Depression is a serious health issue, affecting approximately 14.8 million adults, or 6.7 of the U.S. population 18 and older each year. Additionally, the Center for Mental Health Services estimates that as many as 1 in 33 children and 1 in 8 adolescents are treated for clinical depression. Not only that, but depression often coincides with other medical problems, as those people who are affected by depression are four times as likely to develop a heart attack than those without a history of the illness.
If you or someone you love is experiencing depression, it’s important to seek out a mental health professional. There are several types of therapy that have proven successful in treating depression, and there are also antidepressant medications and other treatment options that may reduce depression symptoms.
How Do You Know If It’s Depression?
Signs of depression may vary from person to person. Sometimes, friends and family members might think certain symptoms are part of the afflicted person’s normal life. However, if these symptoms become severe or last for an extended period of time, it’s time to seek help.
Possible symptoms of depression include:
Feelings of helplessness or hopelessness- The belief that there is nothing to better a situation.
Loss of interest in daily life- A lack of hobbies, interests or social activities, and little interest in sex.
Significant change in emotions- Constant anger, violence or restlessness.
Lack of energy- Constant fatigue and sluggishness. Tasks take longer to complete.
Concentration issues- Concentrate challenges and struggles to make decisions and remember tasks or people.
Engaging in reckless behavior- Engaging in activities that lead to severe long-term effects on the mind and body, like substance abuse, compulsive gambling, or partaking in dangerous sports.
While these are common signs of depression, the disease takes different forms in men, women, adolescents, and children. Men often focus more on the physical issues of depression, such as fatigue, sleep problems, and loss of interest in work and hobbies. On the other hand, women are more likely to sleep excessively, have pronounced feelings of guilt, and experience weight gain. Teens are prone to violent behavior and hostility.
Depression Diagram of Synapses
A person’s life doesn’t have to be overrun by depression. Sometimes depression improves with certain lifestyle changes, including getting regular exercise and sleep, cultivating positive relationships, eating healthy, practicing relaxation techniques, and managing stress.
If lifestyle changes and therapy do not produce the desired results for those affected by depression, medication might be the next best option. Medications like Pristiq, Effexor, and Oleptro treat depression by increasing the availability of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine. Antidepressant medications help these neurotransmitters stay in the body longer, allowing the depressed person to experience more positive thoughts and get more enjoyment out of their daily activities.
For more information about depression symptoms and medications, visit our Depression Condition Page.