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Could You Be Depressed and Not Know It?

WebMD can help you recognize depression - and find relief

What Are the Causes of Depression? continued...

For many people, antidepressants are very effective in treating depression, particularly when depression is severe or persistent. We don't completely understand how antidepressants work, but we do know that they readjust the balance in brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters. There are currently many different types of antidepressants on the market, so be sure to work with a psychiatrist who can help you find the medication that is most effective for you.

While you are seeking help for your depression, remember to take care of yourself. Avoid alcohol and drugs, and be sure to get enough sleep. Exercise can be surprisingly helpful in boosting your mood. If your depression is mild to moderate, it can cut symptoms nearly in half, research from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center notes, making it just as effective as medication.

Whatever you do, don't sit back and wait for depression to abate on its own. If you are depressed, it is nothing to be ashamed of -- and you don't have to continue to suffer. Depression is one of the most treatable conditions in all of medicine, according to Kornstein. Unfortunately, it continues to be under diagnosed and under treated.

It is also important to get help because depression affects more just than your mood, says Harvard assistant professor Alice D. Domar, PhD, co-author of Self-Nurture. While you procrastinate, hoping to get better on your own, depression can wreak havoc on your health, raise your risk of heart disease and infertility, and suppress your immune system. Perhaps even more important, experts now know that, left untreated, depression is likely to recur and to be more severe and difficult to treat with each recurrence.

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Reviewed on July 01, 2007

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