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Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment of Depression

While those suffering from depression may exhibit a tremendous number of symptoms, depression is defined as “a state of aversion to activity and low mood”. A depressed person may exhibit many of the following symptoms:

  • A feeling of anxiety.
  • A feeling of worthlessness.
  • Restlessness.
  • Irritability.
  • Excessive sleeping.
  • Insomnia.
  • Gastrointestinal problems that are resistant to treatment.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Tendency toward overeating.
  • Problems concentrating.

How Can I Tell if I am Depressed?
The symptoms of depression vary greatly from person to person and may vary in severity as well. They include but are not limited to:

  • Irritability or anger.
  • Continuous feelings of sadness, hopelessness.
  • Social withdrawal.
  • Increased sensitivity to rejection.
  • Changes in appetite -- either increased or decreased.
  • Changes in sleep -- sleeplessness or excessive sleep.
  • Vocal outbursts or crying.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Fatigue and low energy.
  • Physical complaints (such as stomachaches, headaches) that do not respond to treatment.
  • Reduced ability to function during events and activities at home or with friends, at work, and in other hobbies or interests.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt.
  • Impaired thinking or concentration.
  • Thoughts of death or suicide.

Alarmingly, these symptoms can often lead to suicide attempts.

How is the Diagnosis Made?
If you have symptoms of depression that last for more than two weeks and are not visibly improving, and all physical illnesses have been ruled out, you should seek the care of a mental healthcare professional. While there are no tests for depression per se, the healthcare professional will do extensive psychiatric examinations in order to make a complete diagnosis.

What Are the Treatment Options?
Treatment options include psychotherapy (counseling) and medicine. The type of treatment modality will be determined after psychiatric assessment.