While each of us experiences moments and periods of sadness, some of us may experience more serious changes in mood and behavior due to depression.

Overview of depression

Depression is a mental illness that impacts a person’s feelings, thoughts, behavior, and quality of life. One of the most common conditions, more than 15 million Americans suffer from depression. It is estimated that at least one in six people will suffer from depression or a related illness at least once in their lifetime, meaning it is likely that either you or a loved one may face this challenge at some point. 

Depression can be overwhelming to face alone. However, by recognizing the signs and understanding the side effects, you will be more able to recognize this behavioral condition in yourself and others and seek help from your healthcare team.

Causes

There are many factors that can cause depression, including imbalances or disturbances in the chemical and nerve cell centers within the brain. Other factors can include genetic predisposition, a significant life change such as losing a loved one, or managing another illness. Depression has also been linked to alcohol and drug consumption, and even changes in the seasons. There are many influencing factors that can impact our behavioral and mental well-being.

Signs and symptoms

Many of the signs and symptoms of depression may indicate temporary sadness or setback; however, when three or more of the symptoms persist for two or more weeks, you should consult with your doctor. Ongoing and lingering feelings of sadness, anxiety, or emptiness are among the most common symptoms, often accompanied by a loss of interest in activities that you normally enjoy. 

If you suffer from depression you may notice a change in your sleep patterns, experiencing difficulty sleeping or oversleeping more than usual. Those struggling with depression may feel guilty, worthless, and helpless, and have difficulty concentrating on tasks, remembering things, or making decisions. The most serious sign of depression is thoughts of death or suicide. If you are someone you know has made suicide attempts or is contemplating suicide, seek professional medical help immediately.

While depression is a behavioral health condition, it also has physical side effects. Depression sufferers often feel an increase in exhaustion and fatigue, and overall loss of energy. Changes in appetite also frequently accompany depression, with noticeable changes in how much you eat.

Getting help

You do not need to suffer from depression alone. Depression can be treated and overcome through counseling, medication, and support from family, friends, and healthcare providers.

Our behavioral health specialists at Intermountain Healthcare are experts in treating both the mental and physical side effects of depression, providing you with the resources and support you need to overcome this condition. 

If you are suffering from depression, we encourage you to seek help. You can feel comfortable in Intermountain's beautiful facilities, located conveniently across Utah. Our physicians will get to know you and your symptoms individually, applying innovative technology and best practices to help you live a healthier, happier life.


© 2018 Intermountain Healthcare. All rights reserved. The content presented here is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.

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