Depression Treatment Center in Southlake TX
Depression (sometimes called “major depressive disorder” or “clinical depression”) is a disorder of the brain which affects mood; the symptoms are severe, and can affect how a person thinks, feels, and handles their daily activities. There is no single definition, as sometimes depression can develop and manifest under unique biological conditions (like post-partum depression, season affective disorder, and others), but there are some over-arching points mental health professionals look at to make a diagnosis.
What are some common signs and symptoms of Depression?
The symptoms of depression stem from natural biological, physiological, and behavioral processes and patterns that occur for every individual, including neuro-typical persons without this disorder. The difference is that people with depression experience these symptoms at levels far beyond the normally accepted levels in everyday life. A person with depression will experience symptoms that are more severe and occur more frequently; the symptoms will last longer than any neurotypical bout of “feeling blue”; and these symptoms will also interfere with and reduce the quality of the person’s functions socially, at school, or in their career. For a person to be diagnosed with any of the clinical depressive disorders, their symptoms must have been present nearly every day, for most of the day, for the preceding two weeks. These symptoms can include:
- Irritability – This can include “lashing out” at family and friends, or just a general “foul” mood or outlook.
- Feeling restless – While this symptom seems counterintuitive, this symptom can indicate an inability to focus or a loss of interest in normal activities.
- Appetite and/or weight changes – Either an increase or decrease in appetite or weight can indicate a chemical imbalance that could be associated with clinical depression.
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism – These feelings will be more all-encompassing and weighty than the feelings one could get from watching or reading about the (terrible) state of our world. These feelings could deal with the person’s employment, relationships, even the state of their house or chores; the defining factor for a diagnosis of depression is, again, duration, severity, and impact on life.
- Decreased energy, fatigue, and loss of interest in hobbies and favorite activities – This symptom is one of the most telling for a diagnosis of depression; a loss of interest in something that was formerly pleasing and enjoyable is not a normal state of affairs, and can be indicative of an underlying mental health issue.
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions – An inability to feel engaged in life and activities may contribute to this symptom, as well as the restless feelings previously discussed.
- Aches, pains, cramps, or digestive problems with no clear physical cause and that are not alleviated with treatment – While these symptoms are obviously physical, they may indicate clinical depression if found in conjunction with other symptoms from this list.
- Thoughts of death or suicide, even suicide attempts – One of the most obvious alerts to even untrained individuals is when a person begins to contemplate ending their own life. If you speak with someone who indicates they may be considering such an action, encourage them to contact a mental health professional, or even the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. This organization even has an online chat option, for people who are anxious about speaking over the phone.
How is it determined that someone has Depression?
Official diagnosis of depression, or any other mental health condition, can only occur after a comprehensive evaluation; this evaluation must be performed by a licensed clinician. A pediatrician, physician, psychologist, or psychiatrist with expertise in diagnosing and treating depression is preferred. Generally, the symptoms the person has been experiencing must be reported as
- Impairing the individual’s functioning
- Causing the person to fall behind normal development levels or stages
Many persons with depression are diagnosed in their adolescent and adult years. While the symptoms can often be seen by untrained laypeople as “feeling blue” and “feeling down,” only a professional with experience diagnosing and treating depression can find the defining factors that make the difference. If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be showing symptoms of depression, contact a certified mental health professional today; it is important to refrain from self-diagnosis as much as possible, as the nuances of diagnosis are often very subtle and require careful attention to detail.
How is depression being handled and treated in today’s society?
While there is a no cure available for depression, there are treatments available to help reduce the impact of symptoms in everyday life and improve a person’s functioning. One of the most-prescribed options is medication-based treatments. There are drugs called antidepressants that are considered safe when taken under medical supervision. There are always risks when using a prescription regimen; it is important to follow all of your prescriber’s recommendations and orders to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Some people also successfully treat their depression with herbal supplements; St. John’s Wort, in particular, is a popular herbal solution that is tossed around at the mere mention of depression. While it is rapidly becoming a top-seller on nutrition-store shelves, there are concerns about is safety and effectiveness. Never begin an herbal supplement regimen without discussing your intentions with your healthcare provider, and in the case of St. John’s Wort, never combine a treatment with that herb with a prescription or other antidepressant.
There is also the option of psychotherapy, which involves visiting with and speaking to a therapist to modify behaviors and learn to function in everyday life with or without the use of additional medication therapies. Behavioral therapy is a specific branch of psychotherapy that aims to help a client change their behaviors and apply coping mechanisms to their life. Another option, especially for adults with depression, may be cognitive-behavioral therapies. For more information on some of the common psychotherapy options available today, view the National Institute of Mental Health’s information page.
Where there is not a single pathway for individuals with depression to take to better their life and improve their functioning, there are options available. Mental health disorders like depression are highly individualized; everyone is different, and it may take some trial and error before the best treatment for a person with depression is found. With the help of doctors and therapists, individuals with depression are able to live full lives and find their place in a modern world.
For more information on DEPRESSION symptoms and general treatment options, view the National Institute of Mental Health’s website. If you or a loved one needs more targeted mental health treatment, contact Prime Behavioral Health today for a consultation.