Everyone feels down and sad occasionally, but those feelings are usually of a short duration and in most cases, they are triggered by life events or situations that must be handled. Such difficult periods are not to be confused with depression, though – a condition that is a very common medical condition that can seriously affect the depressed person’s health and the life of the depression sufferer as well as the life of everyone around. Fortunately, depression can be efficiently treated, so here are the symptoms that indicate the need for medical treatment.
The Symptoms of Depression
One of the principle differences between a difficult and saddening period and depression is the time frame – if the dark thoughts and feeling persist for more than a couple of weeks and they seem to become worse, it might be a good idea to seek professional help.
Every person is different and every depression sufferer experiences different symptoms. The most common signs of depression include constant sadness, the loss of interest in activities that the person used to consider enjoyable, changes in appetite, otherwise unexplained weight gain or weight loss, insomnia, fatigue, difficulties focusing and concentration, intense feelings of guilt or shame and, in the most severe cases, thoughts of suicide.
How Depression Is Diagnosed
When someone turns to a medical professional with symptoms of depression, the doctor will first of all order specific tests, such as blood tests and other lab tests, to rule out physical conditions that can mimic the symptoms of depressions, such impaired thyroid function, brain tumor or a hormonal imbalance. If no such underlying conditions are found, the doctor will probably refer the patient to a therapist or to a psychiatrist.
The mental health professional that the patient turns to will start the treatment with talk therapy to reveal the most recent event that has triggered a depressive episode and to map the patient’s history of previous depressive events. After one or several talking sessions, the specialist determines the best course of treatment and discusses it with the patient. The options are varied and usually very efficient (almost all depression sufferers experience relief as a result of treatment) and they might include the prescription of ant-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs, continued talk therapy, cognitive and behavior therapy or the combination of all these methods.
Anti-depressant medication might have almost instant effects – these drugs improve the patient’s mood and ameliorate the physical symptoms of depression within 1-2 weeks of taking them. They are often used only for a short time, to help with the therapy process in the beginning, then the selected therapeutic approach takes over. Cognitive therapy has been found to be among the most efficient approaches – the method focuses on improving the patient’s abilities to cope with negative feelings as well as with stress as well as on transforming the patient’s way of thinking.
Depending on the severity of the depression, the treatment might take only a couple of weeks or it might last for years; so it’s important to search for a therapist near me to find someone close in proximity to where you live, until all the traumas and emotional issues that have led to the depression are revealed and coped with.