It’s been said that depression is the common cold of mental health disease. Though not unusual, this chronic mental disorder is a serious, real disease. Symptoms can be life threatening. The good news is that depression is quite treatable, often through medication or psychotherapy or a combination of both.
Depression impairs a person’s ability to enjoy life and affects how he or she feels, thinks and goes about their daily life. It impacts a person’s patterns of sleeping, eating and handling decision-making.
It’s often difficult to pin down the causes of depression. Brain chemistry certainly plays a major role, as do genes, biology, environment, stressful life events and psychological factors. Often, many of these issues interact to cause depression.
Diagnosis is not always easy, since a person may also be experiencing other conditions such as anxiety disorders, including panic agoraphobia syndrome, severe phobias, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Depression affects women more often than men, and can be devastating in teens, putting them at higher rates of suicide. Women tend to suffer symptoms of worthlessness, guilt and sadness while men tend towards tiredness, loss of pleasure in once pleasurable activities, irritability and sleeping difficulties. Depressed teens can be sulky, negative, irritable, feel misunderstood and often get into trouble.
If symptoms persist for longer than two weeks, the person is diagnosed has having a depressive disorder.
There are several antidepressants available. Often, it takes more than one try to find the medication and dosage that is right for you. Generally, it takes up to two weeks for the medication to take effect, so be patient. Also, continue to take the medication even if you start to feel better. Never abruptly stop taking the medication. Always use a doctor’s guidance in getting off these medications.
Those who are younger than 25 years should be watched carefully, as depression and suicidal thoughts may increase.
Be careful taking St. John’s wort. Not only does the FDA not approve it, but there are serious concerns about its safety. Never take St. John’s wort with antidepressants.
If you think you may be experiencing depression, come in to see us either before or after you see your medical professional to rule out physical causes. Call New Horizons at (337) 478-1411 and make an appointment with a licensed therapist. We can help you.