Depression is more than just sadness. It interferes with daily life and causes pain for you and everyone who cares about you. It’s a common illness, but a very serious one. Scientific research shows that depression affects certain centers in the brain that affect moods, thinking, sleep, appetite, and behavior. Although depression can and does affect people of all ages, from all walks of life, the risk of becoming depressed is increased by poverty, unemployment, life events such as the death of a loved one or a relationship break-up, physical illness and problems caused by alcohol and drug use. It often characterizes feelings of being sad, discouraged, hopeless, irritable, unmotivated, as well as a general lack of interest or pleasure in life. When these feelings last for a long period of time ( more than two weeks) and interfere with the regular daily activities, it is likely to be a depressive disorder which can affect people of any age, including children, teenagers, adults, and older people.

It may be difficult to tell if a child, adolescent, or teen is suffering from depression. Risk factors include being under stress, experiencing loss or having attention, learning, or conduct disorders. Severity of symptoms varies with individuals and also varies over time. They include depressed mood most of the day (feeling sad/empty and frequent crying) , diminished or lack of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed, change in appetite or weight (this includes a significant weight loss or weight gain), experiencing insomnia -having difficulty sleeping; alternatively oversleeping, lack of self esteem or feelings of worthlessness, fatigue or loss of energy, feeling hopeless and helpless, having guilty feelings , difficulty thinking , concentrating, remembering information, or making decisions, recurrent thoughts of death or suicide , persistent physical symptoms, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain that do not respond to routine treatment and anxiety, with or without a specific feeling of being depressed.

Depression is most likely due to a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. MRI s have shown that the parts of the brain involved in mood, thinking, sleep, appetite, and behavior of people who have depression function differently than those of people without it. Some types of depression tend to run in families. Trauma, loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship, or any stressful situation may trigger a depressive episode. The illness can also occur in people without any family history.

Depression is a treatable illness. Medications, psychotherapy and self help measures can help a depressed person feel better, engage in meaningful activities, and improve their quality of life. Also depression can be highly responsive to treatment. Early diagnosis and intervention with appropriate treatment are always critical steps to feeling better, especially for children and teens.The other methods include relaxation techniques, meditation, and breathing exercises, regular exercising as it can reduce symptoms of depression, The family environment is important to the recovery of people who are depressed as they help an individual suffering from depression by talking to them about their feelings and providing support and encouragement. Love all, Speak up, express, share and take care of your mental health.

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