Sadness or downswings in mood are normal reactions to life’s struggles, setbacks, and disappointments. Many people use the word “depression” to explain these kinds of feelings, but depression is much more than just sadness. But when such feelings last for more than two weeks and when the feelings interfere with daily activities such as taking care of family, spending time with friends, or going to work or school, it’s likely a major depressive episode.
Approximately 14.8 million American adults suffer from depression, according to the National Institutes of Health. Sometimes the condition is temporary. The mother of a newborn, for example, may have short-term post-partum depression. However, depression can be severe and persistent. In some cases it can be as fatal as suicide. Depression takes a toll on the person who’s depressed as well as those around him/her. Luckily, a loved one can emerge from depression, as long as the right steps are taken and treatment is sought.
Understanding the signs, symptoms, causes, and treatment of depression is the first step to overcoming the problem.
When these symptoms are overwhelming and disabling, that’s when it’s time to seek help.
Depression comes in many shapes and forms. The different types of depression have unique symptoms, causes, and effects. Knowing what type of depression you have can help you manage your symptoms and get the most effective treatment.
People with untreated depression have a lower quality of life, a higher risk of suicide, and worse physical prognoses if they have any medical conditions besides depression. In fact, people with depression are almost twice as likely to die as people without the condition.
If you are diagnosed with depression, your healthcare provider will tell you what type of depression you have, and what treatments might work for you. Often treatment involves a combination of psychotherapy and antidepressant medications. Treatment of depression is discussed separately.
Support from family and friends is important to the recovery process, but it is not the cure. Getting better takes hard work, mostly from the person with the disorder, and patience from everyone involved.
With appropriate treatment from a mental health professional, a person can overcome an anxiety disorder and depression, which leads to a better quality of life for everyone.