The cornerstones of a healthy and balanced life are creating personal meaning, savoring happiness, relishing success, the ability to think and produce ideas, to connect with others and feel good about ourselves. Depression is a major mental health disorder, as well as a national epidemic and disease. According to the National Institute of health, as many as 16.2 million people have experienced at least one episode of depression in their lifetime. Depression has significant ramifications and is debilitating, impacting a person’s ability to work, experience hope, and even rob their fervor for hope and in extreme cases it can rob a person’s will to live. Seeking treatment, including therapy for depression, is essential for recovering the ability to experience peace, happiness and to again respond to life. Depression also exists with significant co-morbidity, meaning that those who suffer the effects of depression are also more likely to suffer from other mental health disorders such as anxiety, or even substance abuse. While it is true that a person of any age can experience their first major depressive episode, according to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the average age for first episode is in the mid 20’s. Biology seems to also play a role in the development of depression and there is a statically significant chance of developing depression for those who have a first degree relative who has the diagnosis. At other times, depression can set in while dealing with other physical health diseases or diagnoses. Keeping in mind, depression is far different from a slump, the blues, seasonal affective disorder, or grief although there is overlap in the expression of symptoms for each of these.
Symptoms of a major depressive episode are to experience simultaneously and for at least two weeks the following:
1) Marked and Depressed mood for the majority of the day.
2) A loss of interest in many or most favored activities of interest.
3) Loss of appetite or heightened desire to eat which results in significant and
unintentional weight loss or gain.
4.) Hypersomnia or Hyposomnia meaning that one is sleeping too much or too little.
5) Impaired and slowed physical motion that is noticeable to others.
6) Feeling tired and exhausted.
7) Struggling with feelings of guilt, shame, or worthlessness
8) A newfound and diminished ability to hold concentration concentrate, or a marked indecisiveness.
9) Thinking of death.
The causes of depression are still being study, it has been concluded that Major Depression is a psychiatric disease that has an organic etiology stemming from structural and chemical variants in the brains imagery of those who are suffering from this disorder. Simultaneously, the onset of a depressive episode can sometimes follow a traumatic event or loss which strains an individual’s ability to cope. To meet the criterion for a major depressive episode the onset of the depression can not be related to use of a substance such as drugs or alcohol.
If you have had a recent shift in emotion, thought, and physical energy, there are treatments options for depression, keeping in mind that for all forms of mental, emotional, and physical health, early intervention is the key to full and recovery. There are many forms of depression, including melancholia and depressive personality disorder.
The wellness model and integrative counseling have many options to support healing from depression. The most common form of therapy for someone who is experiencing a depressive episode is to combine both counseling and medication. To recover happiness, health and well-being it is essential that one use a treatment team that has experience in treating chronic mental health disorders.