WHAT IS DEPRESSION?
Depression, also referred to as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), is a mental health condition that affects a person’s actions, feelings, and thoughts. It impacts approximately 7% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Additionally, nearly 2 million children in the United States have been diagnosed with depression. The symptoms of depression are very difficult to handle and often interfere with one’s ability to perform everyday activities and fully enjoy one’s life. Common depression symptoms include:
- Feelings of sadness and/or hopelessness
- Loss of interest in work, school, and/or other everyday activities
- Difficulty concentrating
- Digestive problems
- Suicidal thoughts
People often think of depression as an adult problem, not something that affects children, but children, especially adolescents may commonly suffer from depression. The condition interferes with their ability to perform well in school and develop and maintain relationships, and can have lasting repercussions, especially if it goes unnoticed. What’s more, in children and adolescents, depression is often accompanied by behavioral problems, substance abuse, and/or other mental disorders. Unfortunately, in children and adolescents, depression can manifest differently than it does in adults, so parents are not always able to recognize the problem.
There are many factors which can cause a person to struggle with depression, including:
- Genetics: Research indicates that individuals with a family history of depression are more prone than others to depression symptoms.
- Environment: Ongoing exposure to violence, abuse, and other environmental factors may make a person more vulnerable to depression.
- Biochemistry: Changes in certain chemicals in the brain sometimes contribute to depression symptoms.
- Medical Conditions: Insomnia, chronic pain, and other medical conditions may increase an individual’s risk of depression.
There is a series of questions to analyze a patient’s activity level, sleep pattern, and thoughts; and since depression is sometimes linked to physical health issues, a physical exam and blood tests are part of a depression evaluation. At Prestige Mental Health, obtaining objective and subjective data will enable the clinician and patient to work together to find the appropriate treatment for their depression, providing them with depression relief, and an opportunity to improve their life.
THERAPIES FOR DEPRESSION TREATMENT
Common depression treatments include:
- Medications: Medication treatment for depression involves the use of antidepressant, anti-anxiety, or antipsychotic medications to manage depression symptoms.
- Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy for depression involves meeting with a mental health counselor to discuss depression symptoms and how to cope with them.
- Light Therapy: Exposure to doses of full-spectrum white light has been shown to help some depression patients improve their mood; light therapy is sometimes used to treat seasonal affective disorder, a form of depression related to changes in seasons.
- Exercise: An exercise regimen helps increase the body’s production of endorphins to improve a person’s mood and reduce his or her depression symptoms.