Depression is not a sign of weakness or a negative personality, it is a major public health problem and a treatable condition. There are different types of depression as well, including seasonal, postpartum, and even anxiety can be considered a form of depression.Many of us feel down or sad at times, however, it becomes a problem when that feeling lingers day after day. Lack of interest in activities and the persistent down-in-the-dumps feeling is a sign that something more serious may be going on. When these feelings interfere with the ability to carry out daily functions and appreciate things in life, then the condition may require treatment. These feelings can last for weeks, months, or even years with a wide range of physical and emotional symptoms.The exact cause of depression is unknown. Events in a person’s life may be a trigger among other risk factors. Certain types of brain chemistry may also be a contributing factor, certain circuits in the brain which regulate mood may not work as efficiently. Women may be more likely to suffer from depression, although men are also susceptible. Some other common risk factors include:• Family history, or spouse with depression• Stress, fatigue, decreased energy• Illness, persistent aches or pain, headaches• Hormonal changes• Anxiety, insomnia, personality disorders• Concussion or other traumatic brain injury• Drug/alcohol abuse• Domestic violence• ObesitySocial and emotional factors can also play a role in depression. Negative thoughts and beliefs can bring a person down. Lack of social support or lack of control over certain circumstances can cause a feeling of helplessness. These factors as well as lifestyle choices may lead to low self-esteem.Symptoms and risk factors can be very similar, and can vary from person to person depending on how they deal with stress. Symptoms can change over time, some of which include:• Persistent sadness, anxiety, emptiness• Hopelessness• Guilt, helpless• Tired or exhausted• Restless, irritability, insomnia• Trouble concentrating or remembering• Appetite changes, weight loss or gain• Thoughts of death or suicideIf you have any of these symptoms it is important to seek help or treatment. There are no specific diagnostic tests for the condition. Personal and family history may be taken into account with a focus on the above symptoms. Mental health exams may be done to give the doctor more detailed information about thoughts and memory to rule out a number of causes.Treatment in the chiropractic office may be quite different from that of a medical office. Chiropractic focuses more on lifestyle changes to help decrease the feelings of depression. Dietary changes or supplementation may be helpful. Certain B-vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids may help to reduce symptoms. St. John’s wort is an herbal supplement that has shown some evidence to fight mild depression, be sure to talk to your health care professionals to make sure any medications will not be affected by supplementation. A regular exercise program has also been shown to relieve some symptoms of depression, especially in cases connected to obesity or dissatisfaction with self-image.Treatment options can vary depending on the severity. More serious cases of depression may need to be treated with medication or therapy such as counseling designed to help cope with personal difficulties. Medications used to treat depression are believed to improve the communication between nerve cells, the goal is to make them run normally. There are many other treatment options, the goal is to find what works best for each individual in each situation. Depression is a treatable condition which should not be ignored.