What is Depression?
Depression (also known as major depressive disorder) is a group of symptoms which can dramatically affect how you feel, how you think, and how you act, both at home and in public. Depression is characterized by feelings of sadness and loss of interest in things you normally enjoy.
Other symptoms of depression can include:
- Loss of energy or fatigue almost daily
- Weakened concentration or indecisiveness
- Feelings of inferiority or guilt almost daily
- Significant loss of interest in things you normally enjoy
- Insomnia or excessive sleeping almost daily
- Significant weight gain or loss in a short period of time
- Loss of energy or fatigue
- Thoughts of death or suicide
What Should I Do?
If you believe you are experiencing the symptoms of depression, the first step is to talk to your healthcare provider. They will ask you about your family’s psychiatric history and will ask you questions to screen for the symptoms of depression.
Treatments for Depression
Medication – If brain chemistry is contributing to a person’s depression, he or she may be prescribed antidepressant medication to help balance this chemistry. These medications are typically not habit-forming and can sometimes improve symptoms within the first week. Other patients may not see full benefits for two to three months. You can work with your doctor to determine an optimal dose and timeline if antidepressants are right for you.
Psychotherapy – Psychotherapy, also known as “talk therapy” can be helpful on its own for sufferers of mild depression, or in conjunction with antidepressants for those with more severe symptoms. Psychotherapy generally focuses on identifying distorted thinking, creating strategies for overcoming negative thought patterns, and teaching constructive problem solving techniques.
If you have any additional questions about treatment options please contact our counseling clinic in Idaho Falls and we will help point you in the right direction.
Can I Help Myself?
There are many things you can do to improve your depression symptoms today. Regular exercise releases feel-good hormones called endorphins that can boost your mood. Getting enough sleep, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and avoiding alcohol can also improve depression symptoms.
Although depression is a serious illness, it is very treatable. If you or a loved one is showing signs of depression, the most important step is to reach out for help. Tell someone you trust that you may need help. Then contact a physician.
Ready to take the first step?