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Anyone who has ever suffered through a bout of prolonged depression can attest to how depleted it makes you feel. In what seems like an instant, you feel so down that you can’t function. Even the most mundane tasks are so hard to complete.
The effects of the depression touch all aspects of life. Coworkers will complain that you are not pulling your weight. Loved ones will feel they are being neglected. Even your health will begin to suffer. Depression is a serious mental illness that should not be ignored.
Crawling out of the dark hole of depression takes effort. When in the thick of it you might not feel you can muster up the strength to beat it. But with expert psychiatric help, and lots of patience, daily functioning and quality of life will be restored.
What Causes Depression?
Why do some people manage to cycle through setbacks while others get stuck in depression? Life events, such as loss of a loved one, divorce, job loss, or financial problems can be so hard. Why are some people better able to cope with these?
Science is still unclear about the exact cause of major depression. Studies are ongoing, seeking answers through the study of the brain, gut health, and genetic markers. Still, depression is complex and hard to get a handle on.
There are some factors that can lead to depression. These include:
- Genetics. Family members who also have struggled with depression.
- Abuse. Past history of physical or sexual abuse.
- Trauma. Seeing or experiencing a highly traumatic event.
- Loss. Sudden loss of a loved one.
- Health problems. Some health issues can cause symptoms of depression.
- Medications. Certain drugs can cause depression.
- Substance abuse. Depression can co-occur with substance abuse.
The Symptoms of Depression
When you are not being able to function at even the routine daily tasks, you may indeed have depression. According to the DSM-5, depression exists when the symptoms (a cluster of five or more) persist for more than two weeks. The symptoms of depression include:
- Feeling sadness or despair most of the time.
- Extreme fatigue.
- Slowed thought functions and movements.
- Sleep problems.
- Sudden weight change.
- Loss of interest in things once enjoyed.
- Feelings of guilt or shame.
- Having trouble making decisions or staying focused.
- Thoughts of death or suicide.
How is Depression Treated?
The treatment plan for major depression includes both antidepressants and therapy. In recent years, holistic therapies have been also found to enhance the overall treatment outcomes.
Antidepressant Drug Therapy
Currently, there are about thirty antidepressant drugs on the market. These drugs are classified into four groups, including:
These drugs remain the core treatment method for depression. The effects of the medication may take 4-6 weeks to be felt. Sometimes doses need to be tweaked or other drugs trialed to find the best fit.
Antidepressants come with an array of side effects that make these drugs hard to prescribe. A doctor will weigh the benefits against the side effects when he or she decides to prescribe them. Common side effects include weight gain, sexual issues, nausea, dizziness, blurred vision, dry mouth, and insomnia.
Psychotherapy is part of the core treatment for depression. The type of therapy chosen is based on the type of issues that factor into the depression. Psychotherapy can be offered in one-on-one sessions as well as group sessions.
Some of the types of therapy include:
- CBT. CBT is a short-term therapy that assists patients in changing thoughts that hurt their mental health. They are taught to reshape them towards more positive thoughts while also changing behaviors.
- DBT. DBT helps patients manage emotions and better cope with stress. DBT also helps teach healthy interpersonal skills.
- Psychodynamic Therapy. Focuses on feelings and pain caused by past events, trauma, or childhood issues.
- Interpersonal Therapy. Focuses on relationships, social skills, and helps with problem areas that might be factors in depression.
- MBCT. Combines cognitive therapy with mindfulness to manage thoughts.
Holistic Therapies for Depression
There are some actions that can help a patient better manage their emotions and stress levels. When stress is controlled it can help to improve mood. Knowing how mind and body connect, mental health workers now include these in treatment. Some of these actions include:
- Keep a journal. Patients find relief when they unload their thoughts and feelings on to the written page. This helps reduce the power of the problem while also helping them to process their feelings.
- Mindfulness. This can help patients focus on the present moment instead of being distracted by negative thoughts.
- Acupuncture: This ancient practice has shown promise as a natural treatment for helping to reduce low mood. Tiny needles are placed at certain parts of the body to help balance energy flow.
- Aromatherapy. Certain essential oils can help boost mood. The essence of the oil is diffused into the air to be inhaled, or is rubbed onto certain points on the body.
- Yoga. The yoga postures combined with deep breathing can increase GABA and help patients find some relief from depression symptoms.
- Exercise. Regular cardio exercise is also a mood booster. This is because it can produce hormones that impact our state of mind. It can also help improve sleep quality and regulate stress, both of which will contribute to wellbeing.
- Diet. A diet rich in lean proteins, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and fresh veggies and fruits also helps our mood.
When you feel like you can’t function it is time to seek help. There are many ways to improve mood and thus improve your life. Seek the mental health help you need today.
Elevation Behavioral Health Provides Comprehensive Depression Treatment
Elevation Behavioral Health is a residential mental health program in L.A. If you are feeling so depressed that you can’t function, contact the team at Elevation. We are here to help you overcome depression and get your life back. Contact us today at (888) 561-0868.