What is Depression?
Depression is a mood disorder that can cause sadness, loss of interest in activities, or even anxiety that interfere with your daily life or keeps you from engaging in activities you’ve previously enjoyed. You may also think or act differently than you have in the past.
Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States.
According to estimates from the American Psychiatric Association, one in every six individuals will experience depression during their lifetimes and one in 15 people report feelings of depression during any given year. While depression is a common condition, it can be very serious if left unaddressed.
Most people feel sadness or loneliness at some point throughout their life, but when those feelings of sadness or worthlessness are persistent for days or weeks at a time or keep you from engaging with friends and family, it’s time to seek help.
People who are depressed may not know about all the available types of help for the most common depressive conditions.
There are several types of depression that help your provider understand and treat your depression, including Persistent Depressive Disorder, Perinatal and Postpartum Depression, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, Psychotic Depression and Major Depressive Disorder (also known as clinical depression).
While it may feel unsurmountable when you’re amid a depressive episode, there is hope. Depression can be treatable with therapy and medication management.
You are not alone.
Signs of Depression
There are many different signs and symptoms of depression. Some people report feeling extreme fatigue while others experience significant mood disruptions like uncontrolled anger. It’s not uncommon for symptoms of depression to vary in intensity or, if you’ve dealt with depression before, your symptoms can be different than the ones you experienced before.
Symptoms of Depression
In order to be diagnosed with depression, most people will exhibit at least five of the following symptoms:
- Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue
- Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., inability to sit still, pacing, handwringing) or fidgeting
- Slowed movements or speech severe enough to be observable by others
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
If you are currently experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide, it’s important to dial 988 to get immediate help from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
While not considered a diagnostic criterion, some people with depression may experience anxiety, changes in appetite, or irritability. There are also medical conditions that can play a role in depression, like thyroid disorders.
Depression can also cause physical symptoms in some people.
The Relationship Between Depression and Anxiety
Anxiety can be a symptom of depression or vice versa. When you consider the full range of symptoms of these mental health conditions, you can see how closely related they are. Anxiety and depression share many root causes — physical, emotional, and/or environmental.
At Elite DNA Behavioral Health, we take a holistic approach to developing your treatment plan. We consider everything such as your sleeping habits, lifestyle, and what your body and mind are experiencing. Our mental health professionals can address each of these areas with therapy, psychiatry services, or with medication and other non-invasive treatment options like Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy.
What Causes Depression?
The exact cause of depression is still unknown, but it is widely accepted that Depression can be caused by many different factors, including challenges in life that cause stress, changes in the brain, or genetics.
Many people experience depression following a traumatic life event. A sad or stressful event can trigger depression and grief. Transitions can be challenging and if you find yourself still struggling for weeks or months after the event, a professional can help you with tools and support to work through your feelings.
Some develop depression after the birth of a child.
Others may experience depression due to chemical or structural differences in the brain. Antidepressants may alleviate your symptoms.
Depression may run in families. While there appears to be a genetic component to depression, research in this area is ongoing. It’s not a foregone conclusion that if a parent or other close relative battles depression that you will but it’s wise to be aware of signs or symptoms so you can get help if you need it.
Since depression can be a symptom of a health condition, it’s important to work with a skilled team of providers who can assess you physically and mentally, so you get the correct diagnosis and proper care plan. If you have health-related depression, the first step in getting you help is to treat the condition causing the depression. That treatment may include medication together with therapeutic support.
How is Depression Treated?
The American Psychiatric Association reports that 80 – 90 percent of people with depression feel better after seeking treatment yet some people wait months or years before they get help.
Treatment for depression is available in the form of psychiatry, where your psychiatrist may recommend medication and lifestyle changes, and in psychotherapy, or “talk therapy.”
You may need therapy to provide a safe space to work through experiences or trauma that cause symptoms of depression.
It can take time to find the right options. The length of your treatment may vary. Regardless of the underlying cause of your depression, there are proven solutions that can help.
- Treatment options for depression include:
- Individual, group or family therapy
- Psychiatry Services and Medication Management
- Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy
- Lifestyle Modifications
Because treatment for depression is as unique as you are, treatments that work for one person may not be as effective for another. Your treatment plan may include talk therapy, support groups, or antidepressant medications. It’s important to work with a qualified mental health care provider to coordinate all aspects of your tailored care plan designed to fit your needs.
Telehealth Services for Depression
Dealing with depression can make it difficult to access in office mental health care. When you’re experiencing depression, it is normal to struggle with daily tasks.
Telehealth can be a more convenient option for patients who prefer to stay in the comfort of their own home for the duration of their appointment. In-person is also available for clients who feel an office visit will suit them best.
What can I expect from Telehealth at Elite DNA Behavioral Health?
You can expect the same level of professional psychiatric and psychotherapeutic care we provide in our locations throughout Florida, including medication management.
We offer a high-quality, stable, and clear connection through Zoom. By choosing a quiet, private place from which to conduct your side of the virtual session, you can be assured of confidentiality and an experience like that you’d have in the office. Whether your appointment is in- person, or virtual, our mental and behavioral health experts are here to support you.