It is estimated that as many as 19 million Americans suffer from depression and if you yourself don’t have direct experience of it yourself then you almost certainly know somebody who does. Depression can affect anyone at any age and there is still a lot of misunderstanding about the nature of the illness, as well as the various treatment options that are available. Knowing what to do when faced with depression makes the struggle a lot easier, especially because the nature of the condition itself often makes sufferers less likely to seek out help and support.
What Is Depression?
We all experience certain periods of our life when our mood is generally lower. This is not the same as depression. Depression can manifest in different ways and while a low mood is a component there are a number of other considerations, such as whether the low mood is justified and explainable by other events that might be occurring in an individual’s life. Other common symptoms of depression include;
- A lack of motivation.
- A lack of enjoyment in activities one usually enjoys.
- Significant fluctuations in weight.
- Bouts of insomnia and excessive sleeping.
- Feeling restless and irritable more often.
- Feeling fatigued.
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt.
- Thoughts of self-harm and suicide.
There are two broad forms of treatment for depression: psychological therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, and pharmaceuticals.
There are a number of different options when it comes to therapy. There are different disciplines, such as CBT and psychotherapy, each of which takes a different approach to the problem and have subtly different ways of going about approaching the task of recalibrating the patient’s attitude to the world, which is at the core of most cases of depression. There are also both group and individual therapy sessions available; which one is right for you will depend entirely on your individual preferences and circumstances, but you should try and approach either option with an open mind. Look online for more information about treatment options near you, if you’re looking for depression treatment Los Angeles then consider Smart Brain and Health.
There are also a number of different pharmaceutical options available and most doctors will recommend a treatment program that combines both the psychological and the pharmaceutical options for maximum effectiveness. Antidepressants work by altering the levels of certain chemicals called ‘neurotransmitters’ in the brain. While we are still learning exactly how all these different substances work together to influence our moods, we have established from a number of trials over the last several decades that by altering the levels of these chemicals we can lift the moods of previously depressed patients and, in some cases, alleviate their symptoms entirely.
Being faced with depression can seem scary. Fortunately, we now have a very good understanding of what the illness is and how to best treat it. Both the psychological interventions and the pharmaceuticals that we have developed to help fight depression have been refined over a number of years and so sufferers now have a better chance than ever of finding a treatment option that works for them.