Warning signs and treatment options for depression
Many people suffer from depression at different points in their lives—the loss of a loved one, loss of a job, divorce and many other life changes can all trigger periods of depression. Generally, these periods are only temporary, and with time people can move beyond them.
In some cases, however, depression is more than just a temporary setback. For some, the condition can be ongoing, with no discernible cause. Rather than getting better, the depression gets worse until it becomes engrained in the sufferer's life and self-image. It's in these cases where professional treatment of depression becomes necessary.
Although depression sufferers will experience different symptoms, some common signs of the condition include:
- Loss of interest in activities. Depression sufferers will often withdraw from their favorite hobbies, as well as from friends and social activity.
- Troubled sleep. Both insomnia and oversleeping are common signs of depression.
- Irritability and edginess. Many sufferers of depression become irritable and have trouble concentrating or sitting still. Often, small things can set off their tempers.
- Lack of energy. Depression sufferers often feel drained of energy and may experience aches and pains when performing even the mildest activities.
- Feelings of hopelessness and self-loathing. It's common for sufferers of depression to have a bleak perspective about their lives and their futures, or to heavily criticize themselves.
Depression can also be a symptom of other serious conditions, such as bipolar disorder or addiction, so it's important that sufferers get medical help immediately.
There are plenty of free depression help resources available online that can get you started in understanding your condition, but treatment for depression often requires professional medical help, such as:
- Therapy. Therapy can be extremely beneficial in treating depression. Professional therapists can help patients get to the root of their problems and can help them start and stick to an ongoing treatment plan.
- Medication. Depression medication, which includes short-term and chronic depression medication, is often used only in severe cases of depression, as it often comes with serious side effects and can be addictive. Many sufferers who go off their depression medication often suffer from antidepressant withdrawals that can set back their progress, so medication should be used carefully.
- Lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes are often used in tandem with other depression treatments. These may include introducing new hobbies, an exercise plan or treating depression with food by switching from an unhealthy to a healthy diet; all three can help manage the symptoms of depression and improve mood.