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Depression Prevention and Treatment

Depression Prevention and Treatment

What is Depression?

Depression is a medical illness that is characterized by overwhelming feelings of sadness, loss of interest in daily activities and other psychological symptoms. Depression affects millions of people each year and is treated in a variety of ways. Individuals with depression also display a wide variety of symptoms, some of which may be rather difficult to detect.

Although depression is a psychological disorder, it can also cause physical symptoms like headaches and insomnia. Depression can also deeply affect personal relationships, careers and other aspects of an individual’s life. Without the proper treatment, depression symptoms can worsen, which increases risks associated with suicide, drug addiction and other harmful behaviors.

The following information is an overview of depression, which includes information regarding symptoms, complications and depression treatments.

Symptoms of Depression

Depression symptoms can vary greatly from person to person. Most, however, display symptoms and behaviors like the following:

  • Chronic unhappiness
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Fluctuations in weight
  • Withdrawal from friends and family members
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating and/or making decisions
  • Attempted suicide or other forms of self-harm
  • Physical symptoms like migraines and general aches and pains

Depression Treatments

There is a wide variety of treatment options available to individuals suffering from depression. These include medical treatments as well as natural, herbal or alternative therapies. Typically, treatment for depression is most effective when it combines a variety of methods. For example, many mental health professionals use therapies like the following when treating individuals with depression:


Psychotherapy in the treatment of depression is used as a method of getting to the root of one’s psychological problems. Psychotherapy takes place in a one-on-one setting, and is also called talk therapy or counseling. One of the most popular and effective depression treatments, psychotherapy is often used in conjunction with medications and other types of therapy.

Group Therapy

This type of depression treatment is similar to psychotherapy, but involves a group of individuals suffering from the same condition. In group therapy, patients discuss their illness, share coping methods and provide support for other members of the group.


There are many medications used in individuals with depression. In many cases, depression treatment with medication is a trial-and-error process. A doctor may prescribe a certain drug, then have to adjust dosages or prescribe a different drug entirely. Some medications used to treat depression include the following:

  • SSRI’s. These drugs, sold under brand names like Paxil, Zoloft, Lexapro and others, are some of the most commonly used medications in the treatment of depression. As a rule, SSRI’s, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, cause less harmful side effects than other types of antidepressants and are often prescribed before any others.
  • SNRI’s. Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors are sold under brand names like Cymbalta, Pristiq and Effexor. These drugs are usually prescribed SSRI’s fail to relieve depression symptoms.
  • MAOI Inhibitors. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors are typically prescribed when other types of antidepressants have been ineffective at treating the symptoms of depression. These drugs generally produce the most side effects, some of which include dangerous food interactions and a severe worsening of symptoms of depression [].

Depression Prevention

Although it’s not fully understood why some individuals develop depression while others don’t, there are a few risk factors that make some people more susceptible to this illness. For example, sex may be a risk factor for depression since studies show that women suffer from this condition more often than men. Studies also show that individuals with healthy lifestyles may be less prone to developing depression []. This is because exercise leads to overall feelings of well-being, as does the avoidance of fatty, starchy sugary foods. For this reason, a healthy diet and regular workouts are great ways to prevent depression.

When symptoms of depression become evident, treatment should be sought as quickly as possible. Early detection and treatment can prevent a worsening of symptoms, including suicide and other dangerous behaviors.

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