The essential feature of depression is a period of at least 2 weeks during which you have a depressed mood (sad, empty, tearful) most of the day, nearly every day, or you have a loss of interest or pleasure in nearly all activities. In children and adolescents the mood may be irritable or bored rather than sad.
To meet the diagnostic criteria for depression you must also experience at least four additional symptoms every day from a list that includes:
Depression can also be associated with specific anxiety symptoms. These may include excessive worry, panic attacks, fear of going out alone, excessive checking or rituals, social anxiety, worry about illness or dying, restlessness and agitation.
Treatments for Depression
The most effective treatment for depression involves both psychological therapy and medication. Research shows that depression is associated with changes in the chemical message systems in the brain. These neurotransmitters, serotonin, noradrenalin, and dopamine enable our brain to work properly. Antidepressant medication can quickly correct any imbalance in your brain and relieve your depressive symptoms.
Psychological therapy is the most effective and long lasting treatment for depression. Clinical psychologists are specifically trained to treat depression using cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). CBT will help you modify your thoughts, feelings and behaviors and resume a normal life free of depression and also teach you to prevent a relapse of your symptoms.
Depression is often caused by stress overload associated with your work, your family or your relationships. You can help prevent or manage your depression by following some simple steps. These include keeping a work-life balance, regular daily exercise, eating a balanced diet and sleep and relaxation.
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