Volume 6 Issue 6

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Page 20 | Abby's Magazine - It's natural to feel down some mes, but if that low mood lingers day a er day, it could signal depression. Major depression is an episode of sadness or apathy along with other symptoms that lasts at least two consecu ve weeks and is severe enough to interrupt daily ac vi es. Depression is not a sign of weakness or a nega ve personality. It is a major public health problem and a treatable medical condi on. Depression Symptoms: Emotional The primary symptoms of depression are a sad mood and/or loss of interest in life. Ac vi es that were once pleasurable lose their appeal. Someone depressed may also be haunted by a sense of guilt or worthlessness, lack of hope, and recurring thoughts of death or suicide. Depression Symptoms: Physical Depression is some mes linked to physical symptoms. These include: • Fa gue and decreased energy, Insomnia, especially early- morning waking • Excessive sleep • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or diges ve problems that do not ease even with treatment Depression can make other health problems feel worse, par cularly chronic pain. Key brain chemicals influence both mood and pain. Trea ng depression has been shown to improve co-exis ng illnesses. Depression Symptom: Appetite Changes in appe te or weight are another hallmark of depression. Some pa ents develop increased appe te, while others lose their appe te altogether. Depressed people may experience serious weight loss or weight gain. Impact on Daily Life Without treatment, the physical and emo onal turmoil brought on by depression can derail careers, hobbies, and rela onships. People with depression o en find it difficult to concentrate and make decisions. They turn away from previously enjoyable ac vi es, including sex. In severe cases, depression can become life-threatening. Depression: Who's at Risk? Anyone can become depressed, but many experts believe gene cs play a role. Having a parent or sibling with depression increases your risk of developing the disorder. Women are twice as likely as men to become depressed. Causes of Depression Doctors aren't sure what causes depression, but a prominent theory is altered brain structure and chemical func on. Brain circuits that regulate mood may work less efficiently during depression. Drugs that may treat and supplements that may help with depression are believed to improve communica on between nerve cells, making them run more normally. Experts also think that while stress -- such as losing a loved one -- can trigger depression, one must first be biologically prone to develop the disorder. Other triggers could include certain medica ons, alcohol or substance abuse, hormonal changes, or even the season. Seasonal Depression If your mood matches the season -- sunny in the summer, gloomy in the winter -- you may have a form of depression called seasonal affec ve disorder (SAD). The onset of SAD usually occurs in the late fall and early winter, as the daylight hours grow shorter. Experts say SAD affects from 3% to 20% of all people, depending upon where they live. Depression: What Is It?

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