Approximately 16 million adults in the U.S. (almost 7% of the population) had at least one episode of major depression in the past year. Although depression affects people of all ages, races, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds, it does tend to be more prevalent in women and young adults (ages 18-25).
Clinical depression is a serious medical concern that, if left untreated, can cause devastating effects on the sufferer and his or her family. Clinical depression is a state that endures for more than two weeks, impairs daily functioning and includes symptoms such as:
- Changes in sleep and/or appetite
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Lack of self-esteem
- Loss of interest in activities
- Difficulty concentrating and/or making decisions
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Suicidal thoughts or intentions
Depression can either be triggered by a life event or can occur spontaneously. Rather than being caused by a single factor, researchers believe there are several causes at play when it comes to depression. These include:
- Genetics: Depression can run in families (for example, if a parent or sibling has major depression, that person has a 2 or 3 times greater risk of developing depression).
- Brain Structure: Brain scans indicate differences in the brains of people with depression vs. those without it.
- Life Circumstances: Major changes like moving, loss of a job or relationship as well as continuous exposure to violence, neglect or abuse can make depression more likely.
- Medical Issues: People with sleep disturbances, chronic pain, anxiety and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder are more likely to have depression (for a person to be diagnosed with depression, medical conditions must be ruled out as the cause).
- Drug or Alcohol Abuse: Approximately half of people who experience mental illness will also have substance abuse issues (and vice versa).
If you think you might have depression, this brief self-screening tool can help determine if your symptoms indicate that professional help would be beneficial.
We’ve come a long way over the years in researching and practicing effective treatment interventions for depression. Symptoms of this disorder can be significantly reduced or eliminated with a tailored treatment plan that might include:
- Medications such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers or Spravato
- Brain stimulation such as electroconvulsive therapy or transcranial magnetic stimulation
- Light therapy, which is thought to affect brain chemicals that improve mood
- Alternative treatments like acupuncture, massage, exercise, meditation and yoga
In addition to seeking professional help, developing a strong support system can also be a critical component of recovery.
If you’re experiencing depression, Travco Behavioral Health can help. Contact us today!