Major Depressive Disorder, or simply depression, is not simply sadness or grief, it is a serious mental illness that requires treatment. Without treatment, symptoms can persist which can cause devastating effects to your life, family, and friends.
For some, depression may be a single episode, but for many people depression is recurrent. Without treatment, depression can persist for several months or years. A major concern for people with depression is that suicidal thoughts and even actions can occur.
Last year, approximately 16 million Americans had a depressive episode. That is nearly 7% of the population. Depression occurs in all ages, races, and genders. However, depression tends to occur more often in women and young adults.
Depression can be brought on by physical illnesses or some medications. It is important to speak with your doctor to rule out any underlying causes. Depression can also be brought on after a traumatic experience early in life. Genetics also play a role in depression, and research shows depression can run in families. However, just because you may have a genetic predisposition to depression does not mean you will necessarily develop depression. Drug and alcohol abuse can also contribute to depression.
Symptoms of depression include changes in sleep patterns. This can be sleeping too little or too much. Changes in appetite also occur; this could mean eating to little or not enough. Other symptoms including poor energy, low self-esteem, low concentration, physical aches and pains, and hopelessness.
Depression is treatable. Many people seek out psychiatrist to prescribe medication such as antidepressants. Psychotherapy is also common to help people with depression deal with the intense mood. Therapy for depression can take a variety of directions depending on your therapist, but some common interventions include learning about how depression affects you, learning to identify triggers of depressive episodes, learning to cope with symptoms.
If you have been previously diagnoses with depression, or think you might be suffering from depression, Cy-Hope Counseling has many counselors on staff prepared to help you navigate your illness.
Written by Kristina Zufall, M.Ed, LPC Intern