Icon for Depression

Depression goes far beyond occasional feelings of sadness and often includes debilitating physical discomfort. Treatment involves a combination of antidepressant medications and talk therapies.

The depression definition that mental health experts use is a persistently down mood and loss of interest that affects a person’s day-to-day life, and can even lead to thoughts of suicide. The condition is also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, and it affects nearly 15 million Americans. Although depression typically starts in the 20s or 30s, it can affect people of all ages. Older adults are particularly vulnerable to depression because of illness and the loss of loved ones.

Many different types of depression exist. Postpartum depression is a sad mood that begins in the weeks or months after a woman gives birth. Bipolar disorder alternates between periods of depression and unusually high moods. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that emerges during the winter months, when sunlight is in short supply.

Identifying depression is the first step toward treating it. Depression symptoms include: feeling sad, anxious, hopeless, guilty, or anxious; fatigue or decreased energy; loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed; trouble concentrating or remembering; trouble sleeping or sleeping too much; loss of appetite, or eating too much; irritability; vague physical symptoms, such as a headache or stomachache; and thoughts of death, or wanting to end your life.

Doctors typically diagnose depression by first ruling out medical conditions that can cause the same symptoms, such as a thyroid disorder. Then the doctor will likely do a depression test, asking questions about feelings, sleep, energy level, and other common indicators of the disease.

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News Briefs February 2024

· · Depression
Cutting a Teaspoon of Salt Per Day Significantly Lowers Blood Pressure An antihypertensive medication is usually the first-line treatment for high blood pressure. However, you may be able to achieve similar blood pressure-lowering results with a simple change in your diet, according to a small study published online recently by … Read More

Resistance to New Experiences

· · Depression
Q: I have noticed my mother, who is in her early 80s, becoming noticeably less interested in trying new things or breaking with her daily routine. Is this normal or is there something else going on? A: As people get older, they can feel they have less control in their … Read More
GABA deficiency

What is GABA Deficiency?

· · Depression
If you Google "GABA deficiency," the only recognized medical condition you will find is GABA-transaminase deficiency, which is an extremely rare genetic disorder that is not survivable. [1] GABA deficiency is not a recognized deficiency like vitamin D or calcium deficiency that you can test for and correct with a … Read More
dopamine deficiency

What is Dopamine Deficiency?

· · Depression
You may have read or heard about dopamine deficiency and supplements or diets to increase your dopamine level. Dopamine is an important brain chemical, but other than a rare, inherited genetic disorder, there is no medical diagnosis called dopamine deficiency. [1-3] You can develop low levels of dopamine or an … Read More
depression serotonin deficiency

What Is Serotonin Deficiency?

· · Depression
Serotonin is an important brain chemical that relays messages in your brain, called a neurotransmitter. [1,2] Serotonin is also a hormone. Hormones are chemical messengers that travel through your body. Although serotonin has effects on your whole body, according to the Endocrine Society, serotonin is the key hormone that stabilizes … Read More
high cortisol symptoms man with headache

High Cortisol Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

· · Depression
Although a stress-induced increase in cortisol secretion is beneficial in the short-term, excessive or prolonged cortisol secretion may lead to high cortisol symptoms. Cortisol is a vital hormone produced and secreted by the adrenal glands. The hormone is released in a rhythmic fashion, with levels peaking in the morning (to … Read More
Man doing an online therapy session

Finding Depression Support Online

· · Depression
About half of depressed people do not receive the care they need. Barriers to receiving care include not believing your symptoms are severe enough to merit treatment, lack of hope that treatment will help, inability to identify or physically get to the centers where care is available, cost of treatment, … Read More

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