Everyone feels blue now and again. So how do you know when you've crossed the line into depression?
… loss of appetite, change in interest in things that used to be interesting, or you have sleep problems. You find yourself crying a lot, feeling negative about yourself in the future.
There is no clear answer as to what causes depression, though genetics, environmental, biochemical and psychological factors are all believed to play a role…
A diagnosis of depression is often determined by the degree of dysfunction and how long a person has been down in the dumps.
Depression all day, every day for about two weeks, or else a two-week period of loss of interest and pretty much everything that used to bring somebody pleasure.
By some estimates, over fifteen percent of the population will experience some form of depression.
An overwhelming majority report their condition creates significant obstacles to functioning normally…be it at work or in daily life.
Whether inherited, triggered by emotional trauma or chronic stress… or more likely a combination of these dynamics;
the brain of a depressed person has distinct characteristics and the condition can alter other vital systems within the body.
Take the stress hormone cortisol --once triggered it often doesn't level off in a depressed person as it should –increasing vulnerability to other diseases.
Where other diseases are already present, depression has been shown to complicate treatment and impede recovery… and increases a person's risk of committing suicide.
Clearly, chronic depression should be viewed as a serious health threat and treated by a qualified professional as soon as possible…
The data is clear that the gold standard is therapy and medication, either alone or in combination.
Antidepressant drugs and talk therapy such as cognitive therapy have been shown to improve symptoms.
Antidepressants work by affecting levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain—notably serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine.
These chemicals help regulate mood, energy and primal drives like eating, sex and sleep…
Electro-convulsive therapy has proven useful in some cases when conventional treatment is ineffective…
Certain therapies involving less dramatic life-style adjustments have been gaining traction in recent years: Light-exposure therapy has proven useful for certain types of depression…
And something as simple as regular exercise has been demonstrated to have a profound impact on mood and can actually lower the chances of becoming depressed in the first place.
Unfortunately, many with depression never seek any form of treatment…
although evidence shows that the vast majority, even the most severe cases, can get better with prompt intervention and proper management of their condition.