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Mental Health Monday: What is depression?

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) – Nearly 34% of Idahoans report symptoms of anxiety and/or depression, which is above the national average of 32% according to KFF.

Depression and anxiety often times get linked together, but that's not always the case, they can each stand alone.

The Mayo Clinic describes depression as, "a mood disorder that brings persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest."

"If you think about the word depressed, it means to subdue. And so for some people, depression is an adaptive response in their brain. They've done too much for too long or they've had too much hurt for too long. And so the brain just kind of wants to stagnate," Licensed Clinical Social Worker Stefanie Westover said.

There are many potential causes to depression including stress, traumatic events, loneliness, substance use and it can even be genetic.

"If your parents had more stress, you're going to be more prone to depression because their brains were and their genetic material was shifted in that direction," Westover said.

But it can be difficult to tell if you have the genetic material that causes depression.

"So many of those genes are turned on by our environmental experiences," Westover said. "However, if you have a history of family depression and if you have symptoms of depression, you could be in the group that's more prone to depression."

Depression symptoms include feelings of hopelessness, irritability, loss of interest, sleep disturbances, appetite changes and more.

There can be many different forms of depression from mild to severe. Westover said, "We're looking at a whole body response, not just our thoughts."

Just like any mental disorder, there are ways to improve and get help. With guidance from their doctor, some choose to take medicine. While, others may choose natural routes, like exercising, socializing and enjoying healthy diet. Both can be effective.

"To get through depression, you've really got to boss your brain back and tell your brain, 'I know that this doesn't feel good to do all these things that I don't want to do anymore. But if anything is going to change, I've got to start somewhere.'"

If you think you may feel depressed, consult with your health care provider as soon as possible to receive treatment.

Article Topic Follows: Mental Health Monday

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Kailey Galaviz

Kailey is a morning anchor and reporter for Local News 8 and Eyewitness News 3


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