Depression is one of the most recognized mental illnesses today. We see never-ending commercials about medications to treat depression. Odds are, you know someone who has been diagnosed with depression, even if they’ve never told you. Or you may even believe that you have experienced symptoms of depression. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that data from a National Health Interview Survey conducted in 2019, reported that 11.5% of Americans experienced mild symptoms of depression and 2.8% reported experiencing severe symptoms.
Depression is listed as a mood disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The DSM provides criteria for the diagnosis of mental health disorders. We live in a chaotic, ever-changing, and information heavy world. People are often dealing with many stressors and may not always notice the emotional and mental changes they are experiencing. As statistics of depression will continue to change in the coming months, here are five things to know about depression, one of the most common mental disorders:
1) Symptoms of depression include changes in sleep, changes in appetite, weight loss/gain, fatigue, depressed mood, loss of interest/pleasure in activities, increased feelings of hopelessness/worthlessness, crying, self-harm, suicidal thoughts and/or attempts.
2) Causes for depression may include family history, brain chemistry, trauma, medical conditions, substance use, and hormone history/changes.
3) Types of depression include major depression, postpartum depression, persistent depressive disorder, and atypical depression. These types of depression would be diagnosed by a mental healthcare professional.
4) Treatment for depression include therapy, medication management, and/or a combination of both. Individual therapy offers one-to-one sessions to explore the mental and emotional stressors and triggers that affect depression while medication management helps to create balance chemically. Medication management can help to stabilize the symptoms of depression enough to allow clients to work through the emotional/mental aspects. Treatment approaches with depression can include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may also be used on certain types of depression.
5) Depression often occurs with other mental health disorders. Depression and anxiety frequently (not always) occur together. Medications that treat one or the other are also frequently used in medication management.
Depression continues to be a major mental health concern. As you experience stressors in your life, you do not have to wait to be in a crisis to seek support. Seeking individual therapy can help you build and strengthen your coping skills, find more healthier coping techniques, and build stronger support systems. Therapy is always available and can be used as a proactive tool to stave off crises.
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