Even though it’s completely normal to experience the blues from time to time, chronic depression is a serious condition. Scroll below to learn about its causes, symptoms, and treatments:

What is Depression?

Depression is defined as a feeling of severe dejection and despondency. It is estimated that 10 percent of the adult population suffers from chronic depression.

Symptoms of Depression

People who are chronically depressed often experience persistent feelings of hopelessness, guilt and sadness. They may also be irritable and restless. Additionally, many people with depression have difficulty concentrating and may lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. Other symptoms of depression include suicidal thoughts, digestive problems and headaches.

Causes of Depression

The general consensus in the medical community is that there is not one cause of depression. Scientists, doctors and other medical professionals believe that depression occurs as the result of multiple factors. Hormonal changes, brain chemistry, genetics and life experiences are some of the things that influence whether or not someone will develop depression.

Researchers also believe chronic pain, anxiety and other mental illnesses are all linked to depression. They have also found that depression can run in families.

The Importance of Depression Treatment

Even though there has been a lot of awareness raised about depression, there is still a stigma associated with this condition. That is why many people with depression never seek the help they need. However, depression treatment is very important. Untreated depression can lead to behavioral, health and emotional problems.

Studies have shown that people who suffer from chronic depression are more likely to use alcohol or drugs. They are also more likely to engage in self-destructive behaviors, such as cutting. Depressed people have a tendency to isolate themselves from others, which can cause problems with family and friends. Furthermore, there has been evidence to suggest that depressed people are at a higher risk for developing heart disease.

Treatment Options

There are many treatment options available for depression. Doctors usually prescribe antidepressants. Burpropion, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and serotonin and norephineprine inhibitors are some of the antidepressants that are often prescribed today. It typically takes two to four weeks for a person to start noticing the effects. The full effects of these medications can typically be noticed after six to 12 weeks.

Psychotherapy is another very popular treatment option. Studies have shown that psychotherapy alone may be effective for treating mild to moderate depression. However, patients who suffer from severe depression are likely to need medication along with therapy. There are many forms of psychotherapy, but cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy are among the most popular.

Cognitive behavioral therapy teaches people how to change their behaviors and thinking patterns. Changing one’s thinking patterns and behaviors can help improve mood. Interpersonal therapy is a form of therapy that focuses on the relationships people have with others. It helps people improve their relationships and interactions with other people.

Aerobic exercise can also be effective for treating depression. A study done by the University of Texas Southwest Medical Center showed that people who participate in 20 to 45 minutes of aerobic exercise can reduce their symptoms of depression by up to 50 percent.

There have been a few studies done to examine the link between depression and diet. Certain foods have been shown to ease depression symptoms. Experts recommend that people who suffer from depression get plenty of the B vitamins, which are found in whole grains, berries and vegetables. They also recommend people eat a lot of of omega 3 fatty acids, which are found in walnuts, flaxseed and salmon. Foods that are high in sugar have been shown to contribute to depression.