Depression is a serious mood disorder that affects your whole body including your mood and thoughts. It touches every part of your life. It’s important to know that depression is not a weakness or character flaw. It’s a chemical imbalance in your brain that needs to be treated.
If you have one episode of depression, you are at risk of having more throughout life. If you don’t get treatment, depression can happen more often and be more serious.
While each person may experience symptoms differently, these are the most common symptoms of depression:
If you have 5 or more of these symptoms for at least 2 weeks, you may be diagnosed with depression. These feelings are a noticeable change from what’s “normal” for you.
The symptoms of depression may look like other mental health conditions. Always see a healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Depression can happen along with other medical conditions. These include heart disease, or cancer, as well as other mental health conditions. Early diagnosis and treatment is key to recovery.
A diagnosis is made after a careful mental health exam and medical history done. This is usually done by a mental health professional.
Treatment for depression may include one or a combination of the following:
With treatment, you should feel better within a few weeks. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or even years. Continued treatment may help to prevent depression from appearing again.
Depression can make you feel exhausted, worthless, helpless, and hopeless. It’s important to realize that these negative views are part of the depression and do not reflect reality. Negative thinking fades as treatment begins to take effect. Meanwhile, consider the following:
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