Being sad is a normal and healthy response to certain difficult situations. Even the occasional low mood can be a part of the richness of life. Sadness can even help one persevere through a difficult situation where happiness may lead to distraction. However, when sadness no longer has an identifiable source and is keeping you from doing the things you need and love to do, it’s time to start considering the possibility of depression.
What is Depression?
According to the American Psychiatric Association, “Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed.” It can lead to many different physical and emotional problems and reduce your function at home and work.
What Causes Depression?
No one knows for sure what causes depression, but like other mental health issues, it’s likely a combination of different factors, including:
- Irregularities in brain chemical levels can trigger depression.
- If you have a blood relative with depression, there’s a greater risk you’ll become depressed.
- Stress, losing a loved one, trauma, and little or no support can lead to depression.
- Certain medical conditions, like cancer, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease.
- Medicine, drugs, and alcohol.
- Your personality.
Know the Symptoms
You can often manage symptoms of depression with psychotherapy or medicine like ketamine. Symptoms may include:
- Continual sadness or low moods
- Hopelessness or irritability
- Lack of interest in something you used to enjoy doing
- Low energy
- Slow bodily movements or speech
- You’re fidgety
- Problems with cognitive processes
- Sleep problems
- Eating or weight fluctuations
- Suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts
Types of Depression
People with depression have experienced one or more depressive episodes with five-plus symptoms over two weeks. For some people, this is recurring, meaning they may get episodes monthly, yearly, or many times during their lives. Specific kinds of depression include:
- Persistent depressive disorder. This kind of depression presents a low mood that has persisted for more than a year but may not get as bad as major depression. If you have this kind of depression, you can function daily but feel low or miserable most of the time.
- Postpartum depression in women is characterized by sadness, indifference, anxiety, and exhaustion following the birth of a baby. It happens to one in every nine women who give birth.
- People with bipolar disorder have episodes of depression and remarkably high energy or activity. Symptoms appear to be the opposite of depression: complex ideas, abnormally high self-esteem, less need for sleep, thinking and doing things quickly, overspending, and other risky behavior. Being manic may feel terrific, but it’s short-lived and can result in self-destructive behavior, then depression.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder normally begins late fall to early winter and goes away as hourly daylight increases. It can happen during the summer but is more common during colder months with less daylight.
- Perinatal depression includes major and minor depressive incidents during pregnancy or the first year after delivery. It affects up to one in seven women after childbirth, sometimes harmful to mothers, infants, and families.
- Depression is a disease of the brain.
- Some people may get over depression on their own, but others require treatment.
- “Depression can develop in any age group, ethnic group, economic group, and gender.”
- Depression is a disease, not a character flaw.
- It affects more than 17 million U.S. adults and nearly two million children, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Diagnosing depression follows a predictable pattern. First, you’ll likely schedule a visit with a medical professional for a physical examination. Even though blood tests or lab work can’t diagnose mental illness, they may help uncover another condition contributing to its symptoms. You may then be referred to a mental health specialist for a psychiatric evaluation with the same goals – to discover the source of your condition. Your symptoms will then be compared to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders criteria before the final diagnosis.
Treating depression may involve psychotherapy, antidepressants, and ketamine therapy to reduce symptoms.
If you suffer from any type of mood disorder, you’ll benefit from educating yourself about the condition. Seek medical care. No one needs to bear the burden of illness alone. A medical professional or mental health specialist may recommend psychotherapy, antidepressants, ketamine, or a combination of therapy and medicine to reduce depression symptoms, but depression doesn’t have to rule your life. SoCal Infusions has helped many people just like you. With the assistance of our dedicated physicians and anesthesiologists, you can find relief from your symptoms and get your sense of normalcy back. Contact us today to learn more about our innovative treatments that may help you find relief.