Many of us go through periods in our lives when feel disheartened, sad, or more negative than usual, but depression is more than this. When someone suffers from depression, they are plagued with unhappy feeling for periods of weeks or months to such an extent that it can often affect their daily lives and become extremely distressing. Some people regard depression as a trivial matter instead of a genuine health concern, but this is not the case. Depression is a serious illness with life-altering symptoms and it should never be considered as a sign of weakness or something an individual can control. Just like various mental health concerns such as bipolar disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder, depression must be taken seriously. Fortunately, with the right support and treatment, it is possible for many people to make a full recovery and regain control of their lives.

It is important to remember that although treatment is available, it usually will take some time to work. Sometimes people may require long-term treatment to keep the symptoms at bay, and patients can experience recurring episodes of depression which may need further treatment later in their lives.

How to Determine Whether You Have Depression

Approximately five adults out of every hundred are diagnosed with depression each year. Sometimes, depression can be categorized as a mild instance which lasts for a short period, such as a couple of months or weeks, but episodes of major depression are also possible. Depression is an issue that affects many people in many different ways, causing a wide variety of symptoms that range anywhere from feelings of hopelessness and sadness to completely losing interest in the activities that used to bring you joy. The severity of the symptoms can also vary, as at its very mildest, you may only feel low in spirit, whereas other, more severe forms of depression could lead you to feel as though life is no longer worth living. These are some of the symptoms that are often associated with depression:

Core Symptoms:

  • Marked loss of interested in activities or pleasure from taking part in activities you would regularly enjoy.
  • Persistently low mood or constant sadness, with or without tears and weepiness.

Other Common Symptoms:

  • Agitation or slower movement
  • Feelings of inappropriate guilt, worthlessness and low self-esteem
  • Tiredness or loss of energy
  • Disturbed or irregular sleep in comparison with your typical pattern, including difficulty getting to sleep, waking early, or sleeping too much
  • A change in or loss of appetite
  • Consistent or recurrent thoughts of suicide or death
  • Various aches and pains
  • A lack of interest in sex, or reduced sexual drive

Most people suffering with depression experience a combination of at least five of the above symptoms, and this can cause them a great deal of stress, impairing their normal functioning and leading to further psychological issues such as panic attacks and general anxiety. It can be common for individuals to develop physical pain as a side effect of their depression, such as chest pains, headaches, and palpitations.

What Causes Depression?

Depression can arise as a result of many different factors, and one specific cause has not yet been identified. Anyone, or any age or gender can develop depression, although it has been noted that some people are more prone to it than others are. You may find that even without a particularly stressful event in your life, or worry that could lead to depression, you begin to suddenly develop symptoms.
An episode of depression can be triggered by traumatic or critical life events, such as bereavement, illness, redundancy, PTSD, or relationship issues. For many people, a combination of a generally low mood or negative disposition when mixed with a serious life problem, could lead to a spiral of depression.

What Treatment Options Are There For Depression?

Typically, treatment for depression involved a combination of talking therapies and medication. The type of treatment that is best suited for you will be recommended by a health care professional depending on your individual circumstances and the type of depression that you are suffering from. Without treatment, many people can find life with depression to be extremely difficult, causing relationships, home life, and employment to be affected. In some cases, there is a danger that depression could lead individuals to addictive substances such as alcohol and drugs, and severe instances of depression can inspire suicidal thoughts.

Antidepressant Medications

Much of the time, antidepressant medications are used to help with the treatment of moderate to severe depression. Although no medication will be able to change your circumstances or fix the underlying issues that may have led to your depression in the first place, they can help to ease some of the symptoms, such as poor sleep, low mood, and difficulty concentrating, helping individuals to deal more readily with their difficult circumstances. It is important to remember that antidepressant medications do not work immediately, and it can take up to four weeks for the effect to build properly.

Talking Therapies and Psychological Treatment

A great deal of research has shown that psychological treatments can be particularly effective in the treatment of depression and mood disorders. Usually, a combination of psychological treatment and medication can be more successful than choosing one treatment alone. Some of the most commonly considered treatments for moderate and severe depression include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy. This type of therapy is based on the concept that particular ways of thinking can help to prolong, trigger, or enhance various mental health problems, like depression. By helping you to understand your thought patterns, your therapist will assist you in identifying unhealthy or harmful thoughts which could be worsening your depression. The aim of CBT is to change the way that you think in the hope that this will also have an impact on the way you feel and behave.
  • Interpersonal therapy. This type of therapy considers the idea that the personal relationships you are involved in have an impact on your mental state and mood. The therapist helps to improve your interactions with others and changes your thinking to improve your emotional state.

To learn more about treatment for depression or simply to speak to someone who can help, consider calling Creative Care today for more information.