Depression: When Your Brain Fights Against You

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Clinical depression is a mental health disorder characterized chiefly by persistent periods of low mood and loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities. The leading cause of disability in the USA, Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) affects more than 6.1% of adults alone.

Causes of Depression

Depression is a complex disorder that is not merely summed up as just being a "chemical issue". Each individual diagnosed with depression or displaying depressive symptoms has experienced life differently from one another. This difference often stimulates vast change in both the affect and overall inner turmoil brought upon by this disorder.

Development of depression can be heavily influenced by both genetics and environment. The odds of being born with or gradually developing depression increase if an individual has, for example, a close, depressed family member. Experiencing hardship and significant stress can also cause low moods, erratic sleep, and lethargy within people; in other words, cause them to exhibit some symptoms of depression.

Our increasingly competitive, online life can easily affect how people see themselves. For example, a study based on interviews with over 11,000 British 11-year-olds has recently linked higher social media usage in girls with higher depressive symptoms.

Brain composition and dysfunction, neurotransmitter imbalance, underlying comorbid conditions, temperament, stress, early childhood trauma, as well as limited exposure to daylight have been linked closely to depression.

Treatments of Depression

Through years of research and experimentation, several forms of treatment have since become available to alleviate symptoms of depression. It is highly recommended that patients suffering from depression seek out help from a mental health professional near them for support and discussion of methods to improve their quality of life. Patient treatment is a highly individualized endeavor that must be guided by the right professional, for their safety and transition to mental betterment.

Forms of psychotherapy, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), have shown great strides in enabling depressed individuals to create new ways to overcome the often disabling struggles brought upon by depression. Through goal-setting, talk, and healthful coping strategy formulation. depressed patients are taught effective methods of challenging negative thinking patterns.

Many patients are given the option to begin medication, guided by either a general practitioner or psychiatrist. Depression medication can take about 2-4 weeks to begin working, and several others to see some level of improvement. Due to the uniqueness of body chemistry, what works for one patient might not work for another; this, unfortunately, can mean patients must try different medications to find their right match. However, according to a recent study performed on the overall efficacy of anti-depressants, this negative outlook can become colored with positivity.

Other possible treatments include psychoeducation, support groups (such as this Depression Subreddit), brain stimulation therapies, along with supplementary exercise and diet management.

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