When a person’s feelings of sadness persist beyond a few weeks, he or she may have depression. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, three to four million men at any given point in time are affected by depression; it affects twice as many women.
Researchers do not know the exact triggers of depression. Two neurotransmitters – natural substances that allow brain cells to communicate with one another – are implicated in depression: serotonin and norepinephrine.
There are a number of symptoms of depression. These may include changes in appetite and sleeping patterns; feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and inappropriate guilt; loss of interest or pleasure in formerly important activities; fatigue; inability to concentrate; overwhelming sadness and thoughts about harming oneself.
The criteria for a formal diagnosis of depression is the presence of four or more of the previous symptoms continually, or most of the time, for more than two weeks.
The most effective treatment for depression is now thought to be a combination of counseling or therapy and a properly determined amount of medication.
Today, there are a number of very effective medications for the treatment of depression. Three major types of medication that are used to treat depression are: tricyclics; the newer selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAO inhibitors).
At Palmetto Lowcountry Behavioral Health, we work carefully with each patient and their families to ensure they have access to all appropriate treatment options to help them identify, manage and conquer their depression.