More than 15 million American adults are affected by depression annually, with the expectation that 16-20 out of 100 people will have the disorder at least once in their lives.(1)
What is Depression?
Depression is a common mental disorder in which individuals suffer from feelings of sadness and low self-worth. Those affected by depression often show a lack of interest in activities resulting in poor performance either at work, school, or at home, depending on their age. Depression symptoms are not the same for everyone; episodes can range from mild to severe. In addition, proper treatment is essential to prevent the disorder from becoming one that is long-lasting, recurring, or even chronic. Effective treatments include medication, counseling, or hospital stays.
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Given that some patients may experience more frequent episodes or more intense cases of the disorder, depression can affect daily life in different ways. Even in mild cases, depression patients may experience obesity, substance abuse, anxiety, social isolation, and reduced ability to concentrate on tasks.(2)
Depression symptoms are not always noticeable right away, but there are many signs that can help identify if you or a loved one is succumbing to this debilitating disorder. People diagnosed with depression exhibit loss of energy, change in appetite, irregular sleep patterns, indecisiveness, low self-worth, and more depending on the patient's age.(3)
Depression Causes and Treatment
Depression does not have one specific cause, rather there are a variety of biological and psychological factors as well as a person’s individual circumstances or a life event that sends them into a downward spiral. Some of these factors are:(4)
- Hormonal changes
- Inherited traits
- Chronic anxiety disorders and low self-esteem
- Traumatic childhood experiences
- Distressing events such as death of a loved one
- Long-term stress
However, there are several depression treatment options including psychotherapy and/or medication. Antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) can be used to treat more severe cases of depression but are not recommended for mild cases.(5)
Less severe cases can be treated with psychotherapy, where the patient is able to talk about their issues, replace negative thoughts with positive ones, and develop a plan to combat depression.
For those that are unable to treat themselves or are in immediate danger of harming themselves or someone else, hospital and residential treatment is recommended to get symptoms under control, followed by extensive outpatient support. Other treatment options include electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
Joining a Depression Support Group
In many cases, those afflicted with depression will often seek solitude. However, depression support groups can help depression patients talk about their issues in a risk-free environment to rid themselves of anxiety and build greater self-esteem. In the case of caregivers, our team has put together a video to help caregivers of depression patients. Joining a depression support group is the first step in defeating the destructive disorder.
Register with healtheo360 for exclusive access to depression support groups to share your thoughts and feelings with others who face the same struggle.