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Sadness, feeling down, and having a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities are familiar feelings for all of us. But if they persist and affect our lives substantially, the issue may be depression. It can affect adults, adolescents, and children. In this article, learn what depression is and what causes it. We also describe the types, their treatments, and more. A person with depression may experience persistent sadness. Depression is a mood disorder that involves a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It is different from the mood fluctuations that people regularly experience as a part of life.

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Major life events, such as bereavement or the loss of a job, can lead to depression. However, doctors only consider feelings of grief to be part of depression if they persist. Depression is an ongoing problem, not a passing one. It consists of episodes during which the symptoms last for at least 2 weeks.

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Depression can last for several weeks, months, or years. Find out more about recognizing the hidden s of depression. Below are some symptoms of depression that tend to appear more often in females:. Also, some types of depression are unique to females, such as:. Males with depression are more likely than females to drink alcohol in excess, display anger, and engage in risk-taking as a result of the disorder. Learn more about the symptoms of depression in men.

Time at college can stressful, and a person may be dealing with other lifestyles, cultures, and experiences for the first time. Some students have difficulty coping with these changes, and they may develop depression, anxiety, or both as a result.

Physical changes, peer pressure, and other factors can contribute to depression in teenagers. The CDC estimate that, in the U. In children, symptoms can make schoolwork and social activities challenging. They may experience symptoms such as:. Younger children may have difficulty expressing how they feel in words.

This can make it harder for them to explain their feelings of sadness. The medical community does not fully understand the causes of depression. There are many possible causes, and sometimes, various factors combine to trigger symptoms. Psychotherapy may help a person manage their symptoms of depression.

Support : This can range from discussing practical solutions and possible causes to educating family members. Psychotherapy : Also known as talking therapy, some options include one-to-one counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy CBT. Drug treatment : A doctor may prescribe antidepressants. A person should only take these medications as their doctor prescribes. Some drugs can take a while to have an impact. By stopping the drug, a person may not experience the benefits that it could offer.

Raise any concerns about antidepressants with a doctor, including any intention to stop taking the medication. Here, learn more about antidepressants and how they can help. Find out more about the possible side effects of antidepressants here. The warnings should indicate that, among other risks, these medications may increase suicidal thoughts or actions in some children, teenagers, and young adults within the first few months of treatment.

Some people use natural remedies, such as herbal medicines, to treat mild-to-moderate depression. However, since the FDA do not monitor herbal remedies, manufacturers may not be truthful about the quality of these products. They may not be safe or effective.

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Learn more here. Ginseng : Practitioners of traditional medicine may use this to improve mental clarity and reduce stress. Find out more here about ginseng. Chamomile : This contains flavonoids that may have an antidepressant effect. For more information about chamomile. Lavender : This may help reduce anxiety and insomnia. Learn more here about lavender. It is essential to speak to a doctor before using any type of herbal remedy or supplement to treat depression.

Some herbs can interfere with the action of drugs or otherwise make symptoms worse. A person may take the herbs above as supplements to treat symptoms of mild-to-moderate depression. Other types of supplements may also help treat these symptoms. It is important to remember that the FDA do not monitor supplements to ensure that they are effective or safe. S-adenosyl methionine SAMe : This is a synthetic form of a natural chemical in the body.

Some research has suggested that SAMe may be as helpful as the prescription antidepressants imipramine and escitalopram, but more investigation is necessary. Learn more about how herbs and supplements may help relieve depression. Eating a lot of sugary or processed foods can lead to various physical health problems.

of a study suggest that a diet that includes many of these types of food could affect the mental health of young adults. Can other foods worsen or improve depression symptoms? Find out here. Psychological, or talking, therapies for depression include CBT, interpersonal psychotherapy, and problem-solving treatment, among others.

For some forms of depression, psychotherapy is usually the first-line treatment, while some people respond better to a combination of psychotherapy and medications. CBT and interpersonal psychotherapy are the two main types of psychotherapy for depression. A person may have CBT in individual sessions with a therapist, in groups, over the telephone, or online. Interpersonal therapy aims to help people identify:.

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Aerobic exercise raises endorphin levels and stimulates the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which is linked with mood. This may help relieve mild depression. Brain stimulation therapies are another treatment option. For example, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation sends magnetic pulses to the brain, and this may help treat major depression.

If depression does not respond to drug treatment, the person may benefit from electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT. This may be effective if psychosis occurs with depression. A person with major depression experiences a constant state of sadness. They may lose interest in activities that they used to enjoy.

Also known as dysthymia, persistent depressive disorder causes symptoms that last for at least 2 years. Depression is a common symptom of bipolar disorder, and research shows that people with this disorder may have symptoms around half of the time. This can make bipolar disorder hard to distinguish from depression. What does bipolar disorder involve, and what types are there? Psychosis can involve delusions, such as false beliefs and a detachment from reality.

It can also involve hallucinations — sensing things that do not exist. Postpartum depressionor postnatal depression, is more severe. There is no single cause for this type of depression, and it can persist for months or years.

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