Five questions to ask your doctor about depression
Have you been feeling sad? Have you lost interest or pleasure in daily activities? Have you been feeling this way for two weeks or more? These feelings/symptoms may be signs of depression and your healthcare provider can help.
In this article, you’ll find answers to common questions about depression from Dr. Larry Culpepper, a primary care physician and professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Boston University. Take the first step toward regaining control and start a conversation with your doctor about your symptoms. There is no need to suffer alone.
1. What is major depressive disorder (MDD)?
Major depressive disorder, also known as depression, is a serious medical condition that can significantly impact your life and the lives of those close to you. Depression is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, along with other symptoms, are persistent and interfere with one’s normal day-to-day activities for a long period of time (nearly every day for at least two weeks).
Nearly half of people with MDD are not receiving any treatment and the consequences can be devastating.Some believe they should just “snap out of it” on their own. Others do not discuss depression with a doctor because it doesn’t seem like a health concern. It’s important to understand that depression is a real medical illness that can be treated.
2. What are the symptoms of MDD?
Those suffering from depression may experience different symptoms that go beyond a feeling of sadness. Along with a depressed mood and/or loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities, a person must experience at least four of the following symptoms:
• Increased irritability
• Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
• Agitation or restlessness
• Fatigue and loss of energy
• Trouble thinking, making decisions, or concentrating
• Disturbed sleep, such as insomnia
• Changes in appetite or weight
• Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts
3. I may be suffering from MDD. What should I do?
The first thing you should do is schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss how you’re feeling and determine the appropriate next steps. It’s important to remember that depression is a common but serious illness.In fact, each year, depression affects 5-8 percent of adults in the United States, accounting for about 25 million Americans.
4. Why can’t I just snap out of it?
It is widely believed that major depressive disorder is the result of an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain, which may influence a person’s mood.Due to this believed imbalance, depression, like other medical conditions, often requires treatment. Many people with a depressive illness never seek treatment, but many people with depression can get better with treatment.
5. What types of medications are available?
There are a number of different antidepressant options available that can help reduce symptoms of depression. The antidepressant most recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of depression in adults is VIIBRYD® (vilazodone HCl), which became available in 2011. While the exact way VIIBRYD—or any other medication for depression—works is unknown, it is thought to affect the activity of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter known to play a key role in regulating mood.
Talk to your doctor to determine the best treatment option for you.
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