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Symptoms of Depression and the Next Steps

A very common condition, depression is believed by many experts to be the number one cause of disability in the world. In the United States alone, studies show that 17% of the population will experience the symptoms of depression at some point in their lives. Currently, there are an estimated 19 million people suffering from depression in the US. Furthermore, research indicates that women are more prone to suffer from the symptoms of depression than men.

Although often classed as a mental condition, depression is as much an illness of the body as it is of the mind. You cannot wish it away and you can’t just snap out of it. Neither is it a sign of weak character.

The good news about depression is that almost everyone suffering from the symptoms of depression can be helped with proper treatment. That is why it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression as early as possible in order to prevent the condition from worsening.

The US National Institute of Mental Health, or NIMH, has created a list of the main signs and symptoms of depression. The list contains the following:

* Persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, or “emptiness”

* Feelings of hopelessness, despair, and pessimism

* Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness

* Loss of interest, even in simple pleasures such as hobbies or activities that were once enjoyed, including sex

* Decreased energy, fatigue, being “slowed down”

* Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions

* Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping

* Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain

* Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts

* Restlessness, irritability

* Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain

If you have any of these symptoms of depression and have been suffering from them for several weeks and to a degree that they have impaired or affected your life, have a talk with your doctor. He or she can help you find out whether you are suffering from depression or not and then help you come up with a treatment and recovery plan.

The symptoms of depression can vary from person to person. Moreover, an individual’s reaction to different medications may also vary. That is why it is quite possible that you may have to try out several different drugs in order to find out which one works best for you.

Your doctor can recommend some anti-depressant medications. These drugs are fairly quick-acting so they may start to feel better after only a few weeks of taking them. However, unless your doctor says so, do not stop taking the drugs. It may be that you are only experiencing the initial effects of the drugs, but the full effects have yet to take place.

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