What is depression?
According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression or major depressive disorder is a serious medical illness that can negatively impact one’s mood, thoughts, and actions. The condition is more common than you may think, and it typically brings feelings of sadness or hopelessness for many people.
Signs of depression present themselves in many ways for different people. However, everyone has to experience symptoms that affect their regular daily functions for at least two weeks at a time for it to classify as depression. Common signs include:
- Loss of energy
- Loss of interest in usual activities
- Physical aches and pains
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Feeling sad
- Changes in sleep
- Changes in appetite
- Suicidal thoughts
What are the risk factors for depression?
It’s important to remember that depression doesn’t always have a single cause, but certain factors do play a role in contributing to depression, such as:
- Genetics. Like facial features and other medical conditions, depression can also run in families.
- Trauma. Painful events that happen at a young age can cause long-term changes to the brain’s stress responses, leading to depression.
- Biochemistry. Chemical changes to the brain are associated with depression.
- Personality. People with low self-esteem, who are unable to manage stress, or are pessimistic, may be more likely to experience depression.
- Life circumstances. Changes or challenges in everyday life like a divorce, move, or job loss can factor into the development of depression.
Here’s what to do if you or someone else is experiencing depression:
There are depression treatments available for adults and children, so don’t lose faith because this mood disorder is one of the most treatable among them all. After receiving a diagnosis, some standard courses of action to treat depression are:
- Psychotherapy. Talk therapy, aka psychotherapy, is a typical treatment for depression that can work for more severe cases when medication is involved. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is most commonly used to treat depression, and it teaches patients to respond to negative thinking and patterns with more constructive coping mechanisms.
- Medication. Anti-depressants are widely used to treat depression, and consulting with a doctor to find the best medicine to fit a patient’s unique needs is a standard treatment route for most people.
- Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). This treatment for depression involves sending magnetic pulses to stimulate the brain’s nerve cells to improve depression symptoms.
- Ketamine. This drug’s use as an anti-depressive treatment has increased due to its ability to relieve symptoms for people resistant to common depression aids.
Looking for a depression specialist in Phoenix, AZ, or Orange, CA?
Get in touch with the Brainpower Wellness Institute team by filling out a contact form here or calling us directly to learn more about our depression services for kids and adults. We know depression can feel like a big unknown, but you don’t have to go through it alone.