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What is Depression?

What is Depression?

January 24th

From stress at work to pressures in school, personal life can often make us feel down or sad. Sometimes those feelings may last for an extended period of time, without a real understanding of how or why. This, however, doesn’t mean an individual has depression.

Depression, or depressive disorder, is a commonly misunderstood conception because it is a serious medical condition with various symptoms. It is a challenging disorder with intense and prolonged difficult periods that impact how you feel, think, and act.

There are many risk factors associated with depression, including genetics, chemical imbalances, environmental factors like trauma or abuse, physical illnesses, and medications.

Though depression can look different, these are the common symptoms to look for:

  • Feeling sad, anxious, or irritable
  • Loss of interest in activities that were previously enjoyed
  • Appetite changes
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, hopelessness or helplessness
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia) or sleeping too much
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Trouble concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions
  • Thoughts of hurting oneself

There are treatment options available to better manage these symptoms. This can include options such as psychotropic medication and individual or group therapy. Though everyone may have different symptoms, there are ways to ensure that each person is receiving the help they both need and deserve.

Depending on what the depression stems from, clinical treatment interventions can include cognitive behavior therapy, solution-focused therapy, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) or other types of counseling.  There are some other techniques such as art therapy and music therapy that can aid in the overall treatment of the individual. Both movement therapy and animal-assisted interactions have been proven to add positive benefits and results for those struggling with depression.  There are also various non-clinical interventions that a person can do on their own or with a group to improve symptoms of depression.  This can include journaling, mindfulness exercises, physical exercise, participating in a support group, eating healthy, getting enough restful sleep, connecting with loved ones, volunteering, spiritual practices, and overall self-care.

It is important to remember that these symptoms can look different in a variety of age groups. For example, younger individuals with depression may appear more irritable, and the symptoms may be mistaken for common teenage mood changes. If these symptoms continue for longer than two weeks, it is advised to speak to a healthcare provider.

Fortunately, with early detection, diagnosis, and a treatment plan that may include medication, psychotherapy, and healthy lifestyle choices, many people can and do get better. SMA Healthcare has plenty of services to help an individual who may be experiencing depression. Call 800-539-4228 to get help today!