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How to cope with Depression


Feeling depressed versus being depressed

Everyone feels depressed or down in the dumps once in a while, but that doesn't mean they are depressed. Clinical depression (also called major depression) is more than a feeling of low mood lasting for a few days. It is a chronic mental condition that can interfere with work, relationships and activities of daily living, as well as lead to a variety of physical and emotional problems.

 Although clinical depression usually onsets in the late 20s or early 30s, it can actually arise at any age, from childhood to old age. Women are affected by depression almost twice as often as men. Although this may be due to hormonal differences between men and women, it cannot be ruled out that it reflects  at least in part - the fact that women generally seek medical help more often than men do. 

 Depression: a Chronic Condition

Depression is a chronic mental illness: it can last weeks, months or even years if left untreated, and usually occurs in episodes of variable duration and frequency. Symptoms and signs of depression greatly vary among people.

They may include long-lasting feelings of sadness, hopelessness and worthlessness, loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities, sleeping disorders, weight changes, crying spells without any apparent reason, difficulty concentrating, irritability, suicidal thoughts or behaviours, as well as physical problems (such as headache or back pain) with no obvious cause. It is important to remember that, when left  untreated, depression can spiral out of control and lead to serious, even fatal complications including suicide, alcohol or substance abuse, relationship problems and social isolation.

Looking for early signs of depression

Nobody knows why some people fall into depression. It has been hypothesised that various factors (individual biology, heredity, and environment) come into play. However it has not been established which of these factors is the most significant in the development of depression, nor how these factors interplay with each other. But in spite of this lack of knowledge, depression is often preventable and always treatable.

 Depression and treatment*

Treatment of depression involves the use of antidepressant medications, psychotherapy or, even better, a combination of the two. Several medications belonging to different drug classes are available to treat depression. Without going into the details of their mechanisms of action, it is enough to say that these medicines work by affecting the concentrations of certain brain chemicals (called neurotransmitters) involved in regulating mood.

Although a certain improvement of mood can be noted within a few days after beginning treatment, it may take several weeks before their full antidepressant effect become apparent. In addition it is important to remember that all antidepressant medicines can have side effects, so they have to be taken in strict accordance with the instructions of the healthcare provider.

Other than medications and psychotherapy, certain alternative and complementary methods can have some beneficial effects in relieving the symptoms of depression.

These include dietary supplements, as well as mind-body techniques like yoga, meditation, acupuncture and massage therapy. However it is important to stress that these alternative methods are not as effective as the traditional medical care, so they cannot be considered as a substitute for it.


Because depression is a serious illness that requires long-term, often expensive treatment, depressed patients should have themselves covered with appropriate international health insurance plans before the condition occurs. 

International Health Cover is a Worldwide International Health Insurance advisor. We provide  free advice to help you choose over a wide range of International Medical Insurance plans for yourself or your relatives.

Please request a free quotation. You can also contact one of our highly trained consultant.

*Always seek professional medical advise from a qualified doctor before undergoing any treatment.