What is Depression?


Studies show that depression is the leading cause of disability for individuals between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States.

Depression refers to a mental illness characterized by feelings of intense sadness, low mood, and lack of interest in everyday activities that interferes with one’s ability to function normally. Some individuals can suffer from depression for weeks, months, or even years and are unable to recover without sufficient treatment.

Causes and Risk Factors
Depression may be caused by a number of mental, physical, and environmental factors, such as:

  • Chronic stress or stressful life events
  • Low self-esteem
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Altered brain structure and function following a stroke
  • Illnesses such as chronic pain, hypothyroidism, anemia, Parkinson’s disease, or cancer
  • Imbalances in the hormones and chemicals within the brain
  • Substance abuse and smoking
  • Family history of depression
  • Certain medications, such as those used to treat high blood pressure, asthma, arthritis, heart problems, and high cholesterol

While depression can vary from person to person and change over time, some of the most common symptoms of depression include:

  • Persistent feelings of emptiness, anxiety, or sadness
  • Hopelessness
  • Feeling tired, oversleeping, or difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of interest in hobbies, activities, and sex
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Changes in eating habits, weight gain or loss
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Treatment Options
There are many treatment options available for individuals with depression, such as psychotherapy, diet and exercise, antidepressant medications, electroconvulsive therapy, vagal nerve stimulation, transcranial magnetic stimulation, and bright light therapy.

Are you showing signs of depression? Let our physicians and nurses with Regional Medical Center of San Jose help identify your symptoms and provide the best treatment options for your needs. Contact us online, visit our website, or give us a call for more information. (408) 259-4000

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