Dr. Natasha Withers: Who hasn't felt a little sad or blue at some point, that's normal. But when these feelings persist per weeks, it may be a sign of depression. A medical illness marked by never ending sadness, anger or frustration that interferes with daily life.
Depression varies from person to person, but the most common symptoms include feelings of helplessness or hopelessness, loss of interest or pleasure in one's enjoyable activities, fatigue, insomnia or excessive sleeping, irritability, agitation or restlessness, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, difficulty concentrating and thoughts of dead or suicide.
The more of these symptoms you have and the longer they have lasted, the more likely it is that you are experiencing depression. Bottom-line; seek help from your primary care physician before you're disabled by your symptoms.
Today, depression is a treatable condition. Once you have been diagnosed, your doctor may recommend medications and regular counseling. Ask about alternative therapy such as massage or acupuncture, that have also been shown to be beneficial in easing depression.
Making healthy lifestyle changes can also help. Studies have proven that exercise may be as effective as drugs for mild to moderate cases. Eating healthy food, practicing stress reduction, avoiding alcohol and recreational drugs and getting enough sleep in conjunction with medical treatment can also boost your mental health.
I am Dr. Natasha. Live well!