Feel depressed
 


What this section contains?

Feel depressed

What is Feel depressed?

A mental health disorder characterised by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life.

Cause

Common causes include:

  • Family history. Youíre at a higher risk for developing depression if you have a family history of depression or another mood disorder.
  • Early childhood trauma. Some events impact the way that body reacts to fear and stressful situations.
  • Brain structure. Thereís a greater risk for depression if the frontal lobe of your brain is less active. However, scientists donít know if this happens before or after the onset of depressive symptoms.
  • Medical conditions. Certain conditions may put you at higher risk, such as chronic illness, insomnia, chronic pain, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Drug use. A history of drug or alcohol misuse can impact your risk.

Diagnosis & Tests

There isnít a single test to diagnose depression. But your doctor can make a diagnosis based on your symptoms and a psychological evaluation.
In most cases, your doctor will ask a series of questions about your moods, appetite, sleep pattern, activity level, and thoughts.
Because depression can be linked to other health problems, your doctor may also conduct a physical examination and order blood work. Sometimes thyroid problems or a vitamin D deficiency can trigger symptoms of depression.
Donít ignore symptoms of depression. If your mood doesnít improve or gets worse, seek medical help. Depression is a serious mental illness with risks of complications.

If left untreated, complications include:

  • weight gain or loss
  • physical pain
  • substance use problems
  • panic attacks
  • relationship problems
  • social isolation
  • suicidal thoughts
  • self-mutilation

Prevention & Risk Factors

Depression isnít generally considered to be preventable. Itís hard to recognize what causes it, which means preventing it is more difficult.
But once youíve experienced a depressive episode, you may be better prepared to prevent a future episode by learning which lifestyle changes and treatments are helpful.
Techniques that may help include:

  • regular exercise
  • getting plenty of sleep
  • maintaining treatments
  • reducing stress
  • building strong relationships with others

Treatments & Therapies

Your doctor may prescribe antidepressants, antianxiety, or antipsychotic medications. Speaking with a therapist can help you learn skills to cope with negative feelings. You may also benefit from family or group therapy sessions. Exposure to doses of white light can help regulate mood and improve symptoms of depression. This therapy is commonly used in seasonal affective disorder (which is now called major depressive disorder with seasonal pattern).