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What is meant by depression?
There are two types of depression. The first includes occasional periods of feeling emotionally discouraged or irritable.  This kind of depression is usually short-lived, lasting from a few hours to a few days. Nearly everyone experiences this from time to time.
The second type of depression is more serious. It is characterized by symptoms that persist over an extended period of two weeks or more.
How can you tell that a person is having an episode of severe depression?
Symptoms of depression include lethargy, insomnia or sleeping more than usual, fatigue, difficulty with concentration and memory, chronic unexplained aches and pains, appetite disorders, anxiety, and a general lack of interest in day-to-day living that does not abate over time. People with depression might feel mildly down in the dumps or unable even to get out of bed. More progressed cases can prompt thoughts of suicide.
Why do people get depressed?
Depression can result from genes that cause a biochemical imbalance in the brain. Sometimes a death in the family or a sudden illness maybe responsible. Certain medications, such as beta blockers for hypertension, can have depressive side effects.
How can depression be treated?
Most cases of depression can be easily treated by these three methods:
Support from Family & Friends: Since depression is most often a psychological problem precipitated by worries or problems in the family and one's personal life, what is needed is understanding and support from friends and family. 
Psychotherapy: When the problem is not settled by just family support, then professional psychotherapy is advisasble.
Antidepressant drugs: These are very effective.  Studies indicate that drug therapy alone relieves symptoms up to 80 percent of the time. The medications are not addictive and have few side effects. Some drugs used to treat depression may cause nausea initially. It would be ideal to use a combination af all these where the symptoms are severe.
When does one seek professional help for depression?
It is common for a person to feel depressed from time to time. It's a normal human emotion when, say, one loses a job, or a loved one dies. But when these feelings and other unexplained causes of grief don't lift over time, a person should seek professional help.
Once you recognize symptoms of depression, and these persist continually for more than two weeks, you should consider talking to  your doctor for an assessment. A physician might temporarily prescribe an antidepressant medication to enhance your ability to function.
Antidepressants are generally non–habit forming and often prove to be very helpful. A mental health professional will help you to pinpoint life stresses, identify problematic patterns, and help you work out a healthier approach to dealing with them. 
As always, surrounding yourself with supportive family, friends, instills hope and fights the tendency toward isolation that is prevalent with depression.
See also: Depression and Diabetes






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Is there an association between Depression & Diabetes?
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Encouragement from family & friends can help elders deal with depression
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Interacting with your grandchild can take your mind off your worries






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