What to Ask Your Doctor about Depression

Depression is more than just feeling sad. Known also as clinical depression and major depressive disorder, depression is a mood disorder that affects how individuals feel, think, and behave on a daily basis. If not treated, depression can lead to a wide range of physical and emotional issues, disrupting relationships and daily activities that are "normal" for other people who do not struggle with this disorder. Depression requires consistent management and there are treatment options available. The top three treatment options for alleviating the symptoms and long-term effects of depression include medication, therapy, and in-patient hospital stays for severe cases. Ask these questions when talking to your doctor or researching depression.

What are the most common symptoms of depression?
The most common symptoms associated with depression are chronic in nature, occurring every day for a period of two weeks or more. These symptoms include feeling sad and tearful, irritability, experiencing no pleasure in any activity, significant weight loss or gain, insomnia or sleeping more than normal, trouble concentrating, difficulty making decisions, fatigue, and loss of energy.
Does depression affect children and teens?
Depression can affect patients of all ages, including children and adolescents. Symptoms may present themselves differently in kids and teens, including irritability, clinginess, aches and pains, and self-harm.
When should individuals see a doctor for depression?
The results of depression can often be seen along with the symptoms. It's important to consult a physician when depressed patients have thoughts of suicide or otherwise harming themselves. Other results of depression include substance abuse, difficulties at work and in relationships, social isolation, anxiety, excess weight gain, and self-mutilation.
What types of depression can be diagnosed?
There are many specifiers that help diagnose specific kinds of depression. Peripartum and postpartum occur during and after pregnancy. Seasonal pattern depression relates to the changes in the seasons throughout the years. Psychotic depression involves hallucinations and delusions, while mixed features includes simultaneous mania with depression.
How can therapy help treat depression?
Also known as psychotherapy, counseling, and psychological counseling, therapy is a valuable way to treat depression, especially when combined with the use of an antidepressant. Patients who talk about their condition with a mental health provider experience many benefits, including better ways to cope, regaining satisfaction and control in life, realistic goal setting, and identifying triggers and behaviors associated with depression.
What causes depression?
Depression can be caused by a variety of factors. Depressive disorder is often associated with brain chemistry, hormonal changes, family history, and traumatic life events. Depression affects different people in a variety of ways.
When is a hospital stay needed to treat depression?
In-patient hospital stays are usually reserved for those patients who are suffering from severe depression and may be at risk for harming themselves. A hospital stay provides a safe place for patients to gain ground and get the help that they need. A residential treatment facility or outpatient program can help patients transition back into daily life while getting the treamtent they need on an ongoing basis.
Are there risk factors for depression?
The risk factors associated with depression include family history, traumatic events, alcohol or drug use, and the development of chronic illnesses such as cancer or heart disease. Certain personality traits, such as low self-esteem and dependence on the approval of others, can also trigger depression.
What kinds of medication are avalable to treat depression?
There are dozens of antidepressant medications available to help treat depressions. The most commonly used are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are the safest and result in the fewest amount of side effects. Other antidepressants available include atypical, tricyclic, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and serotonin and norephinephrine reuptake inhibitors. It will take time to find the right medication, but it is worth the effort.

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