Depression - overview

Blues; Gloom; Sadness; Melancholy

Depression may be described as feeling sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps. Most of us feel this way at one time or another for short periods.

Clinical depression is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interfere with everyday life for weeks or more.

Which of these may be a symptom of depression?The correct answer is all of the above. Depression may be described as feeling sad, blue, unhappy, or miserable. Most of us feel this way sometimes for short periods. But depression as a medical condition affects your daily life in a persistent way. Talk with your doctor if you have any of these symptoms, or if you think you may be depressed.Depression is a state of mind – if you try hard enough, you can snap out of it.The correct answer is myth. Depression is a medical disorder that causes real suffering. Brain scans have shown that certain areas of the brain look different in people with depression. It's unclear what causes the disorder. An imbalance of brain chemicals or genetics may play a role.If a friend or loved one talks about suicide, what should you do?The correct answer is to seek help right away. Suicide can be prevented with prompt intervention. If you or a loved one feels suicidal, call your doctor right away or call the 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Never try to manage the problem on your own.Depression is more common in women.The correct answer is fact. Hormonal changes throughout a woman’s life may play a role. At puberty, girls have twice the risk for depression than boys. Many women notice mood changes and even depression around their period, after childbirth, and around the time of menopause.People who are depressed tend to:The correct answer is either A or B. While some people lose interest in food when they are depressed, others turn to food for comfort and overeat.Children don't get depressed.The correct answer is myth. A depressed child may complain of aches and pains, refuse to go to school, or worry all the time. About 10% to 15% of teenagers have symptoms of depression at some point in their teens. Note any changes in your teen’s daily routines or behaviors. This can be a sign of depression.Men may spend more time at work when they are depressed.The correct answer is fact. Men often react to depression in different ways than women. They are more likely to work long hours, abuse alcohol or drugs, lose their temper, or behave recklessly.Which types of talk therapy are effective in treating depression?The correct answer is all of the above. Cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches you how to fight negative thoughts and develop self-awareness and problem-solving skills. Psychotherapy can help you understand the issues behind your thoughts and feelings. Ask your doctor for a recommendation.Depression can make the symptoms of other illnesses seem worse.The correct answer is fact. If you have a health condition like diabetes, depression can make the symptoms more severe. Feeling sad or down also makes it harder for you to do the work needed to manage your illness. Getting help for depression usually makes it easier to successfully treat your condition.Which of the following is true of antidepressant medicines?The correct answer is C. Remember that it can take 4 to 8 weeks for an antidepressant to become fully effective, so try to be patient. However, some benefits start earlier than that. If your medicine isn’t helping, be sure to talk to your doctor. Often, changing to a different antidepressant or adding a second medicine will help your symptoms.Depression is very difficult to treat.The correct answer is myth. In reality, most patients get better when treated with medicine, talk therapy, or both together. The first step is to talk to your doctor, who can refer you to a mental health professional. Make that first call, and you will be on the path to recovery.
Depression in children

Children who are depressed may exhibit symptoms differently than adults. For instance, a depressed child may seem bored and unusually irritable.

Depression and heart disease

The link between heart disease and depression has long been thought of as cause-and-effect. Studies are now showing that depression itself may contribute to heart disease.

Depression and the menstrual cycle

A form of depression exclusive to women, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a syndrome of depressive symptoms brought about by monthly hormonal fluctuation.

Depression and insomnia

Studies show bouts of insomnia may predispose individuals to depressive illness. The correlation between sleep disorders and mood disorders holds true across age and gender lines.

Considerations

Causes

When to Contact a Medical Professional