Depression
Last Edited: April 10th, 2012

Coupons for Depression

Depression

While depression affects more than twenty million people in the United States alone, many sufferers still feel that they are all alone or “nobody understands.” It's important to understand that this is not simply a matter of emotional weakness or mental imbalance. There are many physical causes of depression, and it can take many different forms in individual people.

Types

There are several types of depression, and all can present with different symptoms and require unique treatments. The most common type of depression is dysthymia, which is also called mild chronic depression. Many adults will suffer short-term dysthymia at some point in their lives, but most people can continue functioning at work and home despite dealing with the symptoms. However, if the symptoms become disabling, then the condition is classified as major depression or clinical depression, and stronger treatments may be necessary. Clinical depression is often a recurring problem for patients throughout their life, and requires ongoing treatment. Postpartum depression is also very common and it has similar symptoms to major depression, but occurs in women immediately after the birth of a child. Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD), also known as seasonal depression, is marked by an increase in symptoms during specific times of the year, which is usually late fall through early spring.

Symptoms

Symptoms of depression vary from person to person, but some common symptoms include a feeling of hopelessness or helplessness, changes in sleep patterns, changes in appetite, difficulty concentrating, an increase in reckless behavior such as drinking or dangerous pastimes, and a loss of energy. Less common symptoms include anger or irritability, suicidal thoughts, or anhedonia (a loss of interest in activities that formerly gave pleasure).

Causes

There can be a myriad of causes for depression, including genetics, but most cases involve drastic life changes or other stressors. Common events that can cause depressive symptoms include death of a loved one, change in employment status, birth of a child, financial stress, loneliness, early childhood trauma, or drug and alcohol abuse.

Risk Factors

There is some research that indicates a possible familial connection to depression, but because the symptoms are so varied it is difficult to say for certain that depression is more common in certain families. However, other risk factors are more typical, such as a recent life event, a change in marital status, or unemployment.

Treatment

Treatment for depression varies depending on the person and type of depression, but talk therapy or counseling is beneficial in most cases. If a patient suffers from seasonal depression, equipment such as an ultraviolet light has been shown to help alleviate some of the symptoms. Additionally, there are a variety of drug options that can help mitigate the length and severity of depression symptoms. Lifestyle changes can also dramatically reduce the causes and symptoms of depression, such as getting regular sleep and exercise, adjusting to a more balanced diet, utilizing relaxation techniques, and actively developing social connections.