Depression is a nightmare. Depression is one of the most prevalent mental illnesses, and mood disorders like depression are the leading cause of disability in the United States. With the number of different kinds of depression ranging from major depressive disorder to situational depression, this makes sense why so many people suffer from it. Luckily, depression is not something you just have to deal with. It is a treatable mental illness.
If you’re wondering if you may suffer from depression, chances are, you’ve been feeling pretty low pretty consistently lately. Here’s what you need to know about depression.
Symptoms Of Depression
Depression can manifest in a number of ways. Some people have a few of the symptoms, others have all of them. It depends on the person. How many symptoms you suffer from does not invalidate your depression, it just speaks to your personal experience with it. The number of symptoms you suffer from can also change based on the stage of depression, as it can swing from mild to moderate to severe and back again.
Some of the symptoms of depression are:
- Persistent sadness or emptiness
- Feeling hopeless, guilty, worthless, helpless
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
- Decreased energy and feeling tired even after getting plenty of sleep
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Weight changes, either significant weight loss or weight gain
- Recurring thoughts of death
- The desire to hurt yourself and/or hurting yourself
- The desire to attempt suicide and/or suicide attempts
- Aches, pains, cramps, digestive issues, and other bodily problems that have no clear cause
This isn’t a comprehensive list of depression symptoms. If you think you have depression, it’s important to seek help right away. A therapist, psychiatrist, or doctor can all diagnose you and offer treatment suggestions.
Untreated depression increases your risk for suicide, which is one of many reasons why it’s vital to get help as soon as you can. It’s important to know that suicide is preventable. If you feel suicidal, it is possible to work through this. Most suicidal people want to live, but they feel hopeless in their current situation and see no other way out. There is a way out, and it’s not suicide.
Seek help immediately if you feel suicidal. Mental health professionals can help you find other personalized options to improve your life situations and how you feel. They help you get through this to a better situation. What you’re feeling isn’t permanent. Seeking help will help you feel better. It will. It is not hopeless.
What Causes Depression?
Depression can have a number of causes. It can be brought on by genetics, by situations, by trauma, by an environment, and more. Depression can happen at any age. There are many children and teenagers who suffer from depression, though it often happens in adulthood.
Depending on the age of the onset, there can be different things contributing to the development of depression. A child might become depressed from bullying, while an older adult could from a serious physical illness. Regardless of age, there are certain risk factors that increase your risk for depression.
Here are some of the most common causes that increase your risk of depression.
- Family members who have depression.
- Trauma or extreme stress.
- Major life changes.
- Medical issues.
- Substance abuse.
- Some medications and birth control options can cause depression as a side effect.
Depression can also have causes within your body, not just your brain. Some issues in your body can increase your risk for depression. You’ll likely find if you go to a doctor about depression that they’ll have your thyroid levels tested. This is one such cause. Other complex issues within your body that can lead to depression are:
- Oxidative stress
- Adrenal dysfunction
- Mitochondrial dysfunction
- Gut dysbiosis
- Intestinal permeability
What causes your depression depends on individual factors that vary from person to person. It could be genetic, it could be from trauma, it could be from an issue within your body. A professional can help you find the cause of your depression, as well as offer solutions for treatment. Just because you have depression doesn’t mean you must live with it forever. There’s hope. It is entirely possible to be happy and hopeful and enjoy life again.
What Treatments Can I Get For Depression?
Depression has multiple treatments. Depression is easiest to treat when it first onsets, but it’s vital to know that it does not matter how depressed you are; you can be treated. Even the most severe, rock-bottom cases of depression can be treated and people can go from suicidal in a psychiatric hospital to living a happy, healthy life.
More Traditional Treatments
Some of the most common treatments for depression include medication and therapy, typically combined.
There are a wide variety of medications for depression that work to improve the chemical function in your brain. Medications usually take a few weeks before people start noticing a difference, and sometimes it can be a case of trial and error in order to find the right one for you.
Talk therapy is another very beneficial treatment for depression, which involves a number of different kinds of approaches meant to help you solve problems and rewire how your brain thinks. Talking to a therapist gives you a safe person to confide in who can offer an outside perspective and professionally trained guidance to give you the tools to manage your depression better.
There are a number of treatment options in addition to these, too. Some of the other treatments include electroconvulsive therapy and other such brain stimulation therapies.
Other Treatment Options
Some of the less traditional treatment options for depression include functional medicine approaches. Functional medicine believes in using your body’s natural healing capabilities and working to enhance them.
One such natural method is Hormone Replacement Therapy. With how depression can be tied to hormone fluctuations, hormone replacement therapy can regulate those fluctuating hormones to create more stability.
Other methods include dietary changes and treating inflammation in the body, as these could be culprits for your depression too.
It’s important to note that there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” treatment for anyone, for anything. Depression is no different. What works miracles for one person could not do anything at all for another. This does not mean that that treatment is ineffective, just that different things work for different people.
If you try one treatment method for depression and it doesn’t work, don’t lose hope! It just might not be right for you, and the method that will work best for you you just haven’t tried yet. This is why there are so many different options available, so that there is something for everyone.
Other Things You Can Do To Help Depression In Addition To Treatment
There are a number of ways that you can help manage depression in addition to proper treatment. These include:
- Trying to stay active
- Getting outside
- Trying not to self-isolate and spend time with loved ones
- Don’t expect an immediate change – know that it will take time
- Setting realistic goals
- Celebrate the small wins (making it out of bed, showering, putting laundry away, etc)
While no substitute for professional help, these things can help. And you want to take advantage of everything that could help you manage your depression.
Do You Need Help With Depression?
Here at Regeneration Health, we want you to know that you are not alone. We care deeply about helping treat depression in a natural way. If you have depression, we have a number of functional medicine treatment options available to you. You’re not alone. We care. We want to help you through this. For more information about the treatments we offer or to schedule an appointment, please contact us at Regeneration Health today.