Depression -- “Feeling down” or “blue” for a few days does not mean you have depression. If you have depression, these feelings do not go away. They persist and typically interfere with your everyday life. Depression is a disorder of the brain, and there are a variety of causes, including genetic, environmental, psychological, and biochemical factors.
The clinical definition of depression (i.e., a depressive disorder) requires that very specific criteria are met, including that someone is experiencing more than just a few of the symptoms listed below, nearly every day.
Common symptoms of Depression:
- Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
- Loss of interest or pleasure in all or most activities you used to enjoy
- Significant weight loss or weight gain when not dieting
- Difficulty sleeping (insomnia, or sleep disturbance) or oversleeping (hypersomnia, for example excessive daytime sleepiness)
- Fatigue, or loss of energy, nearly every day
- Feeling of worthlessness, or excessive or inappropriate guilt
- Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
If you are experiencing many of these symptoms, and you would like help determining the appropriate course of action, please initially contact your physician for a medical check up to determine if physiological effects are caused by medical issues.
Since substance use/abuse can also lead to symptoms of depression, be upfront and honest with your physician to ensure they have accurate and adequate information upon which to form their medical opinion.
Once these (medical and/or substance use/abuse) are determined to not be the cause of your symptoms, effective treatments for depression include antidepressants and psychotherapy/talk therapy. Most people do best by using both. Neurofeedback has also been shown as an effective adjunct to this approach in assisting individuals with improving stress symptoms, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance, fatigue and health issues.