Depression – Symptoms and Treatment Options

Everyone has felt sad from time to time. But, while many of us experience sadness or other dips in our moods temporarily, for many people depression is a constant battle. There are many kinds of depression that come about for a variety of reasons -each different from the next. With a proper diagnosis from a medical professional, medicinal or non-medicinal treatments can help people suffering from depression live normal, stable and healthy lives.

Depression - Symptoms and Treatment Options
Depression is a common disorder that affects millions of Americans. It is characterized by a prolonged period (two weeks or more) of experiencing one or more symptoms of depression. Depression symptoms are both mental and physical. Mental symptoms of depression:
  • Loss of interest in daily activities and hobbies
  • Feelings of isolation, worthlessness and rejection
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Sadness, anxiety, or worry
  • Difficulty focusing or concentrating
Physical symptoms of depression:
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Digestive problems
  • Headaches
  • Muscle soreness or tightness
Chronic depression commonly develops during adolescence or the young adult years. However, anyone at any age can develop depression. People who have had to go through a traumatic experience or event may be at a higher risk to become clinically depressed. Others may also be genetically predisposed to experiencing depression. Having relatives that suffer from depression can put a person at a higher risk of developing the condition. Finally, those with a history of substance abuse or alcoholism, or who are taking medication for another medical illness may be more susceptible to becoming depressed.
There are several different medical treatments available to help with the symptoms of depression. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), like Prozac or Zoloft, are the most common antidepressants. Other medications may be more or less effective and present the risk of more severe side effects. Some medications, like benzodiazepines which are used for anxiety and other disorders, may be prescribed for short-term treatment. All medications have risks and should only be taken as directed. Abruptly stopping medication or changing the dosage can bring on unwanted results.
There are many possible side effects that people experience when taking medication for depression. Some side effects are only present in the first week or two of using a new medication. Many users experience prolonged side effects that relate to sexual function, such as a reduced sex drive, erectile dysfunction or trouble having an orgasm. Weight gain, weight loss and changes in appetite are also common side effects. More severe side effects can happen in very rare cases, such as extreme changes in mood or even suicidal thoughts. If any of these side effects occur a doctor should be notified immediately.
Depression is an illness and can be treated with medication, but there are many other things that people who suffer from depression can do to combat their symptoms. Getting into a routine of waking up, exercising and eating healthy on a regular schedule can help people who have become depressed. Group therapy, one-on-one therapy and support groups are all great places for someone who is suffering from depression to talk about their problems without fear of judgment or embarrassment. Getting outside and taking in sunlight is a natural way to increase Vitamin D and feel happier. Staying busy, going to work, helping out around the house and generally staying active can go a long way in fighting feelings of depression.
Depression – Symptoms and Treatment Options
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