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What is Depression?

Sad woman

Depression is a mental illness that is correlated with a chemical imbalance in the brain that affects the body and mind. This imbalance can causes changes in mood, behavior, thinking, and physical well-being. The symptoms of depression vary from person-to-person but are generally signified by feelings of sadness, hopeless, worthlessness, and loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities.  These symptoms must persist for longer than two weeks duration for the diagnosis of depression to be made.

Depressive disorders come in different forms. Three of the most common are major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disorder. Major depression is signified by persistent symptoms that interfere with the ability to work, study, sleep, and eat that may even lead to suicide if untreated. Dysthymia involves less severe symptoms and is usually believed to be chronic, low level feelings of unhappiness and dissatisfaction with life. Bipolar disorder is signified by mood swings with severe highs and lows. The cycling of mood swings that happen quickly, followed by a calm state, making bipolar disorder difficult to diagnose. 

People with depression cannot simply “will themselves” to get better. Depression affects the mind and causes different symptoms in different people that may be hard to notice. Some symptoms include: feeling sad, frequent crying spells, losing interest or pleasure in activities, thinking about death or suicide, different sleeping patterns, weight loss or gain, appetite, feeling tired, restless, irritated, and easily annoyed. 

Although anyone is prone to depression, those with low self-esteem, consistently pessimistic, or who are easily overwhelmed by stress, may be more susceptible to depression. It is believed that a combination of genetic, psychological, environmental factors, as well as physical changes in the body cause certain brain chemicals to get out of balance and cause depression. 

Depression can be treated with antidepressant medications and counseling. Antidepressants can reduce and sometimes eliminate the chemical imbalance in the brain to but they also work differently for each individual. Without treatment, depression can last for weeks, months, or years, and cause life altering problems. 

For more information or to schedule a consultation about your depressive symptoms, please Contact Us or set up an appointment directly on this website.

Generations Behavioral Healthcare, P.C.
15 Spinning Wheel Rd, Suite 30, Hinsdale, Illinois 60521
(630) 259-1515