Depression is a mood disturbance that goes beyond feeling sad. It affects one’s thoughts, behaviors, feelings, and physical health. It can lead to withdrawal from people and activities. Depression is a medical illness and not a sign of personal weakness. There are different types of depression and subsets of the condition that can be caused by a variation of triggers.
6.7% (16.2 million) of adults in the us have had at least one major depressive episode in a given year. Without treatment, the severity of the symptoms increases over time, as well as the frequency of the episodes. If left untreated, a person may face serious impairments in their ability to function at home and work. Symptoms of depression may include the following:
- Feeling sad persistently
- Loss of interest in activities that one used to enjoy
- Sleep patterns changing (needing more sleep or less sleep)
- Feeling irritable or restless
- Experiencing changes in appetite (either eating much more or much less than usual)
- Feeling tired, and loss of energy
- Low or no motivation
- Having thoughts of suicide or death
- Feeling hopeless
- Having difficulty concentrating, and making decisions.
- Fixation on things of the past or things that have gone wrong.
- Weight gain or loss
- Unexplained aches and pains
If these symptoms exist for at least two weeks, for more days than not, then it is recommended to schedule an appointment with a therapist and/or a psychiatrist for depression screening. Depression can occur due to any of the following factors (or a combination of them):
- Genetic reasons (family history)
- Biochemical (chemical imbalance or change in hormones)
- A traumatic or stressful incident (childbirth, loss of a loved one)
- Psychological factors (social, stress, anxiety).
- Substance abuse
- Certain medication
Once depression is diagnosed, you would have several treatment options. Some of the options include the following:
- Individual psychotherapy– this treatment helps an individual become more aware and better able to cope with their problems. It provides support and help by examining some of the underlying reasons of depression. There are many methods of therapy including cognitive, behavioral, and psychoanalysis.
- Psychotherapy and support groups– support groups are great option to be able to relate to others, and to connect. Group members learn from each other. Oftentimes this option helps to not feel alone.
- Medication– medications are used to treat seriously depressed people. It helps to correct chemical imbalances of certain brain chemicals.
- Alternative therapy(thought field therapy, acupuncture, natural remedies) – thought field therapy provides a quick relief of symptoms. Recently, people have been trying alternative methods prior to medications.
- Educational classes– offers material to help one learn to understand and cope with depression.
- Self-care– learning to pay attention to one’s lifestyle, eating and exercising habits.
Anita Avedian, MFT, has been working with individuals suffering from depression for many years. Individual therapy is offered to help one learn coping skills, problem solving, learning ways to increase motivation, and understanding underlying causes of one’s depression. Retrieved from; https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/facts-statistics-infographic#1