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What is depression?

Depression, or major depressive disorder, is a common but serious mood disorder that can negatively impact the way you think, feel, or act. Depression is more than just feeling sad. Many people struggling with depression experience physical symptoms such as aches and pains, extreme fatigue, and sudden loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed.

What are the symptoms of depression?


Like many mental health and mood disorders, depression symptoms vary from person to person and can range from mild to severe. Some of the most common symptoms of depression are:

  • Sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness
  • Slowed thinking
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Forgetfulness
  • Decision-making problems
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Aches and pains, including headaches
  • Irritability or agitation
  • Insomnia or oversleeping
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Anxiety
  • Angry outbursts

Untreated depression often leads to a number of problems in your day-to-day life. Many people with depression struggle with their work performance, physical health, and maintaining healthy relationships.


How is depression diagnosed?


It’s important to rule out other conditions before you are diagnoses you with depression. They may recommend a full physical exam to make sure an underlying condition isn’t causing your symptoms.


Serenity Psychiatry can order a blood test to make sure your thyroid functions properly, as thyroid disease often mimics symptoms of depression like fatigue and weight fluctuations.


Finally, Serenity Psychiatry performs a full psychiatric evaluation in which they ask you questions about your emotions, behaviors, thoughts, symptoms, and feelings.


How is depression treated?


A multimodality approach to depression treatment is best. Some of the most common treatments recommended are:




Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is an effective treatment that can help you manage or overcome depression. During these sessions aim to help you find better ways to cope with your depression, set realistic goals, identify negative thought patterns or behaviors, and regain a sense of control and joy in your life.




There are many different medications used to treat depression, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) — typically the first medication physicians prescribe to treat depression — serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), atypical antidepressants, and tricyclic antidepressants.

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