If you or someone you know has been feeling sad most of the day and can't seem to shake that down feeling, perhaps it is Major Depressive Disorder. In most cases, depression is a treatable condition. Depression can happen to anyone. It can be caused by a traumatic event, a change in body chemistry, or a sense of deep loss. In some cases, an inherited family pattern can spark the depression. This is called a predisposition for depression.
Depression is usually caused by a traumatic event. Each person has his/her own reality, so another person cannot determine if a specific event was traumatic for another. Only you can determine what feels traumatic to you.
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Determining Major Depressive Disorder:
Major Depressive Disorder is diagnosed by examining what is happening emotionally and physically. Symptoms that indicate depression include the following:
- difficulty sleeping
- appetite change (eating significantly more or less than usual)
- loss of concentration
- feeling helpless/hopeless
- feeling worthless
- loss of interest in things you usually like to do, libido, and/or energy
- sadness for most of the day
- crying more easily than usual
- feeling the need to isolate the world
- irritable feelings
- suicidal thoughts or plans
If you have five of these symptoms, your diagnosis will be Major Depressive
Disorder. Notice the diagnosis is "disorder." This is not a mental illness, it is a disorder. Just like a physical flu, this disorder can usually go away. With a diagnosis, the remedy or course of treatment can then be discussed. Some clinicians currently believe that depression is caused by a combination of factors. Treatment focusing exclusively on one area may not be as helpful as a treatment that addresses all issues.
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Major Depressive Disorder usually involves a change in the chemistry in your brain. Sometimes it takes a chemical to change the brain chemistry back to normal. This is where medication can be an option. Just because one antidepressant works wonders for someone you know does not mean you will react to that same medication in the same manner. Each person reacts differently to a medication. Benefits and side effects are personal. Depression is indicated by a low serotonin level, so a naturopathic doctor
will examine for other low serotonin conditions you may be experiencing. If you want to stay away from the chemical of medication, this is an alternative. The natural things that will lift depression before it slips to the level of severe, include: aerobic activity, sunlight in your eyes, and complex carbohydrates. These are discussed in more detail later in the article.
Lifestyle changes to lift depressive symptoms:
If you're like most people who struggle with depression, believing or doing most of the things listed here is going to feel a little unnatural, uncomfortable, or even impossible. However, if you can manage to make this commitment for yourself and believe things can change for the better, your efforts will be well worth the work.