Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions, affecting more than 16 million Americans each year. Depression can happen to anyone of any age, race or sex and causes disturbances in every aspect of daily life. The reality is that only about one-third of those suffering from depression seek professional help. Understanding depression and the symptoms can help lead to successful treatment and remission.
What is depression?
Also called, “clinical depression” or “depressive disorder”, depression is a mood disorder that causes distressing symptoms that affect how you feel, think and handle daily activities. While it is natural to feel sad from time to time but depression is a chronic condition that affects sleeping, eating and working for a significant amount of time. While depression does not look the same for everyone, it is a very serious matter and can be seriously debilitating if left untreated.
Main types of Depression
- Major depression
- Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia)
- Perinatal depression
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
- Psychotic depression
How is it diagnosed?
To be diagnosed with depression, symptoms must be present most of the day, nearly every day for at least two weeks.
- Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” feeling
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities
- Decreased energy, fatigue or being “slowed down”
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making
- Difficulty sleeping
- Appetite and/or weight changes
- Thoughts of suicide or death or suicide attempts
- Restlessness or irritability
The first step of treatment is to seek help from a professional mental health care provider. The treatment options available have been proven to be very successful in treating depression but remember that each person and condition is unique. Most often medication or psychotherapy (or a combination) will be the most effective treatment but in some cases, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be used. A full-service depression treatment center will be able to
- Medications – depression is often caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, which can be treated with antidepressants.
- Psychotherapy – this treatment addresses the cognitive side to depression in which patients will learn new ways of thinking, behaving and changing habits that may contribute to depression. Depression therapy is often very effective in patients
- ECT – in severe cases in which patients are unresponsive to the prior two forms of treatment, ECT or other brain stimulation therapies may be used to treat depression.
At Strategic Mental Health, our staff provides the very best treatment options for those suffering from mental health conditions such as depression. It is important to remember that if you think that you or a loved one may be suffering from depression, there is help available.
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