What is Depression?
Depression is a mood disorder that causes feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a decrease interest in once pleasurable activities. Depression is typically known as Major Depressive Disorder and can be a chronic illness, fluctuate throughout a person’s life, or be situational in presentation. Depression symptoms can be significant enough to where they impact an individual’s ability to maintain relationships, interfere with work or school performance, and/or one’s ability to live the life they desire. Another component of depression is feeling life is not worth living and/or having suicidal thoughts. Without treatment, depression can rule one’s life.
What causes Depression?
We know the causes of depression are both genetic and environmental. Most always both factors will be needed; however, there are times that only one factor is needed in the case of a severe medical illness for example. A few factors that can contribute to depression are listed below:
- Medical illness(es)
- Unexpected news (job loss)
- Changes in hormones as one ages
- Traumatic Brain Injuries that brain functioning
Of note, substance use can impact how the brain produces neurotransmitters which may influence depression and onset.
What are the common Symptoms of Depression?
- Low mood
- Decrease interest in most areas of life
- Weight loss or gain
- Fluctuations with appetite
- Challenges with sleep
- Restlessness or body movement challenges
- Decrease in energy
- Feelings of worthlessness or extreme guilt
- Challenges with concentration or making a decision
- Suicidal thoughts
How is Depression Diagnosed?
Depression is typically diagnosed by a trained mental health therapist or doctor. Revitalize Mental Health PLLC’s mental health therapists are trained to assess for symptoms of depression in the many ways these may appear.
What Treatment Helps Alleviate Depression Symptoms?
There is research to support that anti-depressant medications by themselves can alleviate the depressive symptoms. Other research suggests that therapy alone can help someone who lives with depression. It has been my clinical experience that a combination of both anti-depressant medication and therapy for depression have the most impact on depression symptom reduction and overall functioning.