What is Major Depression?

Major depression is a condition in which a person experiences persistent sadness or hopelessness. People who have to deal with major depression find it difficult to perform their daily routine, maintain relationships, and stay interested in activities that they once enjoyed. It's estimated that about 7% of all adults in the United States suffer from this condition.

Causes of Major Depression

Medical researchers do not yet fully understand the causes of major depression. However, they do believe that chemical changes in the brain may contribute to the development of the condition. They have also found that depression may be genetic, as it can sometimes run in families. Additionally, major depression may be triggered by certain major life events, such as a big move, a job loss, or a the death of a loved one. People who have suffered emotional, physical, or verbal abuse during childhood are also at a greater risk of developing major depression as adults.

Symptoms Of Major Depression

Restlessness, agitation, loss of interest in enjoyable activities, appetite changes, and sleeping problems are some of the possible symptoms of depression. Additionally, many people with the condition have thoughts of harming themselves. In particularly severe cases, patients may also experience symptoms of psychosis, such as delusions or hallucinations. Adolescents who suffer from major depression may also have behavioral problems in school or have issues with drug and alcohol abuse.

Treatment of Major Depression

Major depression can be treated in a variety of ways, and doctors will typically recommend both antidepressants and discuss therapy for depression as an appropriate course of action.

Antidepressants work by restoring balance to levels of the brain's chemicals. While this can be an effective means of treatment, it is important to note that it may take a while for the medications to work. Furthermore, people have to be monitored very closely while they are taking antidepressants, as they can cause unwanted side effects, such as an increase in suicidal thoughts. 

Talk therapy (also known as psychotherapy) allows people to work through their feelings in a safe environment. This approach teaches patients how to identify and deal with patterns of negative thoughts. In some cases, group therapy may also be recommended, as it allows people to talk with others who are having similar experiences.

Unfortunately, many people with depression do not recieve the treatment that they need because of the stigma surrounding mental illness. Some studies have shown that men are less likely to seek treatment than women, but even women are susceptible to this trend as well. 

Prevention of Major Depression

Depression is a complex condition, and the causes of it are not fully understood. Because of this, preventing it may not always be possible. However, there are a few things people can do to reduce their risk, such as avoiding the use of illegal drugs or alcohol, exercising, and getting plenty of rest.