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Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Causes of depression

Sometimes there may be an obvious reason for becoming depressed, sometimes not. There is usually more than one cause and different people have different reasons.

It may seem obvious why – a relationship breakdown, bereavement or even the birth of a child – but sometimes it's not clear. Either way, it can become so bad that you need help.

Often people don't realise how depressed they are, because the depression has come on gradually. They may try to struggle on and cope by keeping busy. This can make them even more stressed and exhausted. This can cause physical pains, such as constant headaches, or sleeplessness.

Treatments for depression

There are two types of treatment available: talking treatments and medication. Both can be accessed through your doctor.
Talking treatments
Counselling helps you to talk about your feelings in private with a sympathetic professional. Your GP may have a counsellor at the surgery.
Cognitive behavioural therapy can help to overcome the powerful negative thoughts that are part of depression.
Interpersonal and dynamic therapies can help if you have difficulties getting on with other people. A relationship counsellor might be helpful if you're having difficulties with your partner.
If you have a disability or are caring for a relative, a self-help group may give you support.

Antidepressants can be effective if depression is severe or goes on for a long time. They may help feelings of anxiety and help you to deal with problems effectively again.

The effects of antidepressants won't usually be felt straight away - people often don't notice any improvement in their mood for two or three weeks.

As well as tablets, an alternative remedy called St John's wort is available from chemists. There is evidence that it's effective in mild to moderate depression. It seems to work in much the same way as some antidepressants, but some people find it has fewer side effects. You should discuss taking it with your doctor, particularly if you're taking other medication.

Like all medicines, antidepressants have some side effects, although these are usually mild and tend to wear off as the treatment goes on. The newer antidepressants (called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) may cause nausea and anxiety for a short while. The older antidepressants can cause dry mouth and constipation. Unless the side effects are very bad, your doctor will usually advise you to continue taking them.

Four out of five people with depression will get better without help. The shorter the time you have been depressed, the better the chance that it will lift on its own. However, even with treatment, one in five people will still be depressed two years later.

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