Depression results in a persistent state of sadness or a loss of the ability to experience pleasure. Those experiencing depression often lose interest in everyday activities or hobbies that were once enjoyed.
Symptoms may include:
- Significant weight loss (when not dieting) or weight gain (a change of more than five percent of body weight in a month)
- Significant increase or decrease in appetite
- Excessive sleepiness or insomnia
- Agitation and restlessness
- Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive and inappropriate guilt nearly every day
- Diminished ability to think, concentrate, or make decisions
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
While the exact cause of depression is not known, it is known that depression is characterized by an imbalance of the brain’s chemical messengers (or neurotransmitters), as well as decreased activity in the frontal lobes of the brain. Depression is most often treated with antidepressant medications. It is believed that antidepressant medications work by increasing the levels of these neurotransmitters. However, antidepressants may not be right for everyone!