Depression is an illness that affects millions of people and it can be very successfully treated either by psychotherapy and/or medication. Sometimes it is biological, runs in families and can be genetically based. Some kinds of depressions are caused by grief, stress, environmental or psychological events. The symptoms of major depression have well-developed guidelines and are best and most effectively treated by a mental health professional.

Five or more of the below symptoms, when lasting for at least two weeks, and when one of the symptoms are either persistent sadness or “empty” feelings or loss of interest in activities describes a “major depression” according to the diagnostic statistic manual of psychiatry (DSM IV):

  • Persistent sadness
  • Irritability
  • Hopelessness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling worthless or guilty for no reason
  • Loss of energy or fatigue
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Significant gain or loss of weight

Research has shown that medication and “talk therapy” together have the greatest and fastest success in reversing the negative effects of depression and restoring optimum functioning and mental health. Lesser depressions usually respond very well to “talk therapy”.

When in doubt with what kind of depression you are having, your mental health professional can help you identify just what is going on for you and for your best course of treatment. Understanding the kind of depression you are suffering from is the first step!