Depression is much more than a slump in your mood. When you have a case of the blues, you tend to feel better in a few days. Depression can both last a long time, and it can come and go. You can't ignore it, or joke about it, or whistle it away.
People with depression often experience:
- Loss of interest in home, work, and personal appearance.
- Loss of interest in sexual activity.
- Sudden, extreme changes in eating or sleeping habits.
- Frequent, uncontrollable crying.
- Lasting, unfocused nervousness or grouchiness.
- Stubborn feelings of hopelessness.
What are causes of depression?
Depression can have both physical and psychological causes. Illness and chemical imbalances are common physical causes. Psychological or emotional causes include distressing life changes. The death of a loved one, a divorce, or loss of a job can be triggers. Long-term problems with emotional dependency or poor self-esteem can contribute too.
If depression isn't treated, it can be debilitating and can lead to suicide. It's a serious condition that requires serious treatment.
What are treatments for depression?
If you think you might have depression, your first step is to get a medical check-up. Even if your depression has emotional causes, you may need medication to treat it. That decision must be made by a doctor who knows the state of your physical health.
If your depression has a physical cause, treating the underlying illness may be the cure. Depression caused by a chemical imbalance can also be treated with medicine. Sometimes certain combinations of medicines can produce depression. Your doctor will want to review all medicines you've been taking.
If your depression was caused by an event or situation, counseling or therapy may help.
What are some self-care tips?
Getting professional help is your first step, but there are some things you can do to help yourself feel better. Follow a healthy, well rounded diet, and get regular exercise. Aerobic exercise, such as walking, biking, and swimming, is a great idea. Studies show that exercise releases "feel good" hormones in the brain. These hormones can lift your spirits and help you feel more optimistic and in control.1
Self-care can help, but it can't replace medical attention. Talk to your health care provider.
1Exercise and stress: Get moving to manage stress, Mayo Clinic, August 18, 2020,
This material is provided by Cigna for informational/educational purposes only. It is not medical/clinical advice. Only a health care provider can make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment plan. For more information about your behavioral health benefits, you can call the member services or behavioral health telephone number listed on your health care ID card.
I want to...
Secure Member Sites
Cigna Company Information
Individual and family medical and dental insurance plans are insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (CHLIC), Cigna HealthCare of Arizona, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Illinois, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Georgia, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of North Carolina, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of South Carolina, Inc., and Cigna HealthCare of Texas, Inc. Group health insurance and health benefit plans are insured or administered by CHLIC, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (CGLIC), or their affiliates (see
All insurance policies and group benefit plans contain exclusions and limitations. For availability, costs and complete details of coverage, contact a licensed agent or Cigna sales representative. This website is not intended for residents of New Mexico.