Depression is a common mental health disorder that is characterized by consistent
feelings of hopelessness, sadness and lack of energy and interest in activities. It may
also affect how you think, feel and handle daily activities, impacting your ability to
function.
Depression is more than just feeling sad. It can also make it hard to get out of bed,
think clearly or to even enjoy things that you used to love. Imagine feeling like you’re
stuck in a deep, dark hole with no way out. That’s how some people with depression
feel. But the good news is, there’s help available, and you’re not alone.
Depression can happen for many reasons. Sometimes it’s because of things going on
in your brain, like chemicals being out of balance. Other times, it’s because of stuff
happening in your life, like going through a tough time or feeling really stressed.
Factors like psychological, biological, and environmental can contribute to depression.
Psychological factors may involve grief, trauma, or low self-esteem. Biological
factors include hormones, brain chemistry or genetics. Environmental factors such as
abuse, stress, or neglect can also play a role.
The DSM-5, or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition,
outlines the criteria for diagnosing depression. These include experiencing a loss of
interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, or depressed mood most of the day or
nearly every day. Other symptoms such as changes in appetite or weight, sleep
disturbances, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, and difficulty concentrating
are also considered. To be diagnosed with depression, a person needs to have at least
five of these symptoms over a two-week period, with at least one of the symptoms
being either a depressed mood, loss of pleasure or loss of interest. These symptoms
may also result in impacting your daily functioning by causing any distress.
In counseling or therapy for depression, individuals can expect a safe and supportive
environment to explore their thoughts and feelings. Therapists may use
cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy, or other approaches to
help individuals understand and manage their depression. Treatment may also include
medication and lifestyle changes. The goal of the therapy is to overcome and alleviate
the symptoms by improve the coping skills, and enhancing the overall well-being. If
you think you might be depressed, it’s important to reach out to a mental health
professional for help. It is okay to ask for help when you’re feeling down. There are
people who care about you and want to see you feel better

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