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About Depression

While anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, depression isn't far behind. The experts at AssociatesMD in Plantation, Pembroke Pines, Fort Lauderdale, Davie, Weston, Margate, and Dania Beach, Florida, diagnose and treat depression with an integrative and holistic approach. Call the office today or schedule a consultation online for expert, compassionate treatment for depression.

Depression Q & A

How is depression different from sadness?

While everyone feels sad now and then or experiences grief, these feelings are very different from major depressive disorder (MDD) — the clinical term for depression. Depression is a brain disorder where abnormal brain activity and neurotransmitter levels affect your mood, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

One of the primary differences between sadness and depression is the length of time that you live with your depressed feelings or grief. Depression can last for several months, or even years, and is accompanied by other disruptive symptoms, while sadness tends to pass much more quickly.

Though grief can trigger a depressive episode, it's a normal response to loss and doesn't affect your self-esteem or cause feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness.

What are the symptoms of depression?

Symptoms of depression may vary over time and affect different people in different ways. Depression is often diagnosed after the consistent presence of symptoms for two or more weeks. Symptoms may include:

  • Persistent feelings of hopelessness, sadness, or emptiness
  • Loss of interest in normal activities or pleasures
  • Chronic fatigue or low-energy
  • Difficulty concentrating or focusing
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Poor memory
  • Generalized pain
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Change in appetite
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

In addition to these symptoms, you may also experience brain fog, poor concentration, and memory lapses.

What causes depression?

Depression is very common and comes in many forms, including grief, major depression, postpartum depression, and seasonal depression. Possible causes include a combination of biological, psychological, and social sources of distress.

Increasingly, research suggests these factors may cause changes in brain function, including altered activity of certain neural circuits in the brain. For example, medical researchers believe your hormones can impact your mental health. Postpartum depression is at least partially triggered by the dramatic hormonal changes you experience after childbirth.

Other risk factors for depression include:

  • A personal or family history of mental health issues
  • Substance abuse disorders
  • Traumatic experiences, including loss
  • Chronic health conditions, including cancer, heart disease, and chronic pain disorders
  • A personal history of poverty, neglect, or abuse

Your risk of depression is also higher if you have a generally pessimistic outlook on life.

How is depression treated?

The experts provide customized treatment plans after a detailed evaluation of your symptoms and condition. The mainstay of treatment is usually psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two. 

Increasingly, research suggests these treatments may normalize brain changes associated with depression. The team understands that the diagnosis and treatment of this condition require compassion, trust, and expert management. If you think you may have a depressive disorder, call AssociatesMD by phone or book an appointment online.