Depression is a mental illness, not to be confused with the short-term emotional distress, anxiety attacks or feeling down, which are symptoms of depression. Anyone can feel down for a brief period of time or have anxiety attacks once in a while, but that does not mean they are suffering from depression. Depression is much more serious than that, and is a persistent feeling of sadness, loneliness, helplessness, worthlessness, and emotional pain. A person that suffers from depression often loses interest in activities that they once enjoyed. Many people suffering with depression self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. If not treated at the right time, a person may try to harm himself/herself or commit suicide.
Depression is treatable, and there are many effective treatments available. Individual therapy is one treatment that has been proven effective, particularly CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. While psychotherapy is often enough for some people, others may find medications are helpful as well. Anti-depressant medications may be prescribed to help with a chemical imbalance that can be linked to depression. If medication is utilized, a professional counselor can work alongside a medical doctor or psychiatrist to develop a treatment plan that works best for the client.