What is depression?
Depression is a common mental health disorder that results in a feeling of sadness and a loss of interest in surroundings. Most people have felt depressed at times but when it is persistent you may need treatment.

How can depression be prevented?

  • Reducing stress
  • Getting sufficient sleep
  • Healthy diet
  • Regular exercise

What are the symptoms of depression?
You may have depression if you have five or more of the following symptoms.

  • Low mood, unhappy
  • Inability to sleep or sleeping too much
  • Feeling tired most of the day
  • Decreased sexual desire
  • Feeling guilty almost daily
  • No interest in usual activities
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Inability to focus
  • Loss of weight or weight gain
  • Anyone who thinks or talks about harming themselves should get help. Sometimes antidepressants can trigger these feelings

What are possible causes of depression?

  • Hormone swings as in pregnancy or postpartum (after delivery), thyroid issues
  • Family history of depression
  • Brain chemistry abnormalities
  • Chronic medical conditions
  • Drug or alcohol use

Are there various types of depression?
There are several types of depressive disorders.

How is depression diagnosed?

  • Physical evaluation by a doctor
  • Laboratory tests
  • Mental health evaluation

How is depression treated?

  • Seek evaluation by a mental health professional and get psychotherapy/counseling
  • Medications may be suggested
  • Exercise
  • Drug and alcohol rehabilitation where indicated
  • Alternative therapies such as meditation, yoga, adopt an animal (pet therapy), acupuncture, supplements
  • Rarely, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)

What medications can be used to treat depression?

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Antidepressants
  • Anxiolytics
  • Antipsychotics

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 Written by HEALTHdrum