Depression

Clinically Reviewed by: Dr. Robin Campbell, LMFT, PHD

Globally, depression affects approximately 5% of the population, with at least one in six Americans encountering this condition at some point in their lives. If this sounds like you or a loved one, at New Hope Healthcare Institute we provide compressive support through spreading awareness and our comprehensive services. We believe that to manage depression properly, understanding its effects is a game-changer.

What is Depression?

Depression is a persistent feeling of sadness or demotivation. Persistent and long-lasting are important phases in defining this condition. While sadness is short-lived, depression is anything but short.

Depression disrupts the normal functioning of an individual. If depression is left untreated, symptoms will get worse over time. In worst-case scenarios, it can lead to suicide or self-harm.

The Impact of Depression on Daily Life

Depression can significantly impair a person’s ability to function in daily life. Simple tasks may feel overwhelming, and the individual may struggle to find joy or motivation in activities they once enjoyed. Relationships may suffer as the person withdraws or becomes irritable. Additionally, physical symptoms such as fatigue, changes in appetite or sleep patterns, and unexplained aches and pains may further compound the challenges of managing depression. It’s crucial for individuals experiencing these symptoms to seek support and professional help to effectively cope with and overcome depression.

Is Depression a Disability?

If your mental illness significantly and negatively affects your ability to perform everyday activities over a long period, you’re likely protected under disability discrimination law. This protection extends to individuals who previously had a disability. The determination of disability hinges on the impact of the condition on your life. For instance, mild depression with minimal effects might not be covered, but severe depression significantly impairing daily functioning likely qualifies.

Many individuals with mental health conditions may not identify as having a ‘disability,’ yet they may still be entitled to rights under disability discrimination law. Various mental health conditions, including depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia, can lead to disability status.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, depression is recognized as a psychiatric disability. Consequently, if depression impedes your ability to work, you may be eligible for financial assistance, such as Medicaid and supplemental security income.

Common Causes of Depression

  • Significant Life Events: Experiencing traumatic incidents, job loss, or severe emotional setbacks can trigger depression. Stress is also a common precursor to depression.
  • Brain Chemistry Imbalances: Irregularities in brain chemical levels can contribute to depression.
  • Early-Life Trauma: A childhood marred by abuse or numerous traumatic experiences can predispose individuals to depression later in life.
  • Coexisting Medical Conditions: Other physical or mental health issues can be catalysts for depression.
  • Medication Side Effects: Some medications may have adverse effects that lead to depression.
  • Family History: A family history of depression increases the likelihood of experiencing the condition.
  • Substance Abuse: The use of illicit drugs or substances can exacerbate or trigger depression.

Different Types of Depression

Psychotic Depression

Characterized by severe depressive symptoms, individuals with psychotic depression may also experience delusions and hallucinations, often believing these false perceptions to be real.

Bipolar Depression

Those with bipolar depression undergo extreme mood fluctuations, alternating between manic episodes marked by heightened happiness, talkativeness, and energy, and low-energy periods characterized by profound sadness, withdrawal, and hopelessness.

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

Individuals afflicted by MDD endure intense depressive symptoms persisting for at least 2-3 weeks, significantly disrupting their daily lives.

Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)

This is a less intense version of MDD. However, symptoms can last for years. Dysthymia is another name for PDD.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

This type of depression usually starts around the fall and stays throughout winter. By spring, depressive symptoms go away. Light therapy will prove useful if you suffer from this type of depression.

Post-Partum Depression

Occurring after childbirth, postpartum depression can endure for up to a year, with perinatal depression affecting individuals before the baby’s birth. Symptoms include sadness, excessive worry, and anxiety, surpassing typical mood fluctuations associated with childbirth.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Depression (PMDD)

PMDD entails an intense form of premenstrual syndrome, with affected individuals experiencing symptoms like irritability, paranoia, and fatigue, among others. These symptoms may persist until menopause.

Difference Between Situational and Clinical Depression

Situational depression arises following a traumatic event and is typically short-lived. Causes may include divorce, a serious accident, the loss of a loved one, ext.

Clinical depression is more severe and constitutes a persistent medical condition. Traumatic events are only one potential cause; an imbalance of brain chemical levels and other medical conditions can also contribute.

While situational depression tends to resolve with time, clinical depression can exacerbate and may result in suicidal thoughts or actions.

Recognizing the Symptoms of Depression

  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness
  • Irritable and intense frustration
  • Insomnia
  • Little or no appetite
  • Low libido
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Difficulties concentrating
  • Physical issues such as head or stomach aches.
  • Restlessness
  • Suicidal thoughts or self-harm
  • Prolonged sadness

Depression in Children

At least 3% of children in America are depressed. It can be harder to diagnose depression in children because they are usually less expressive. Depressed kids might find it difficult to perform well in school or form friendships.

Common symptoms include:

  • Rebellious behavior
  • Prolonged sadness
  • Consistently crying
  • Clinginess
  • Isolation

Depression in Women

Women are more likely to have depression than males. Some symptoms more common in women include

  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Obsessive thoughts
  • Postpartum and perinatal depression
  • Premenstrual dysphoric depression.

How is Depression Diagnosed?

To make a diagnosis of depression, your healthcare provider may ask you questions about your symptoms. They might conduct a series of physical examinations to rule out any other conditions. A blood test might also be required.

You can also expect to fill out the following questionnaires.

  • The Beck Depression Questionnaire: This helps your doctor understand your symptoms better
  • The Hamilton Depression Rating Questionnaire: This measures the severity of depression.

Treatment Options for Depression

Medications

Antidepressants are one of the common ways of treating depression. Depending on the specific case, your mental health expert might recommend one of the following.

  • Atypical antidepressants
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors
  • Selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors

The prescription of your doctor should be strictly followed. Not completing the dosage can lead to a relapse. Some of these medications can have mild to moderate side effects. This includes weight loss, constipation, rash, low blood sugar, and diarrhea.

Psychotherapy

Talking therapies and counseling can be used to help people suffering from depression. New Hope Healthcare is a perfect place to start. They have experts who truly understand what it means to be depressed. 

Some of the therapies they offer include

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Holistic therapy
  • Mindfulness
  • Family therapy
  • Individual therapy

Natural Remedies

Herbs and other alternative medicines can be used to treat depression. However, keep in mind that these medicines are not recommended or approved by FDA. 

It is your responsibility to make sure they are safe and effective. Some popular herbs used include lavender, ginseng, and chamomile. 

Other Treatment Options

Supplements such as 5-hydroxytryptophan help to improve serotonin in the body. People also benefit from improving their diet. Adding fruits and olive oil can reduce some symptoms. A good workout can also help. Exercising releases endorphins. This can lift your mood.

Is Depression Curable?

Depression does not have a definitive cure, but it is often manageable with appropriate treatment. Prompt initiation of treatment is crucial for effectively addressing the condition. While there is no guaranteed cure, various therapeutic interventions and medications can significantly alleviate symptoms and improve overall well-being. Additionally, lifestyle changes, social support, and consistent self-care practices play essential roles in managing depression effectively

Call New Hope Healthcare Today!

If you or your loved one is experiencing any symptoms of depression, know that with treatment, many of your symptoms can be addressed and you can live a happy life. At New Hope Healthcare we offer a comprehensive approach to treatment that includes dual diagnosis, individualized treatment plan, clinical supervision as well as holistic therapy. Call us at 866-806-1027 to ask how we can help!

 
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