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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is a leading contributor to illness worldwide and an estimated 350 million people are affected. In a survey that they conducted in 17 countries, around 1 in 20 people reported to have an episode of depression within the last year. The demand for stopping depression is increasing globally and the WHO is urging its member countries to take drastic steps in the direction of curbing depression.

What is Depression?

Feeling down every now and then is normal for everybody. However, when feelings of hopelessness and despair become persistent, an individual may have depression. Depression is a mental disorder that is characterized by low moods, loss of interest or pleasure, decreased energy, low self-esteem, feelings of guilt, lack of sleep and appetite and poor concentration. According to a Jade Recovery a Denver addiction treatment center rep, depression usually starts with feelings of anxiety.

Depression is more than just a feeling of blues or weakness of character. It is a mental and physical illness and you simply just can’t “shake it off”. In fact, people who have depression often require long-term treatment. The treatment comes in the form of medication, psychotherapy and counselling. There are many causes of depression and not all of these causes have been fully studied but understanding the common causes may prevent its occurrence.

Among the common causes include family history, brain structure, early childhood trauma, medical conditions and substance abuse. Depression is heritable and if an individual has a family history of depression there is a significant likelihood that the individual could acquire depression. Depression is also associated with low activity in the frontal lobe of your brain so frontal lobe problems could cause depression. Another leading cause of depression is childhood trauma or traumatic experiences. Medical conditions such as ADHD are also correlated with depression. Lastly, substance abuse such as alcohol abuse and drug use are major causes of depression.

Symptoms of Depression

                The most common symptom of depression is a feeling of hopelessness and helplessness. It usually begins when an individual thinks that life doesn’t get better or situations don’t improve at all. Another symptom is the lack of interest in daily activities. A sudden abandonment of hobbies, social activities and pastimes could be a sign of depression. Lack of interest in sex is another sign. EZclaim medical billing software

Individuals who have depression may also display changes in weight and appetite. They could lose or gain weight significantly. Another symptom is change in sleep patterns. It could be oversleeping or lack of sleep. Feeling angry, restless and having violent thoughts could be a sign of depression as well. Also, there is an obvious loss of energy displayed by feelings of sluggishness, fatigue and being physically drained.

People who display reckless behavior or escapist behavior like reckless driving, gambling, substance abuse and dangerous sports could be telltale signs of depression. People who have depression often lack the ability to concentrate, remember, make decisions and focus. Unexplained body aches and pains such as headaches, stomach pains and back pains could also spell trouble.

The mentioned treatments are effective but there are also preventive programs that help stop prevention from occurring. Effective community preventive programs are focused on actions that strengthen the protective factors against depression and reduce risk factors. Since depression starts early, school-based programs that target problem-solving, social and cognitive abilities of children are effective preventive measures against depression.

Treating Depression

                Depression is a serious condition and should be, by no means, underestimated as it can lead to suicide. The good news, however, is that depression can be treated with the right help. Depression can be treated through medication, psychotherapy and counselling. If these methods do not treat depression, electroconvulsive therapy or ECT and other brain stimulation therapies might be necessary.

Antidepressants are medicines used to treat depression. These medicines could help improve the way your brain uses specific chemicals that control stress or mood. Antidepressants take time to take effect, usually, in two to four weeks. It is important not to stop them without the advice of the doctor because it might cause withdrawal symptoms. Normally, it takes 6 to 12 months before the doctor decides to continue or stop the medication.

Some types of psychotherapies or talk-therapies used to treat depression are cognitive-behavioral therapy, problem-solving therapy and interpersonal therapy. These methods involve talking to a psychotherapist. If medications or psychotherapy does not work, ECT could be the next option. ECT is painless but could cause side-effects such as memory loss, disorientation and confusion.

Conclusion

                Depression is a mental disorder that is prevalent and persistent. It affects people regardless of age, gender or social status. The good thing is, depression is treatable and effective and safe treatments are available and proven to treat depression. Millions of people worldwide suffer depression and treatment begins by acknowledging that depression is nothing to be ashamed of and help is available for individuals who know how to find them.