ZocdocAnswersIs depression a disease?

Question

Is depression a disease?

I think that I'm depressed because I'm sad all the time. Is it a disease? Like do you have to have a doctor help you get over it or can you deal with depression on your own?

Answer

Being sad all the time is one sign of depression. Other signs include having no drive to do things, poor sleep, low self-esteem, and a loss of interest or pleasure in activities that you normally would enjoy. Having these symptoms for more than two weeks is considered a major depressive episode. Just like the rest of your body, there are many conditions that can affect only your mind. When it does affect your mind like depression, it is given a name of an actual disorder (i.e. depression). Now most of us feel depressed about ourselves or our work occasionally, but most often the feeling does not last longer than two weeks. It is normal to have these symptoms while grieving a loved one's death. Otherwise, it is wise to seek out a primary care physician who sometimes can help address any physiological reasons that may cause you to feel depressed. If there are no obvious physiological reasons for the depressed feeling, your doctor can start you on an anti-depressive medication, or alternatively, may choose to refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist. Depression takes a toll on your body, life and those around you. It is important for you to get help. The medications often take 4-6 weeks to work so do not get discouraged if you do not feel better right away. Please schedule your visit with a doctor soon.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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