What is Depression?

Depression is a mood disorder that can affect anyone of any age. There is no one cause of depression, but traumatic events, genetics, and family history may all play a role in its onset. Depression goes beyond just feeling sad. It is normal to feel down after losing a job, ending a relationship, or experiencing the loss of a loved one. Depression occurs when you cannot get past those feelings after extended amounts of time. The world may seem colorless. You may find yourself thinking degrading personal thoughts, or about ending your life. Many people believe they can overcome these feelings by themselves, but it is vital to know that you do not need to suffer alone. There are many proven treatment options available to return you to a vibrant life.

 

Symptoms

Depression’s symptoms vary by the individual, and depend on age, gender, or culture. It is important to remember that depression effects both the mind and the body. This means that symptoms can be both psychological and physical.

 

Psychological symptoms:

  • Decreased mood
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Loss of interest in formerly pleasurable activities
  • Feelings of hopelessness or guilt
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Homicidal thoughts

 

Physical symptoms:

  • Weight loss or gain
  • Lack of energy or restlessness
  • Slowed movements (observable by others)
  • Increases or decreases in sleep
  • Changes in appetite

 

Treatments

Depression can be treated using medication, therapy techniques, or a combination of both. Therapy, one of the most common depression treatments, allows you to voice your thoughts in a safe, non-judgmental place. It can be hard for some people to find the motivation to begin therapy; but taking the first step to schedule an appointment means the beginning of your journey to feeling better. There are a variety of therapy strategies, including cognitive behavioral therapy, and motivational interviewing.

 

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)is an evidence-based approach that identifies and changes unhelpful patterns of thinking or behaving. Instead of examining the past, CBT focuses on current life events to identify healthy coping strategies for the future. CBT is often completed over a relatively short period of time. However, the insights gained during those sessions provide life-long tools that can help prevent depression from relapsing.

 

Motivational interviewing (MI)honors a person’s autonomy and encourages them to reform negative behaviors. MI is very goal focused and relies upon the individuals desire for change. The therapist’s role is to provide insight into all aspects of the conflict, but ultimately allow the client to make their own decisions. This greatly empowers the individual, as it lets them know they have the intrinsic tools to facilitate changes that better their lives.

 

For some people, medication and therapy are not enough to cure depression. These cases, called resistant depression, can be treated via transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS. This procedure is non-invasive. It is carried out by activating strong magnetic fields around the areas of the brain involved in depression. There are very few side effects to TMS, which makes it ideal for many patients. TMS is often carried out multiple times a week, over several weeks. This, like every other depression treatment, is also dependent on the individual and their doctor.