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Have you been feeling ‘blue’ lately? Does the feeling of sadness and loneliness refuse to go away? If you have been nodding your head in assent, then that means you might be among the 20 million people who suffer from what is commonly known as depression. Depression also known as clinical depression is a mental health disorder that can occur due to some genetic, psychological, sociological or environmental problem. If not treated in time, it can cause serious problems for the patients. Research shows that about two-thirds of adults face life altering depression at one time or another in their lives. So how do you know when you have depression and what should you do about it? Here are some pointers to help you.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

If you or your loved one experiences three or more of these symptoms then you might be developing or already have depression.

  • Feelings of hopelessness, unbearable sadness, pessimism

  • Guilty conscience, feelings of worthlessness and/or helplessness

  • Experiencing gloom and doom

  • Restlessness, anxiety, irritability and decreased energy

  • Fatigue and feelings of tiredness

  • Loss of appetite or overeating

  • Insomnia or hypersomnia

  • Physical discomfort or pains like headaches, stomach aches, cramps that continue even after the use of medication

  • Having difficulty concentrating or remembering things

  • Losing interest in activities or hobbies you enjoy

  • Thoughts of killing oneself as well as suicide attempts

Treatment Options for Depression

Depression is treated with both medical treatments as well as alternative methods. Depending on the severity of the condition, sometimes two or more treatments are mixed together to get better results. Here are some treatment options.

Medicinal Use

There are many medications available for depression, but that does not mean they work in everyone’s case. Some of the most commonly prescribed medicines include tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors etc. The problem with such medicines is that they have too many side effects and most people don’t prefer taking them.

Relaxation Techniques

These include exercise routines that help in relaxing both the mind and body of the patient. They also release hormones that help in developing feelings of joy and well-being. Some exercises could be yoga, tai chi, progressive muscle relaxation, breathing exercises etc.


Psychotherapy is one of the most prescribed methods of treating depression. It requires the patient to have regular meeting with a psychologist and talk about all their feelings and thoughts. This in combination with medication works for some people but the chances of recurrence of depression are high as soon as a person either stops visiting the psychotherapist or stops the intake of medication.


Acupuncture is said to greatly help with depression. Latest research shows that people who had depression and went to an acupuncturist had the severity of their depression lessen considerably. By unblocking the meridians you are allowing the body to regain homeostasis, therefore allowing the nervous system and the endocrine system to stabilize. When you seek an acupuncturist for your depression, s/he will find some particular acu-points and insert very thin needles into those points. The number of sessions and duration of treatment would depend on the progression of the condition.

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