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We do not store details you enter into this form. Please see our privacy policy for more information. Click here to return to the Medical News Today home page. This is substantial and shows the scale of the issue. According to the World Health Organization WHO , depression is the most common illness worldwide and the leading cause of disability. They estimate that million people are affected by depression, globally. Depression is a mood disorder characterized by persistently low mood and a feeling of sadness and loss of interest.

It is a persistent problem, not a passing one, lasting on average 6 to 8 months.

Depression: Tests, symptoms, causes, and treatment

Diagnosis of depression starts with a consultation with a doctor or mental health specialist. It is important to seek the help of a health professional to rule out different causes of depression, ensure an accurate differential diagnosis, and secure safe and effective treatment. As for most visits to the doctor, there may be a physical examination to check for physical causes and coexisting conditions.

Questions will also be asked - "taking a history" - to establish the symptoms, their time course, and so on. Some questionnaires help doctors to assess the severity of depression. The Hamilton depression rating scale , for example, has 21 questions, with resulting scores describing the severity of the condition.

The Hamilton scale is one of the most widely used assessment instruments in the world for clinicians rating depression. Depression is different from the fluctuations in mood that people experience as a part of normal life. Temporary emotional responses to the challenges of everyday life do not constitute depression. Likewise, even the feeling of grief resulting from the death of someone close is not itself depression if it does not persist.

Mental Illness and the Family: Recognizing Warning Signs and How to Cope

Depression can, however, be related to bereavement - when depression follows a loss, psychologists call it a " complicated bereavement. The causes of depression are not fully understood and may not be down to a single source. Depression is likely to be due to a complex combination of factors that include:. Some people are at higher risk of depression than others; risk factors include:. Depression is a treatable mental illness.

There are three components to the management of depression:. Psychological or talking therapies for depression include cognitive-behavioral therapy CBT , interpersonal psychotherapy, and problem-solving treatment. In mild cases of depression, psychotherapies are the first option for treatment; in moderate and severe cases, they may be used alongside other treatment. CBT and interpersonal therapy are the two main types of psychotherapy used in depression. CBT may be delivered in individual sessions with a therapist, face-to-face, in groups, or over the telephone.

Some recent studies suggest that CBT may be delivered effectively through a computer. Interpersonal therapy helps patients to identify emotional problems that affect relationships and communication, and how these, in turn, affect mood and can be changed. Antidepressants are drugs available on prescription from a doctor. Drugs come into use for moderate to severe depression, but are not recommended for children, and will be prescribed only with caution for adolescents.

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A number of classes of medication are available in the treatment of depression:. Phobias are often treated with a mix of medications and therapy. Therapists generally draw from a variety of cognitive-behavioral techniques to help sufferers challenge their beliefs about mental illness and ultimately develop healthier ways of thinking. Psychoeducation, in which you learn more about specific mental illnesses, is often helpful. Your therapist may also work with you to explore the meaning that your fear has to you. The goal of treatment is usually to help you understand the complex issues involved with the fear in order to minimize the fearful feelings and emotions.

Have you ever wondered what your personality type means? Sign up to get these answers, and more, delivered straight to your inbox. There was an error. Please try again. Thank you, , for signing up. More in Phobias. History of Depression. Was this page helpful?

Mental Health Problem Symptoms, Causes and Effects

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What Are the Types of Mental Health Disorders?

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