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What is depression?

Depression is a very common and serious mood disorder. It’s more than just feeling sad. Depression can affect how you feel, think, and act. It lasts for weeks, months, or longer, and gets in the way of your relationships, work, school, or other day-to-day activities.  

What causes depression?

There’s no single cause of depression. Depression isn’t a weakness, and it can happen to anyone.

What are the symptoms of depression?

Different people can have different signs of depression, so it doesn’t always feel the same for everyone. Depression symptoms can include:

  • Sadness or anxiety that doesn’t go away
  • Feeling worthless, helpless, guilty, hopeless, or irritable
  • Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • Appetite changes (eating more or less than usual)
  • Loss of energy
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Thoughts of suicide

What should I do if I have depression?

Depression is treatable. If you feel depressed, contact a nurse or doctor as soon as you can to ask about your treatment options. Some Planned Parenthood health centers may be able to help you figure out if you have depression and even treat it. If not, they may be able to help connect you to somewhere that can. You can also find local support at SAMHSA.

If you’re thinking about hurting yourself:

How is depression treated?

Treatment options for depression include therapy and medicines. Therapy or counseling with a trained professional can be very helpful for treating depression. Therapy can help you figure out why you’re depressed and learn about what you can do to feel better.

Antidepressants are drugs that nurses or doctors prescribe that change the balance of chemicals in your brain, and help some people feel better.  

If you’re thinking of taking an antidepressant while you’re pregnant, thinking about becoming pregnant, or breastfeeding, talk to your nurse or doctor. They can help you figure out if taking antidepressants or other medicines is right for you during your pregnancy. Treating your depression may help you have a healthier pregnancy and postpartum experience.

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