Though many people tend to stigmatize depression, it is a serious medical condition that can get progressively worse without proper treatment. Feelings of sadness and dejection are a normal part of life. However, if these feelings are frequent and persist for more than 2 weeks at a time, then you could be dealing with depression.

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Depression is essentially a mood disorder. It constitutes feelings of sadness, loss, hopelessness, or anger that interferes with one’s day to day activities. It is also one of the most common disorders according to Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They estimate that over 8.1% of the American population above the age of 20 have had depressed for at least 2 weeks between 2013 and 2016. .

There are many causes of depression. They can be either biological or circumstantial. Some of them include the following:

  • Family history – if there is a history of depression or other mood disorders in your family, then you’re at a higher risk of developing it too.
  • Childhood trauma – Certain events in early childhood can severely impact the way one’s body reacts to fear and stress.
  • Brain structure – There have been various studies that highlight that depression is associated with a decreased activity in the frontal lobe of the brain. However, it is yet a mystery as to whether this occurs before or after the onset of depression.
  • Drug Use – People who have a history of drug and alcohol abuse are at a higher risk.
  • Medical Conditions – Some conditions increase one’s chance of developing depression such as insomnia, ADHD, and chronic pain.

There are many factors that determine whether or not one will develop depression and are often tied to other elements of one’s health as well. For instance, conditions like cancer, obesity, arthritis, and diabetes tend to get worse during depressive episodes. It is also one of the poles of bipolar disorder, a condition characterized by extreme mania and depression. Though there are various treatments available for depression, healthcare providers in many cases are unable to specify the cause of depression..

Treatment can greatly improve your life if you’re living with depression. Symptoms can be managed with a single treatment method, or by combing different options together. It is not uncommon for patients to combine medical treatments with lifestyle therapies to alleviate their depression. Some of the medication that works to allay depressive symptoms include antidepressants, antianxiety pills, or antipsychotic medication. Speaking with a therapist can allow you to learn specific skills to cope up with negative feelings. Family or group therapy sessions can also work wonders. Light therapy can also improve one’s moods and improve depressive symptoms. It is commonly used in major depressive episodes that occur with a seasonal pattern. Many other treatments include meditation, acupuncture, herbal supplements, and the utilization of fish oil in one’s diet. Exercising for at least half an hour for 3 to 5 days a week also helps in endorphin production that naturally improves one’s mood..

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