Depression is more than a case of the blues; it is a chronic illness that often requires long-term treatment. The National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that 14 million Americans suffer from some form of depression. However, many people with depression fail to seek help. According to NIMH, nearly half of all Americans diagnosed with major depression don’t receive the necessary treatment.
Inherited traits, age, gender and cultural background all play a role in how depression may affect you. For example, depression is more common in women than me
What to watch for
Depression affects each person in different ways, so symptoms may vary. Many people dismiss the symptoms of depression thinking they are simply experiencing a sad time. For some, symptoms are so severe that it becomes evident that something isn’t right.
Symptoms of depression
- Persistent feelings of sadness or unhappiness
- Irritability or frustration, even over small matters
- Feeling empty or worthless
- Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities
- Changes in appetite
- Sleeping more or less than usual
- Unexplained physical problems, such as headaches or chronic pain
- Thoughts of suicide
When to act
If you feel depressed or experience persistent symptoms of depression, call your doctor or mental health professional. When these feelings continue for long periods of time, they can keep you from leading a normal, active life. Depression is highly treatable. However, left untreated, symptoms of depression can worsen and last for years.
The nature of depression is not completely understood, but doctors know that it is linked to physical causes, often called chemical imbalances in the brain, and can be treated with medication like many other diseases.
Treatment can help
Treatment of depression can take a variety of forms. The use of psychotherapy and medications are both used frequently to help alleviate the symptoms of depression. During therapy, people with depression talk with a licensed and trained mental health care professional, who can help him/her identify and work through factors that may be causing their depression.
Depression is commonly treated with antidepressant medications that work to balance some of the natural chemicals in the brain that affects mood and emotional responses. While these medications only treat the symptoms of depression, many people benefit from them because they feel better and are able to function better in their daily lives.
We’re here to help
If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms of depression, please contact Peace Hospital for a no-charge assessment and assistance with treatment options.