Depression is no mere slump in mood. Unlike "the blues," which tend to clear up in a few days, depression usually lasts longer and can come back. It can't be ignored, and it can't be joked or whistled away. Sufferers of depression are likely to experience:
There are both physical and psychological causes of depression. Illness and chemical imbalances are physical causes. Psychological or emotional causes include stressful or threatening changesdeath of a loved one or parents' divorceand continuing emotional problems and low self-esteem.
Untreated, depression can be debilitating and can lead to suicide. It's a serious condition requiring serious treatment.
Treatment for Depression
If you suspect you suffer from depression, having a medical checkup is your first step. Even depressions with emotional causes may call for treatment with medication, and that's a decision that must be made by a doctor who must know the state of your physical health.
If your depression has a physical cause, treating the underlying illness may be the cure. Depression resulting from chemical imbalance can also be treated medically.
If your depression is traceable to an event or situation, professional counseling or therapy may be helpful. The doctor who does your physical checkup can refer you to such a counselor or therapist.
In addition to seeking professional help, there are some things you can do which may help you to feel better. Follow a healthy, well-rounded diet, and get regular exercise. Aerobic exercise, such as walking, bicycling and swimming, is recommended. Scientists theorize that such exercise releases "feel-good" hormones in the brain which can lift your spirits and help you to feel more optimistic and emotionally in control. Again, these are often helpful, but they can't replace professional attention. Talk to a health professional.