You may hear the word ‘depression’ spoken about in your daily interactions. There is a habit to describe intense feelings of sadness or low motivation as depression. However, this is not quite accurate. Depression is more complex than this and is a serious and common mental disorder that can be supported and managed.
If you feel that you may be experiencing depression, it might seem easier to try push the feelings away and not take them seriously, because it is ‘just depression’. This thought pattern usually leads to worsening of the disorder. Seeking out help can be one of the bravest steps you take, and will be you investing in yourself for a better quality of life.
What Is Depression?
Depression, or Major Depressive Disorder, is a mental condition involving loss of interest in life, enjoyable activities, and an overwhelming feeling of sadness and low mood. This experience affects you in all the areas of your life. Including home life, work or school, social interactions, relationships, etc.
If you are experiencing a variety of these symptoms for a period of two weeks or longer then you may be experiencing Major Depressive Disorder.
What Are The Different Types Of Anxiety Disorder?
If you are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder you may be given a specific name or type of disorder. This classification is used to clarify the cause or root of the anxiety that you experience. This is helpful to know as it assists with creating an intervention plan.
Here are some types of anxiety disorders:
Depression is a real experience that has real consequences and implications on one’s life. It is a mental health condition that should be taken seriously and not ignored because of social pressures or stigma.
What Are The Different Causes Of Depression?
Depression, or Major Depressive Disorder, can be caused by a variety of different elements, which makes it difficult to predict who will experience it and at what point in their life it would manifest. This can mean that the initial symptoms of depression are dismissed as feelings of stress or sadness.
Understanding possible causes or circumstances that may increase the likelihood of developing depression are:
Depression has a genetic predisposition. This means that if someone in your immediate family has depression there is an increased possibility of you developing it.
The way a person conceptualizes the world and sees themselves can influence the chances of developing depression. If a person has a negative view of the world and low self-esteem, they usually have low resilience (the ability to overcome challenges). This combination can increase the chances of developing depression.
The situations we find ourselves in impact our mental health. Traumatic experiences, continued exposure to negative circumstances, abuse, life changing events, and prolonged exposure to stress can lead to the development of depression.
Depression may have a sudden onset after a triggering event such as a traumatic experience, it can also develop more slowly due to prolonged exposure to hostile environments and a predisposition toward depression.
How Is Depression Diagnosed?
When you seek medical attention for depression your practitioner will help you explore your feelings and experiences. They will gather a medical history from you and use this information to come to a diagnosis.
This diagnosis is made according the criteria set out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual V TR. Some of these criteria are based on the symptomology or experiences you are having, some based on the length of time you have been experiencing the symptoms for.
Your practitioner will also rule out the possibility of your symptoms being related to another medical condition, related to medications you are taking, or related to the use of other substances.
Once this analysis has been complete, your practitioner will be able to explain to you what your diagnosis entails. If you have questions, be sure to use this opportunity to share them and gain the answers that you require.
How Is Depression Treated?
Depression is treated in a variety of manners, often depending on your specific situation. The treatment interventions should be decided upon in discussion with your medical practitioner.
Treatment may include psychopharmacological therapy. This involves the use of different medications. These medications are often referred to as ‘anti-depressants’. It is important to work with your medical practitioner when using these medications to find the one that works for you. Medications have side effects and you will need to be able to communicate any side effects with your medical practitioner. You may also need to be patient and allow 4 to 8 weeks to ellapse to fully determine if the medication is benefitting you or not. Finding the right medication may take a few attempts, however, a medical practitioner will support you through each step.
Treatment could be the implementation of a psychotherapeutic intervention. This often involves regular consultations with a mental health professional for therapy. Usually this takes the form of talk therapy. There are a variety of therapeutic approaches that you can choose from, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, Internal Family Systems Therapy. Each approach will support you through your management of depression. You could ask your medical professional to recommend a mental health professional in your area. Psychotherapy will work with your behaviors, emotions, and thoughts to develop self-awareness, acceptance, and develop healthy coping strategies that will help you regain your functioning ability. You can decide with your mental health practitioner on the length of your intervention and your goals. Psychotherapy and psychopharmacological therapy may be used in combination.
Struggling with feelings of depression can be difficult and make you feel isolated from the world. At Insightful Psychiatry, we want to work with you to support you through this difficult time.
Depression is a treatable medical condition, reach out to book your appointment to start regaining control of your experience.
Book a telehealth consultation with Insightful Psychiatry and let us help you on this journey.