Everyone feels sad or low sometimes, but these feelings usually pass with a little time. Depression—also called “depressive disorder”—is a mood disorder that causes distressing symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working.
Research suggests that a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors play a role in depression. Depression can occur along with other serious illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Depression can make these conditions worse and vice versa. Sometimes medications taken for these illnesses may cause side effects that contribute to depression symptoms.
Different people have different symptoms. Sadness is only one small part of depression and some people with depression may not feel sadness at all. To be diagnosed with depression, symptoms must be present most of the day, nearly every day for at least 2 weeks. Some symptoms of depression include:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities
- Decreased energy, fatigue, or being “slowed down”
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Appetite and/or weight changes
- Thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts
- Restlessness or irritability
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment
If you want to help yourself when you are depressed, try to do things that you used to enjoy. Go easy on yourself. Other things that may help include:
- Trying to be active and exercise
- Breaking up large tasks into small ones, set priorities, and do what you can as you can
- Spending time with other people and confide in a trusted friend or relative
- Postponing important life decisions until you feel better. Discuss decisions with others who know you well
- Avoiding self-medication with alcohol or with drugs not prescribed for you
If you know someone who has depression, first help him or her see a health care provider or mental health professional. You can also:
- Offer support, understanding, patience, and encouragement
- Never ignore comments about suicide, and report them to your loved one’s health care provider or therapist
- Invite him or her out for walks, outings, and other activities
- Help him or her adhere to the treatment plan, such as setting reminders to take prescribed medications
- Help him or her by ensuring that he or she has transportation to therapy appointments
- Remind him or her that, with time and treatment, the depression will lift
Psychotherapy helps by learning new ways of thinking and behaving, and changing habits that may be contributing to depression. Therapy can help you understand and work through difficult relationships or situations that may be causing your depression or making it worse.
Neurofeedback also helps your brain to regulate in a healthier way to reduce depressed symptoms. By providing accurate and instantaneous audio visual feedback, our brain learns to correct brainwave patterns.
If you or loved one has depressed mood or shows symptoms similar to the ones listed above, contact us at Cypress Clinic to get help.