Depression is a very common mental illness that affects millions of people in the United States. In fact, over 16 million people have a low quality of life due to major depressive disorder or severe symptoms of depression at least once a year. People who experience mental health disorders like severe depression or anxiety often struggle with stigma and concern around seeking treatment.
There are many severe symptoms of this psychiatric condition that can be very debilitating and make simple tasks incredibly difficult. Proper psychiatric treatment and mental health services can be achieved through the care of medical doctors and therapists, different medications, and even the help of psychotherapy techniques.
If you or a loved one is suffering from depression or anxiety that severely affects their personal life, including major depressive disorder, or other comorbid mental health conditions, then it may be time to seek the help of mental health professionals. Keep reading to learn more about what depression is and how targeted therapy and psychiatry can help in treating people with depression.
What is Depression?
At one time or another, most people will have feelings of sadness, anxiety, or depressed mood. However, when these feelings persist for weeks, months, and even years, it may be mild depression, moderate depression, persistent depressive disorder, or even a major depressive episode. Any entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts needs to be treated and monitored closely by psychiatrists and/or psychologists.
Having down days is a normal part of life, but when you are overcome by feelings like hopelessness and despair, you may be suffering from acute depression that is treatable. Rather than simply reacting to life's trials and setbacks with sadness, depression alters the way you think, feel, and function day-to-day. You may have difficulty working, studying, eating, sleeping, and having fun. Just trying to get through the day can be overwhelming.
Depression and anxiety are not just feeling sad, they can have very serious effects on your physical health, and may co-morbidly (simultaneously) with other mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder or anxiety disorders
. These mental health problems need to be taken seriously with the right treatment for depression depending on the individual's own situation. This may mean certain medication, personal changes, and the careful treatment of a psychiatrist and regular therapy.
This mental health issue is not a sign of weakness, it is a legitimate mental health condition that can have very real and disruptive effects. According to psychiatrists, patients suffering from depression should not feel ashamed when they feel sad or struggle with self-esteem. Depression has a significant impact on how patients see themselves in general. People who are depressed may have a distorted impression of themselves and experience feelings of self-loathing or anxiety.
Symptoms of Clinical Depression
Patients suffering from a major depressive episode may describe living in a feeling of impending doom or feeling trapped in a black hole, whereas others may feel lifeless, empty, and uninterested (in anything). In particular, men may feel angry and restless. Whatever your symptoms may be, the condition can become serious if left untreated. Although you may feel helpless or hopeless, these emotions are merely symptoms of depression, not the reality of your situation.
Depression typically causes noticeable problems in day-to-day activities, such as work, school, social activities, or relationships. Often, people are unaware of the reason for their general misery or discontent. The majority of people who experience depression have multiple episodes during their lifetime. They may experience symptoms nearly all the time, nearly every day.
Depression cannot be diagnosed by an "online depression test" (actually it can, the result just cannot be relied upon solely); so a doctor must examine you and do a thorough history to determine if you have it. Depression in children and teenagers has many of the same signs and symptoms as in adults, though there are also some differences. People with depression may experience several or more of the following symptoms:
- Persistent low mood or sadness
- A feeling of hopelessness and helplessness
- Exhaustion, frustration, irritability, even over trivial matters
- Concentration problems, memory problems, and difficulty making decisions
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and powerlessness
- Lack of interest in sex and other pleasurable activities once enjoyed
- Frequently thinking of suicide, attempting suicide, or thinking of death
- Being unmotivated or uninterested in things
- Unrest in sleep - waking up very early in the morning or having problems falling asleep at night
- Weight loss due to reduced hunger or weight gain due to an increased food craving
Mental Health Professional Treatment for Depression
Depression can manifest in many different ways and your doctor may call it by a certain name. Below are several of the most common symptoms of depression patients should be aware of.
Many patients who suffer from depression and other mental health disorders have trouble sleeping without medication or cognitive behavioral therapy, which often provides useful tools and techniques to fall asleep. Your psychiatrist or family physician may be able to prescribe medication for any sleeping problems you face that are related to your depression. When it comes to physical symptoms of depression, lack of sleep and tiredness are among the most common.
There is a potential connection between thyroid conditions and depression, which may help explain why some people with depression and other mental health conditions struggle with physical activity and gaining weight.
It is very common for those with depression to have an extremely negative self perception and poor self-esteem. Compared with some other symptoms, this can be very difficult for patients to overcome because the negative ideas become embedded in the individual.
In most cases, according to psychiatry, depression can be triggered by a specific situation. Seasonal affective disorder, for example, becomes more evident and apparent during the winter months due to the low production of serotonin and higher production of melatonin. More acute examples might be someone experiencing a significant life stressor such as death of a loved one, or divorce, as examples.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Those who suffer from this form of depression experience both mental and physical symptoms that can be very intense and may harm relationships.
