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What is Depression?

Depression is an extreme feeling of sadness and discouragement. It can affect anyone at any age. It is not connected with and does not develop into insanity.

Depression varies in severity. Some people will experience a mild form of depression and will be able to carryout day to day activities. Others will experience a severe form of depression and may lack the energy or desire to perform day to day activities.

Some people will experience depression once or twice in their lifetime. For others, depression is a recurring disease.

Signs of Depression

  • persistent sadness
  • irritability
  • feelings of anxiety
  • feelings of helplessness
  • changes in eating habits
  • rapid weight loss
  • rapid weight gain
  • loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and sex
  • difficulty concentrating
  • difficulty sleeping

What Causes Depression?

There are many causes of depression. The most common causes are major changes in life such as: passage from childhood to adulthood, and sudden trauma (divorce, loss of job, loss of a loved one). For some people, depression is a recurring disease.

Depression and Stress

If you regularly suffer from depression, prolonged exposure to stress can increase the duration and severity of depression.

Depression and Exercise

Research has shown that exercise is a helpful way to treat depression. Exercise helps treat depression by:

  • Increases your sense of mastery which can help for people who don't feel in control of their lives and moods
  • Increases self-esteem
  • Provides a distraction from your worries
  • Improves your health and body, which can help lift your mood
  • Helps you get rid of built-up stress and frustration
  • Helps you sleep better.

***If you are currently taking medication do not stop taking it without consulting your doctor.

Treatments for Depression

Depression can be treated. People may be offered antidepressants. Some of the most common antidepressants are: zoloft, celexa, remeron, prozac, and paxil.

It is important to continue taking the medication even if you begin to feel better. Sometimes, patients are tempted to stop medication too soon. They may feel better and think they no longer need the medication. Medications must be taken regularly for 3 to 4 weeks before the full effect occurs.

Antidepressants may cause side effects. The most common side effects are: Dry mouth, Constipation, Bladder problems, Sexual problems, Blurred vision, Dizziness and Drowsiness.

Other treatment options include: group therapy and talking with a counselor.

Depression Statistics

  • About 40 million Americans suffer from Depression
  • Between 10 to 15% of the of child and adolescent population has depression
  • Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among 10-24 year olds

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