What is depression?
Depression, also known as major depressive disorder, is a mental health condition characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest or pleasure in daily activities.
Symptoms of depression
- Persistent sadness or irritability
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Sleep disturbances (insomnia or excessive sleep)
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Causes of depression
Depression can result from a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Traumatic life events, chronic stress, and a family history of depression can increase the risk.
Seeking professional help
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of depression, it’s crucial to reach out to a General practitioner, or mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or therapist, for a diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Treatment for depression may include psychotherapy (talk therapy), medication, or a combination of both. Common antidepressant medications include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
Support from loved ones
- If you have a friend or family member with depression, it’s essential to provide emotional support and understanding. Be a good listener and offer encouragement.
- Encourage them to seek professional help and accompany them to appointments if needed.
- Avoid making judgments or telling them to “snap out of it.” Depression is a real and complex illness.
Self-care for individuals with depression
- Individuals with depression need to engage in self-care activities. This can include regular exercise, a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and managing stress.
- Developing a support network and participating in support groups can also be beneficial.
If someone you know expresses suicidal thoughts or intentions, or if you believe they are in immediate danger, seek help immediately. Call a crisis hotline, take them to the emergency room, or contact a mental health professional.
Remember that depression is a treatable condition, and many people with depression can lead fulfilling lives with the right support and treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, it’s important to reach out to a healthcare professional for assistance.