If you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself or family members, it may be time to seek the help of a psychiatrist or controlled treatment facilities. Below, is a general description of depression itself, followed by some common ways that depression is treated. These methods have been approved by the American Psychiatric Association
and are known to be successful for many individuals.
What Causes Depression?
Depression is far more complicated to treat than some illnesses, which have a specific medical cause. There are some medications that can trigger symptoms in some people, such as barbiturates, corticosteroids, benzodiazepines, opioid pain medications, and specific blood pressure medicines, as well as hypothyroidism (a condition where the thyroid gland is under-active). Depressive disorders can be caused by a variety of biological, psychological, and social factors that vary substantially from person to person.
It is important to understand that depression is not just the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain, having too much or too little of any chemical that can be easily cured with medication as you may have seen on television, in a newspaper, or maybe even heard from your primary care doctor.
Depression can be caused by biological factors, such as inflammation, hormonal changes, immune system suppression, dysfunction in specific parts of the brain, nutrition deficiencies, and shrinking brain cells. Psychological and social factors, however, including past trauma, substance abuse, loneliness, low self-esteem, and lifestyle choices, can have a significant effect.
In most cases, depression is caused by a combination of factors rather than one single factor. Stress can cause you to drink more if you went through an unhappy marriage, lost your job, or were diagnosed with a serious medical condition, causing you to isolate yourself from family and friends. Depressive disorders may result from a combination of those factors.
Common Treatments for Depression
You may feel like you're on the verge of giving up when depressed. However, you can take several steps to lift your mood. In order to succeed, it's imperative to start small and add a little more to your daily routine each day. Making positive choices for yourself will help you feel better over time.
A mental health professional may be able to help if family support and positive lifestyle changes aren't enough.
As referenced above, there are different types and degrees of depression that psychiatry recognizes. Medical doctors will not treat the persistent depressive disorder in the same way as mild or major depression, as more specific examples of the descriptions referenced above.
A psychiatrist will often prescribe antidepressants to curb the symptoms of depression and help lessen the impact of the illness on your day-to-day life. Ideally, medications will be used alongside therapy, such as psychotherapy or psychodynamic therapy. Antidepressants are a type of psychotropic medications, which adjust the chemical imbalance in the brain thought to at least exacerbate, if not outright cause, a major depressive episode, depending on one's school of thought (i.e. still being considered/debated amongst the medical community).
Many people will have heard of talk therapy before and recognize it easily. This type of treatment can be very effective, but typically should be used alongside medication to keep symptoms controlled and monitored.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
The name of this treatment may sound daunting, but do not worry, there are only very mild risk factors, such as light-headedness or discomfort around your scalp. This treatment is usually only used by a psychiatrist if the patient has not had success with other treatments or may struggle with substance abuse and does not want to use traditional medications.
Dr. Lee does not offer this service currently, since he is focusing on therapy and pharmacologic telehealth-based online consultations, but can refer you to an appropriate clinic that does, should it be appropriately indicated.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Depression treated through CBT is usually milder in nature, or else this method is used alongside several other forms of treatment to relieve more severe symptoms.
It is important for everyone to understand all the treatment options available so that they can find what works best for them. For instance, some people will only improve with the use of medication, but others will need to use medications and psychotherapy
in order to truly recover from their mental health condition or illness.
You should work with your psychiatrist and doctor to determine the best treatments for your symptoms and share how you can see the best improvement in your wellbeing.
How Mental Health Professionals Can Help
For the best chance of recovery, you should speak with a psychiatrist and psychologist about the treatment options available to help your mental health and any other medical conditions. A modern treatment option is telepsychiatry
, which allows a psychiatrist to treat their patients via a video conferencing platform. Many patients find it more convenient and less nerve-wracking to receive psychotherapy or meet with their psychiatrist to discuss treatment and have their psychiatrist prescribe medication.
Dr. Lee studied, from undergraduate studies throughout residency, including medicine, at some of the top national institutions in the United States, including Harvard Medical School, Georgetown University, the University of Connecticut, Drexel University College of Medicine, and the University of Michigan. He provides compassionate and expert care for a very wide range of medical conditions as a tele psychiatrist.
After an initial consultation that allows Dr. Lee to ascertain your medical history, he can begin to treat your mental health conditions and provide guidance and knowledgeable treatment.
You may find it useful to check with your health insurance provider to see if there will be a deductible or if they cover treatment by Dr. Lee. You can expect empathetic and respectful treatment from Dr. Lee who is deeply committed to his patients and their success.