Dealing With Depression and Improving Mental Health

Many people, even those who are generally happy, confident and outgoing, can struggle with depression. Depression isn’t just a state of mind; it’s a disorder that can cause a loss of interest and enthusiasm, lack of motivation to do things and an overall feeling of malaise or sadness. While situational depression is normal after a breakup, death or job loss, this will resolve with time. Clinical depression is different, however, and it doesn’t typically resolve just by waiting for time to pass.

The Symptoms of Depression

Symptoms of depression can include an overall feeling of misery or sadness. It persists over time, despite positive events that occur in life. This feeling is often accompanied by a loss of interest or enthusiasm for ideas and activities that have previously been exciting and engaging. People with depression may also find it harder to concentrate at work or school or to make serious decisions. In addition, depressed people may have feelings of guilt or unworthiness that continue to persist. The symptoms of depression can lead to and include suicidal ideation.

Potential Causes of Depression

Psychiatric research is promising and continues to search for the cause of depression. Genetic factors could be a contributor, as depression often runs in families. While situational depression is normal, it can cross into clinical depression for people who are predisposed to the illness. Life changes can also prompt a swing into depression, including giving birth to children, retiring from the workforce or facing life after the death of a spouse. In addition, there are direct physical causes that can lead to depression. For example, thyroid disorders, diabetes or anemia can cause these symptoms.

Responding to Depression: Treatment and Care

It is often most effective to use several techniques to deal with depression. Antidepressant medication, like SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), can be an important part of treatment for many people dealing with depression. Therapeutic techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can also help.

In addition to medication and therapy, many people with depression work to introduce behavioral changes into their lives. This can include scheduling activities and planning for the future. These types of actions can work together with treatment options to help people deal positively with depression.