
An imbalance in the chemical in the brain can cause symptoms of depression.
Unfortunately, there is no magic cure for Depression. Some treatments have better results than others but it’s difficult to pinpoint why one person achieves remission with one treatment while another feels no change from it. Or why one person experiences severe side effects while another feels great.
Depression is a complicated disorder and while we can identify physiological problems in the brain that can cause it, there are other factors such as physical or mental abuse, personality traits such as low self-esteem, a life of poverty, and genetics that can greatly increase a person’s chance of developing Major Depressive Disorder in his or her lifetime.
The good news is that Depression is treatable and most people respond well to some kind of treatment. There may be a bit of trial and error involved in finding the right one but most people find something that helps relieve their Depression symptoms.
This “shock” therapy uses electricity to stimulate the brain which is believed to jumpstart the neurotransmitters into working. Because this is an invasive therapy that is done under sedation and has side effects that include memory loss, it is usually only used for the most severe cases of Depression that have not responded to other treatments.
Getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, avoiding depressants like alcohol, and using meditation or relaxation techniques to relieve stress are ways that you can improve the success of your treatment.