As one of the most common mental health problems, depression affects nearly 10% of the U.S. population. It involves feeling extreme sorrow for a continuous, long-term period of time; depression influences the mental, physical, and emotional state of a human being in a very negative way, which may even be fatal if left undiagnosed.
Although the causes of depression are as numerous as the people affected by it, doctors believe there are four major reasons for depression: flaws in body chemistry and brain function, genetics, environmental factors (such as stress and trauma), and/or medical ailments.
An onset of depression can most commonly be triggered by physical and mental stresses, such as the death of a family member or loved one, unemployment, post-pardon depression (caused by pregnancy), or a traumatic experience.
If you or a loved one is experiencing any (or multiple) of the following you may be suffering from depression: prolonged sadness, bottled up emotion, insomnia, reduced appetite, difficulties concentrating, fatigue, numbness, pessimistic thoughts or thoughts of suicide.
Most of the time, treatment of depression begins with acceptance, a physician’s evaluation, and diagnosis. During examination, a physician will evaluate both the physical and mental health of a patient.
Although there are many doctor-prescribed medications to counteract depression, such as Prozac or Zimbalta, many people believe that these harsh medications may amplify their condition by creating a state of mental numbness and apathy. A safe alternative to prescription drugs would be homeopathic, natural supplements, such as Sam-e or Serotune. However, many believe that no amount of medication can ever really reverse someone's mental anguish; once depression sets in, many people are just never the same.
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