What is Depression?
Depression has become very common and it is a highly treatable, medical illness that can have an effect on anyone. About 1 in every 20 Americans get depressed every year. Almost everyone occasionally feels sad or blue, however these feelings usually last for a short amount of time and pass within a few days. Individuals suffering from depression, on the other hand, have these same feelings but it interferes with their daily life and can cause pain for both themselves and those around them.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Depression?
- Constant sad, anxious or empty feelings
- Fatigue and lack of energy
- Decreased interest in typical activities or hobbies which were once enjoyable.
- Loss of appetite or overeating
- Feeling worthless, helpless, hopeless or guilty
- Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
- Problems sleeping, over sleeping, insomnia, or early-morning wakefulness
- Aches, pains, headaches, or digestive problems
Causes of Depression:
Depression can be caused by a combination of biological, genetic, environmental and psychological factors. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) has proven that the brain of a person with depression appears different in comparison to that of an individual who has never had depression. The regions of the brain that are involved in thinking, sleep, mood, behavior, and appetite do not seem to work normally. There has been a suggestion that neurotransmitters which are crucial chemicals involved in brain cell communication become out of balance. With this being said, we should keep in mind that this imaging technology has not exposed why the depression came about.
Treatment for Depression:
Depression is definitely treatable. If caught on the onset, the treatment will be more effective. It has been proven that immediate treatment can significantly lessen the possibility of reappearance. There are many different treatments available for depression. There is medication and psychological counseling which is helpful for a lot of individuals.
In many instances your primary care physician can prescribe medications to alleviate depression symptoms. Patients can also benefit from seeing a psychologist or a mental health counselor. The most effective treatment for depression is a combination of medication and psychotherapy.
There are also a variety of anti-depressant medications that can be prescribed as well. These medications are classified by how they influence the naturally occurring chemicals in your brain to alter your mood.
Some Different Anti-Depressants Include:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
- Norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs)
- Atypical Antidepressants
- Tricyclic Antidepressants
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
Psychotherapy is a method of treating depression where you talk about your condition with a mental health provider. It is commonly referred to as therapy, talk therapy, counseling psychosocial therapy. Through these sessions, you will be able to gain knowledge of the causes of depression and this will in turn lead to a better understanding of it. You can also be able to discover ways of identifying and making changes in unhealthy behavior and be able to look into better ways of coping, solving issues and setting realistic goals for your life. It can ultimately help you recuperate and gain a sense of contentment and management in your life and can potentially ease depression symptoms.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT):
This treatment works with the passage of electrical currents through the brain. This in turn can have an effect on the levels of neurotransmitters in your brain. This treatment usually offers immediate relief for severe depression even if other treatments fail. It is commonly performed on individuals who haven’t improved with medication alone and for those who are at high risk for suicide. It can also be effective for older adults who suffer from severe depression and who cannot take anti-depressants for health reasons.