Depression

Depression
Feeling sad sometimes can be a normal reaction to life’s struggles. However, when depressed feelings persist for longer periods of time, they may be part of a treatable medical condition. At Serenity Psychiatry of Beverly Hills, CA, Dr. Samer Kamal provides Psychiatrist care for patients with clinical depression.

Depression Q&A

by Samer Kamal, MD

What is depression?

Depression is one of the most common medical conditions in the world, with nearly 15 million adult sufferers in the U.S. alone. Depression is a highly treatable disease, but when left undiagnosed and untreated, symptoms can worsen and persist for years, sometimes leading to suicide.

What are the symptoms of depression?

The major symptoms of clinical depression are typically a depressed mood throughout the day and diminished interest in activities that were once enjoyed. Additional symptoms can include fatigue, feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness, poor concentration, irritability, sleeping too much or too little, a sense of restlessness, significant changes in weight, unexplained aches or digestive problems, and thoughts of death or suicide.

How is depression diagnosed?

Depression is diagnosed by a mental health professional when depressed mood and loss of interest are present most of the day for at least two weeks, are causing the patient significant distress, and other potential causes, such as medication or thyroid disease, have been ruled out. People with thoughts of suicide or personal harm should seek evaluation immediately.

What causes depression?

There is a combination of factors that can cause depression and the precise cause of a depressive episode may vary from person to person. Known factors that can contribute to developing depression include family history and heredity, individual brain structure, and traumatic life events, negative early life experiences, or other conditions such as anxiety, chronic pain, or drug abuse. It is important to remember that regardless of the cause of a person’s depression, even if the cause is unknown, depression is a treatable disease that many people are able to overcome with the help of a skilled mental health professional like Dr. Kamal.

How is depression treated?

There are many treatment options for depression, including a variety of medications, therapy, and lifestyle changes with proven results in improving depressed symptoms. Dr. Kamal helps patients develop the best treatment strategy for their individual situation.

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