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What is depression?


The first step in fighting depression is to understand what it is, how it affects you, and what causes it.


Some people say that depression feels like a black curtain of despair coming down over their lives. Many people feel like they have no energy and can't concentrate. Others feel irritable all the time for no apparent reason. The symptoms vary from person to person, but if you feel "down" for more than two weeks, and these feelings are interfering with your daily life, you may be clinically depressed.


Most people who have gone through one episode of depression will, sooner or later, have another one. You may begin to feel some of the symptoms of depression for several weeks before you develop a full-blown episode of depression. Learning to recognize these early triggers or symptoms and working with Alina will help to keep the depression from worsening.

The symptoms that help a professional identify depression include:


  • Constant feelings of sadness, irritability, or tension

  • Decreased interest or pleasure in usual activities or hobbies

  • Loss of energy, feeling tired despite lack of activity

  • A change in appetite, with significant weight loss or weight gain

  • A change in sleeping patterns, such as difficulty sleeping, early morning awakening, or sleeping too much

  • Restlessness or feeling slowed down

  • Decreased ability to make decisions or concentrate

  • Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, or guilt

  • Thoughts of suicide or death


How is it treated?


Unfortunately, most people with depression never seek help, even though depression is very treatable. Treating depression is especially important because it affects you, your family, and your work. Some people with depression try to harm themselves in the mistaken beliefs that how they are feeling will never change. Depression is a treatable illness. Depression is treated with psychotherapy and, in some cases with medication. Alina uses a multidisciplinary approach to dealing with depression and the affects that it has on your life, family and work. This approach includes modifications in exercise, stress management, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and possibly nutritional evaluations.


What causes depression?


Depression has no single cause; often, it results from a combination of things. You may have no idea why depression has struck you.


Whatever its cause, depression is not just a state of mind. It is related to physical changes in the brain, and connected to an imbalance of a type of chemical that carries signals in your brain and nerves. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters.


Some of the more common causes involved in depression are:


  • Family history. Genetics play an important part in depression. It can run in families for generations.

  • Trauma and stress. Things like financial problems, the breakup of a relationship, or the death of a loved one can bring on depression. You can become depressed after changes in your life, like starting a new job, graduating from school, or getting married.

  • Pessimistic personality. People who have low self-esteem and a negative outlook are at higher risk of becoming depressed. These traits may actually be caused by low-level depression (called dysthymia).

  • Physical conditions. Serious medical conditions like heart disease, cancer, and HIV can contribute to depression, partly because of the physical weakness and stress they bring on. Depression can make medical conditions worse, since it weakens the immune system and can make pain harder to bear. In some cases, depression can be caused by medications used to treat medical conditions.

  • Other psychological disorder. Anxiety disorders, eating disorders, schizophrenia, and (especially) substance abuse often appear along with depression.


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