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Depression is not simply an "emotional problem" that people can overcome on their own. Rather, depression is a real medical illness – one that needs to be diagnosed and properly treated. It is not a sign of weakness, nor is it something to be ashamed of. People with depression cannot "just snap out of it"—any more than it would be possible for a person with diabetes or heart disease to "just snap out of it." The good news is that with proper diagnosis and medical attention, depression can be treated effectively. Antidepressant treatment, with a medication such as LEXAPRO®, can help effectively combat depression.
It's important to keep in mind that depression is more than just feeling sad. People who have depression are not just moody or feeling low for a few days. They experience long periods of feeling very sad—or in some cases, very nervous or tired—for several weeks or months. The symptoms of depression may differ from person to person and may include lack of pleasure in activities that were once enjoyable, change in sleep or eating habits, and feelings of worthlessness. Chronic pain that does not respond to treatment may also be a sign of depression. Because depression can change the way a person feels, thinks and behaves, it can have negative effects on all aspects of a person's life, including their family life.
What Causes Depression?
There are many reasons why a person might become depressed—the death of a loved one, living with disease, medications with unpleasant side effects, substance abuse, hormonal changes, or a family history of depression. Sometimes the cause of depression is unknown.
Whatever the circumstances, depression is caused by an imbalance of certain chemicals in the brain. Normally, these "chemical messengers" help nerve cells communicate with one another by sending and receiving messages, and they may also influence a person's mood. In the case of depression, the available supply of the chemical messengers is low, so nerve cells can't communicate effectively.
Antidepressant medications such as LEXAPRO work by helping to correct the imbalance of certain chemicals in the brain. These medications may take several weeks to be effective, but they work well and are generally safe. In clinical studies, many patients treated with LEXAPRO began to feel better within 1 or 2 weeks, although the full effect may take 4 to 6 weeks.
Take Action Today With the Depression Self-Screener
If you think you might be suffering from depression, take the Depression Self-Screener. This simple 20-question quiz can help identify common symptoms of depression and their severity. Based on your results, you may want to make an appointment with a doctor or healthcare professional to discuss your answers so your condition can be diagnosed properly. Remember, only a healthcare professional can diagnose depression.