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Signs and Symptoms of Depression

Guest Author - Maria Hester, M.D.

Most people experience some form of depression in the course of their lifetime. Depression can be mild and short-lived or it can be severe and potentially life-threatening, robbing the individual of all joy and peace of mind that once came so easily. Depression is likely the result of a combination of factors, including genetic predisposition (family history of depression), though most cases of major depression are related to neurotransmitters in the brain.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of mood disorder that generally occurs in the winter months, when there is not much sunlight. Fortunately, it improves in the spring when there are more daylight hours. Depression, decreased energy, and food cravings are common with SAD.

Some symptoms of depression include:

*Frequently feeling sad or depressed

*A decrease in interest in the things you used to enjoy doing
You may also find that you no longer derive the same since of pleasure you once did from your favorite activities.

*Significant weight gain or loss for no apparent reason
You may find that though you are not trying to diet, you seem to be losing weight because you just are not as hungry as you used to be. On the other hand, you may find that your appetite is insatiable and you want to eat everything in sight. As a result, you gain a lot of weight and may not even realize what is going on until your clothes become too tight.

*Sleep disturbances are common in depression. You may find that you just can’t seem to get enough sleep. Some people literally sleep the day away when they are depressed. Others have the opposite problem. They cannot fall asleep and stay asleep for any significant period of time, so they are always tired and irritable.

*Feeling mentally agitated or mentally slower than your norm may also be a sign.

*Loss of energy is another common symptom of depression. Everyone feels tired from time to time, but with depression you may find that no matter how much sleep you get or how good your diet is, you always seem to feel sluggish.

*Many people who are depressed experience feelings of worthlessness or an inappropriate sense of guilt over issues that normally would not cause them to feel guilty.

*Poor concentration is very common with depression.

*Some experience recurring thoughts of death and may even imagine killing themselves, though they know in their heart they would never carry out such a terrible action.

*Depression often causes nonspecific aches and pains. People suffering from depression may have frequent headaches, backaches, or abdominal pain which has no real ‘physical basis’ and test results repeatedly fail to find a cause for these pains, though they are real to the person experiencing them.

The root cause of depression in a high number of cases, neurotransmitters (chemical messengers of the brain) can be manipulated with several very effective medications. Only you and your doctor know what is right for you. If you experience short-lived, mild depression your symptoms may improve with things as simple as exercise, massage, or relaxation techniques. On the other hand, you may be best served with prescription medication.

If you think you are depressed, remember, you are NOT alone. Millions of people struggle with depression every today. See your doctor and sit down and talk to her about your symptoms and the best treatment options for you. Depression can be treated. Get your treatment started today so you can start feeling better soon.

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Content copyright © 2015 by Maria Hester, M.D.. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Maria Hester, M.D.. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Patricia Villani, MPA, PhD for details.


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