St. Dominic Behavioral Health - Depression FAQ - - Jackson, MS

St. Dominic Behavioral Health - Depression FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about Depression

Behavioral Health Services - St. Dominic-Jackson Memorial Hospital

What is Depression?

Depression refers to feeling sad, "blue" and uninterested in the things that are normally a source of pleasure. It also refers to having negative or pessimistic thoughts. A depression becomes more severe (clinical) when physiological symptoms also occur, such as changes in sleep, appetite or sexual function. A clinical depression lasts several weeks or more.

How does it occur?

The exact cause of depression is not known. However, depressive symptoms may be associated with: a major or chronic depressive disorder; a complication or another psychiatric disorder or mental illness; a reaction to a medication or drug; biochemical changes in the body (e.g., after child birth); use of alcohol, amphetamines, cocaine or LSD.

In more serious cases, genetics appears to be involved. Some people have a greater risk of depression such as those who have a family history of anxiety or depression; alcoholics or drug abusers.

What are the Symptoms?

People suffering from a major depression experience a significant degree of one of the two following symptoms for more than two weeks: feeling sad or blue (may include crying spells, anxiety, agitation or irritability); and loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities. Other symptoms of a major depression include: significant weight loss or gain, sleep difficulties, blaming oneself, memory problems or difficulty in concentrating; fatigue, loss of energy; thought of death or suicide.

How is Depression Treated?

For mild symptoms, psychotherapy or counseling are the most common ways to treat depression. For more serious symptoms, medications may be prescribed along with psychotherapy. Hospitalization is usually not necessary if treatment is started soon enough. Admittance to an inpatient program might be advisable in situations where the risk of suicide is high, the home environment is so stressful or confused that it makes the depression worse or the patient is unable to care for him or herself at home.

What are some recommended ways to get through a depressive episode?

The most important thing to do is follow the doctor's orders and take all prescribed medications. Other steps include identifying activities that provide positive feedback and try to focus on them. Join a support group and maintain contact with family and friends. Eat well-balanced meals and avoid alcohol and caffeine. Get adequate rest, exercise on a regular basis and learn healthy problem-solving techniques.

If you would like more information about depression or other behavioral health topics, please call 1-800-632-5907 or visit our website at

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