Depression

Depression

Depression, otherwise known as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest that can result in a multitude of physical and emotional problems, and decreased daily functioning.  It is a common and serious mental health condition affecting the way one thinks, feels, and behaves. It can affect people of all ages, including children. The following are some common experiences of depression:

✅ sadness                                             ✅ trouble sleeping or sleeping too much 
✅ negative/intrusive thoughts         ✅ changes in appetite 
✅ suicidal thoughts                             ✅ guilt and shame 
✅ self harm                                           ✅ difficulty making decisions
✅ isolating                                             ✅ loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
✅ tiredness                                           ✅ inability to get out of bed 

✅ sadness
✅ trouble sleeping or sleeping too much 
✅ negative/intrusive thoughts
✅ changes in appetite 
✅ suicidal thoughts
✅ guilt and shame 
✅ self harm    
✅ difficulty making decisions
✅ isolating  
✅ loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
✅ tiredness
✅ inability to get out of bed 

Causes of Depression

While depression is a common condition, it is very complex and can occur for a multitude of reasons. No one can know exactly what causes depression in an individual but there are some factors that can play a role. Here are a few factors that make individuals more susceptible to depression:

💡  age
💡  major life events 
💡  gender
💡  trauma
💡  genetics  
💡  serious illness
💡  family history
💡  substance abuse

Misconceptions About Depression

Depression is one of the most commonly misdiagnosed mental health conditions. Therefore misconceptions surrounding depression are very common. Society and media play a big role in creating depression related stigma. Having violent, inaccurate, or negative depictions of people with depression in films and television shows can seriously impact the way these people are treated by others. It is important to note that negative stigmas can worsen symptoms and reduce the likelihood of people seeking treatment. Some misconception about depression include:

🚫 easy to control                        🚫  increase in psychiatric symptoms 
🚫  in your head                           🚫  difficulties with social relationships 
🚫  in one’s control                      🚫  increased difficulty at work 
🚫  a cry for help                          🚫  reduced likelihood of staying with treatment
🚫  attending seeking                 🚫  lower self-esteem
🚫  reduced hope 

🚫 easy to control
🚫  increase in psychiatric symptoms 
🚫  in your head
🚫  difficulties with social relationships 
🚫  in one’s control
🚫  increased difficulty at work 
🚫  a cry for help
🚫  reduced likelihood of staying with treatment
🚫  attending seeking
🚫  lower self-esteem
🚫  reduced hope 

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

It is important to note that symptoms of depression can vary based on your individual situation. The symptoms can vary from mild to severe and include the following:

🚩 feelings of sadness or depressed mood 
🚩  loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable 
🚩  changes in appetite that lead to weight loss or weight gain 
🚩  trouble sleeping or too much sleep 
🚩  loss of energy 
🚩  inability to sit still for periods of time
🚩  difficulty concentrating or making decisions 
🚩  suicidal thoughts or tendencies 
🚩  self harm

Diagnosing Depression

In order for a professional to properly diagnose Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) clinical depression, there is a symptom criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association. These symptoms can affect people of any age, including children. These symptoms are typically severe enough to cause noticeable problems in multiple aspects of life such as in relationships, work, school or social activities. They include:

⚠️ feelings of sadness, emptiness or hopelessness 
⚠️ angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters  
⚠️ fatigue 
⚠️ restlessness or anxiety 
⚠️ feelings of worthlessness or guilt 
⚠️ unexplainable physical pain such as headaches and body aches 
⚠️  suicidal thoughts or tendencies

Conditions Commonly Mistaken for Depression

There are a multitude of other conditions that have symptoms similar to depression, but are completely different. A misdiagnosis can be very dangerous and it is important to get an opinion from a professional you trust and feel has a good understanding of your symptoms and situation. 

✳️ sadness                               ✳️ vitamin D deficiency              ✳️ food intolerances
✳️ hyperthyroidism                ✳️ grief / loss                                 ✳️ caffeine withdrawal
✳️ hypercalcemia                  ✳️ diabetes                                    ✳️ dehydration
✳️ sleep disorder                    ✳️ bipolar disorder

✳️ sadness
✳️ vitamin D deficiency
✳️ food intolerances
✳️ hyperthyroidism
✳️ grief / loss
✳️ caffeine withdrawal
✳️ hypercalcemia
✳️ diabetes
✳️ dehydration
✳️ sleep disorder
✳️ bipolar disorder

Treating Depression

Depression is considered to be one of the most treatable mental disorders. Almost all patients who seek treatment gain relief from symptoms they experience. Some of the most common treatment methods for depression include:

🧬 medications                                   🧬 developing coping mechanisms or hobbies
🧬 psychotherapy                              🧬 support group therapy 
🧬 electroconvulsive therapy         🧬 family therapy 
🧬 regular sleep schedule               🧬 releasing endorphins 
🧬 engaging in a routine with daily hobbies that help ones mood 
🧬 psychedelics tend to help as well, although more research is needed for this treatment method

🧬 medications
🧬 developing coping mechanisms or hobbies
🧬 psychotherapy
🧬 support group therapy 
🧬 electroconvulsive therapy
🧬 family therapy 
🧬 regular sleep schedule
🧬 releasing endorphins 
🧬 engaging in a routine with daily hobbies that help ones mood 
🧬 psychedelics tend to help as well, although more research is needed for this treatment method

Healthcare Professionals Who Treat Depression

For the best results in a successful treatment of depression, seek providers that have specialities in the assessment, treatment, diagnosis, and continuing support of patients diagnosed with depression. 

Many medical and mental health providers are familiar with the diagnosis of depression.  However if your chosen provider is not, they should always provide a knowledgeable referral source. Specialized providers will have the capabilities to diagnose using various testing methods to decrease the likelihood of misdiagnoses and unnecessary treatments. 

If you choose to utilize medication, psychotherapy should always be incorporated in treatment planning. 

The following are professionals involved in the treatment of depression:

🧠 physicians                             🧠 social workers
🧠 psychiatrists                         🧠 pediatricians
🧠 psychologists                       🧠 nurse practitioners

🧠 physicians
🧠 social workers
🧠 psychiatrists
🧠 pediatricians
🧠 psychologists
🧠 nurse practitioners

Recognizing Immediate Need for Depression Treatment

Depression is a common but serious disorder that ranges widely in severity. For those who experience severe depression- suicide is a real threat. The following warning signs should alert you to the immediate need for treatment:

🚨 talking about wanting to die
🚨 searching for way to kill yourself
🚨 buying a gun or other weapon
🚨 expressing hopelessness or having no reason to live
🚨 talking about feeling stuck, trapped, or being in unbearable pain
🚨 stating feeling like being a burden to others
🚨 increased use of drugs and/or alcohol
🚨 reckless behavior
🚨 increased anxiousness
🚨 change in sleeping pattern
🚨 withdrawn or isolated
🚨 displaying rage 
🚨 talking about revenge
🚨 extreme mood swings

Depression Professional Organizations

Provided are some resources to help the start of seeking support for depression. Though these are national links, consider narrowing options down by searching in your current location. 

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/expert-answers/clinical-depression/faq-20057770
https://www.verywellmind.com/i-think-im-depressed-now-what-1066902
https://dbhids.org/about/organization/office-of-mental-health/behavioral-health-crisis-intervention-services/24-hour-mental-health-delegate-line-215-685-6440/