By: Breánna Jain, PMHNP-BC, CARN-AP
What is depression?
Depression is one of the most debilitating conditions that the health care system treats. National statistics show that 4.7% of Americans struggle with depression, additionally, the mortality rate from suicide is 14.8 per 100,000 (CDC, 2021). The most common symptoms patients face with depression include hopelessness, worthlessness, lack of motivation, lack of interest and drive, low energy, eating too much or too little, fatigue, and sometimes individuals even get to the point of wanting to end their lives. Many times people refer to Major Depression, dysthymia, postpartum depression, chronic depression, or depressive episodes; depression with psychosis; these are all clinical terms for various types of depressive episodes.
Untreated depression can lead to many other issues, including family and relationship problems, worsening or development of medical conditions, job loss or changes, social isolation, and mental strain.
What causes depression?
Many times depression is biological, meaning that it is not a product of the environment or a life event, but because depression runs in families. This is primarily due to neurotransmitters in the brain that can have an imbalance such as serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, or acetylcholine. Conducting a thorough history can determine if this is one of the things contributing to your depression.
Other factors can lead to depression including social environment changes, loss of a loved one, stress in relationships, chronic feelings of emptiness, lack of social support, or cold climates. Sometimes a general medical condition such as thyroid problems, chronic pain, the postpartum period, obstructive sleep apnea and traumatic brain injuries can lead to secondary depression.
What can I do about depression?
The good news is there is hope! People are getting treatment every day for their depression and living successful lives. Every patient is different, but there are FDA approved options and many approved treatment modalities that are well established to treat the longstanding condition of depression.
The first step is to get help! Reaching out to your primary care doctor is always a great first step, but sometimes people need someone who specializes in mental health to assist them to a prompt recovery!
A thorough psychiatric evaluation by a board certified provider in psychiatry will give a good idea if there are medical and or physical contributions to your depression, as well as going over the DSM-V criteria of major depression and having collaborative information from family and friends can be helpful if you are comfortable with this. We will often run labs, looking at vitamin D or b12 levels, thyroid functioning, signs of infection, and sleep patterns.
We will also examine home situation, family history, environment and other reasons you are depressed. We will look at your past treatment and present treatment if any and see what has worked well in the past or eliminate what hasn’t.
There are many amazing treatment options for depression that combine both medication, non pharmacological treatment options, psychotherapy, vitamins, diet and lifestyle changes, light lamps, and more.
The most common treatment includes antidepressants such as SSRIs, TCAs, or SNRIs but may also include mood stabilizers or atypical medications.
Newer medications often have few side effects and can be highly effective and work quickly. It is always important to know the risks vs the benefits of treatment options.
Additionally, treatment resistant options include esketamine or Spravato, rTMS, light lamps, and in severe and rare cases of catatonic depression ECT referral.
Psychotherapy with a psychologist or counselor is also a great option. They have many strategies to help one make lifestyle changes, discover internal reasons one is feeling down, and help with life conditions that have contributed to your condition.
In emergent situations or in the event that you are at risk of ending your life immediately get help, call 911 or go the nearest ER. Your life is valuable and suicide is not the answer.
Eustasis offers all treatment options. We believe patients should get help immediately. You can come as a walk in any day during the week M-F 8-6 and we will get you seen. You don’t need an appointment. If you need more information please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org or call today 417-322-6622.
Depression is a treatable condition and there are many options for you!
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2021). National Center for Health Statistics- Depression. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/depression.htm