Sometimes referred to as unipolar or major depressive disorder, major depression is the persistent feeling of sadness or a lack of interest or pleasure in almost all activities.
It is often accompanied by any of the following:
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
- A decrease or increase in appetite
- Decreased energy or fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating, making decisions, and thinking clearly
- Slower physical movements or purposeless motions
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, a suicide attempt, or a specific plan for suicide
In depression cases, these symptoms cause significant distress or impairment in a person’s social, occupational, or educational functioning.
Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the U.S. According to the World Health Organization, 16.2 million adults in the U.S. (6.7 percent of all adults in the country) have experienced a major depressive episode in the past year, while 300 million people worldwide have had depression.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, in the U.S. more than 20-26% of women and 8-12% of men will experience depression in their lifetimes.
Unfortunately, depression is also prevalent in children and adolescents. More than 3 million young people between the ages of 12 and 17 have experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year in the U.S. (19.4 percent of adolescent girls and 6.4 percent of adolescent boys have experienced a major depressive episode). And some studies have shown serious depression is even happening at younger ages, with 2 to 3 percent of children ages 6 to 12 suffering from serious depression.
Research indicates there’s no single cause of depression, but rather it can be the result of brain chemistry, hormones, life experiences, and physical health. However, it can also be genetic.
The medical journal Neuron says there is “an approximately 3-fold increased risk for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) in the first-degree relatives (parents, siblings, offspring) of individuals with MDD versus the general population,” meaning the single biggest determining factor of your depression can be found in your family tree.
Types of Depression
There are many different types of major depression, each with different causes, but all typically involving the same feeling of disinterest in daily activities and overall melancholy. Types of depression include:
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): A disease directly caused by the time of the year, most often experienced in the winter months when sunlight is not as readily available.
- Psychotic depression: Often develops if you have been hallucinating or are having delusions that are not cohesive with reality. This can be caused by a traumatic event or brought about if a person has had some form of depression in the past.
- Postpartum depression: A common occurrence among new mothers experiencing hormonal changes following childbirth.
- Melancholic depression: Typically results in a person suffering weight loss and decreased interest in activities they once loved. The depressed mood is often similar to losing someone you love or intense grief.
- Atypical depression: Often directly related to your mood and your interactions with others. Symptoms include hypersomnia, heaviness in the limbs, and social anxiety.
- Catatonic depression: Often involves motor problems and behavioral issues, sometimes leaving a person immobilized or having involuntary movements.
Treatment For Depression
Depression is very treatable, so seeking help is the key first step. Unfortunately, only about 50 percent of all Americans who are diagnosed with depression in a given year seek treatment (while 60 percent of children and adolescents with depression are not getting any type of treatment).
Those who do often wait months or years to get help, and many are under-treated, with only medication or only talk therapy. Studies show a combination of talk therapy and medication can be most effective in treating depression. Only 1 in 5 people, however, are receiving treatment consistent with current practice guidelines.
There are several treatment methods for MDD, including psychotherapy, antidepressant medications, electroconvulsive treatment (generally avoided, except in extreme circumstances), and other somatic therapies. A medical psychiatrist can provide both psychotherapy services and prescribe antidepressants, which vary for each person based on the patient’s individual needs. But long-term remission becomes less likely with each prescription medication treatment attempt.
NeuroStar Advanced Therapy
At A New Outlook Recovery Services, we typically practice Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), and NeuroStar Advanced Therapy that is FDA-cleared and designed to help people who struggle with MDD even after taking antidepressant medication. It helps activate the natural function of the brain’s neurotransmitters using a non-invasive magnetic field, and is not electroconvulsive therapy.
Because NeuroStar is a non-drug treatment, there are no side effects like those associated with antidepressant medications.
Rather, the most common side effect is temporary pain or discomfort at or near the treatment site. These effects are temporary and do not occur for most people after the first week of treatment.
Precisely targeted NeuroStar Advanced Therapy makes long-term remission possible, making it a top choice for doctors.
Get the Help You Need
Do you or does a person you know suffer from major depression? Here are some telling signs:
- Negative thoughts without the ability to see positive solutions
- Inability to focus
- Agitation / irritability
- Weight loss or gain
- Acting out negatively or withdrawing from loved ones
- Loss of interest in daily activities
- Increase in sleeping
- Suicidal thoughts
If you have noticed these signs in yourself or a loved one, contact us today. We will discuss the options on how to overcome this disease, allowing you to choose the best treatment for your lifestyle. Talking to a counselor and a medical professional is the first step!
At A New Outlook Recovery Services, we can help you overcome your depression and get you back on your way to living a happier, more fulfilling life.