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Last Updated on April 28, 2023

Depression is comparatively common among American adults, with 14.8 million folks — 6.7 percent of the adult population — experiencing a major depressive disorder in any given year. Both men and women might have melancholy, but it is more common among women.

People that are depressed experience sadness or lack of interest in activities they once enjoyed. While just about everyone experiences these feelings every once in a while, those who are depressed have these feelings on a continuing basis, and the symptoms of depression affect how they function in daily life.

Understanding the Causes of Depression

Several variables are believed to lead to the development of depression, including:

  • Genetics. Depression will run in families, so researchers think that certain genes might be associated with developing it.
  • Brain abnormalities. Scientists have found that individuals who are depressed have certain brain characteristics that are distinct from those who are not depressed. Imbalances of norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine, which are brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, are considered to be involved with the development of depression.
  • Stressful situations. Trying events, including the loss of a family member, an important life change, or a serious illness, happen to be recognized to trigger depression. While some people have ordinary and temporary feelings of loss and hopelessness after a stressful occasion, others are going to experience clinical depression.
  • Sex. Because depression affects women over men — at least two times more commonly — depression in women might be associated with sex-specific variables, like menstrual cycles and pregnancy, or differences in how women and men respond to stressful scenarios.

Researchers work to identify other variables that bring about the danger of depression. The hope is that future research will bring about new approaches for preventing and treating depression.

Understanding the Types of Depression

Major depression is a serious mental illness when a man experiences multiple depressive symptoms for at least two weeks. Other forms of depression include:

  • Bipolar disorder, alternating episodes of mental “highs” (mania) and “lows” (depression).

  • Dysthymia,
    light depression symptoms that last two years or more.
  • Postpartum depression, a type of depression that occurs in the mother after her baby is born.

  • Seasonal affective disorder
    (SAD), a major depression that occurs during seasons with low sun.
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Diagnosing Depression

Medical specialists have confirmed nine symptoms for depression, five physical and four psychological. An individual has to be in a blue state or unable to see happiness, like sex, and also have four other symptoms for at least two weeks to have depression. Potential symptoms are:

  • Feeling guilty, hopeless, and worthless
  • Having recurring suicidal ideas
  • Having trouble sleeping, either too much or too little
  • Experiencing desire/weight changes
  • Having trouble paying attention and concentrating
  • Feeling little energy or unexplained tiredness
  • Agitation or slowing down of body movements

Understanding Depression: Coexisting Ailments

People with depression often have other physical or mental illnesses for example:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Booze and/or substance abuse or addiction
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Parkinson’s disease

By having depression, these other serious illnesses more challenging to deal with, and raises the risk of dying from these other conditions are made.

Seeking Help for Depression

Depression is a serious sickness that should be treated by medical professionals. Whether your case of depression is serious or moderate, treatment can help.

If you’re experiencing consistent difficulties associated with depression, talk with your family doctor. Primary care physicians write more prescriptions for antidepressants than other healthcare professionals.

Your physician refer one to a mental health professional, rule out other medical conditions, or can discuss your symptoms with you. There are many treatments, including electroconvulsive therapy, psychotherapy, light therapy, and drugs, that are extremely powerful for depression.

The initial step is the most important: getting help to get better.

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