Treatment for Depression in Adults: Learn About Depression
Anyone can experience depression. More than half of people who had a depressive episode will have at least one other episode later in life. These episodes can last for some time and decrease a person’s quality of life and ability to maintain jobs, income, and even relationships.
What Is Depression?
Depression is a serious medical illness affecting one in every 15 American adults yearly. In 2020, over 17 million American adults were experiencing some form of depression.
This often debilitating disorder affects an individual’s physical and mental wellness, distorting their thoughts, behavior, and mood, usually with a feeling of sadness. Major Depression, also known as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), includes additional, more severe symptoms.
Currently, mental health professionals do not know the exact cause of depression. The leading scientific theory suggests that decreased emotional and motivational regulation in the brain causes depression. This regulation decrease happens when too few neurotransmitter hormones, like dopamine and serotonin, exist in the blood.
These neurotransmitters function as chemical messengers that send signals between brain cells. Without enough of them, the body does not feel the appropriate amount of stimulation. Studies have found increasing the levels of these neurotransmitters in the brain can reactivate these neural networks or create new ones.
Keep in mind that this is only one theory. Some research also suggests:
- Genetic vulnerability
- Stressful life events
- Medical problems
- A combination of several depression triggers
What Are the Symptoms of Depression?
The most common symptoms of depression in adults include:
- Constant low mood
- Loss of interest in activities that are normally pleasurable
- Loss of energy
- Slowed movements
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in sleep patterns
Major Depression often includes more severe symptoms, such as:
- Chronic fatigue
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Feeling hopeless or helpless
- Difficulty thinking
- Problems concentrating
- Social isolation
- Thoughts of suicide
These symptoms differ per person. For example, someone may have insomnia, or a lack of sleep, while another experiences hypersomnia, or excessive sleep.
If you experience these symptoms for two weeks or more, you may have depression. However, be sure to rule out other potential causes. For example, a recent injury could temporarily cause a low mood or loss of energy.
Nutrient deficiencies also affect a person’s energy levels, sleep, and hunger. There is some truth in the belief that an improved diet and exercise can lift your mood. That said, it cannot fuly replace treatment for depression.
How Is Depression Treated?
Depression treatment varies depending on the kind of professional help you seek. For example, a psychiatrist can prescribe medication while a social worker cannot.
Psychiatrists most often treat depressive disorders with antidepressant medications. Studies have shown that antidepressants can increase neurotransmitter levels in some users and help tremendously with their symptoms.
A psychologist or social worker may use different therapeutic methods, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Other kinds of psychotherapy include:
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy
- Psychodynamic Therapy
- Interpersonal Therapy
- Cognitive Behaviroal Therapy
- Group Therapy
Research shows that combined treatment with therapy and medication management helps alleviate depression symptoms more than each method alone.
Know that it is not your fault if you feel depressed. Regardless of whether your symptoms are temporary or chronic, several circumstances outside your control likely combined into this ailment. Acknowledging that something is wrong and seeking help takes a lot of courage.
If you are interested in becoming a new patient and want to be evaluated and treated for a depressive disorder, please complete a New Patient Intake Form and our staff will review your submission and assist you with making a new patient appointment. You can also call us at (985) 249-1322.