Depression is characterized by constant feelings of sadness or emptiness, and may be triggered by certain events or co-exist with other illnesses.

The exact causes are unknown. However, research suggests it’s triggered by a wide range of factors, such as:

  • Stressful life events
  • Hormonal changes
  • Heredity
  • Traumatic childhood
  • Changes within the brain

While degrees of depression varies from person to person, it will still create and impact on your life and your family. When left untreated problems erupt, leaving you and your family in pain and anguish.

Symptoms of major depression include:

  • Feeling sad or hopeless
  • Loss of interest in normal activities
  • Crying spells
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Aches and pains
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Feelings of guilt or low self-worth
  • Suicidal thoughts (extreme cases)

It’s important to note that, aside from suicidal thoughts, most people experience the above symptoms in some way. With depression, these symptoms are extreme and chronic.

To diagnose, your doctor will ask numerous questions regarding changes in mood and recent life events.

In order to rule out other possible medical conditions, he/she may perform a full range of tests, including a physical examination and blood test. To be diagnosed, an individual must have at least five of the above symptoms continuously over a two-week period.

Depression is typically treated with a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Antidepressants alter your brain chemistry to improve your mood; commonly prescribed antidepressants include SSRIs, NDRIs, SNRIs and tricyclic antidepressants. Your doctor will determine which antidepressant is best for you based on your individual condition.

Psychotherapy, aims to treat by discussing your condition with a mental health specialist. Psychotherapy sessions help you learn the causes and find coping strategies for unhealthy thoughts and/or actions.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is an advanced, noninvasive procedure used to treat the symptoms in patients whose condition has not improved through other traditional approaches. Manufactured by NeuroStar, TMS Therapy® works to treat depression by stimulating cells within the brain with magnetic fields to stimulate activity and release neurotransmitters which changes the way the brain works.

There is no cure, or one surefire way to prevent depression. However, hope, support and hard work have all proven to reduce the occurrence of depression. This includes, following your treatment plan, learning about your condition, sleeping enough, exercising regularly, and having a strong support group of friends and/or family.