Depression is one of the most prevalent mental health conditions in our society today. Chances are, you either know someone personally affected by it or you yourself have been diagnosed. Depression is much more serious than just feeling sad or unmotivated. The symptoms of depression can interfere with everyday life and cause emotional and physical stress.
In 2019, Harris County, Texas reported that 13.1% of residents had 14 or more mentally unhealthy days in a 30-day period. Neighboring counties Montgomery and Fort Bend also reported 13.6% and 10.9% of residents with 14 or more mentally unhealthy days. SUN Behavioral Houston recognizes that mental health treatment is very important, and we are working within our communities to provide accessible depression treatment options.
Depression is a common mood disorder that affects the way you feel, think, and act. It can range in severity and different types can affect you in different ways. Typically, depression is characterized by prolonged feelings of worthlessness or emptiness. When left untreated, depression can cause work or school performance to decline, leading to further negative feelings that can affect the body physically.
Depression does not just “go away” with time. Most of the people without depression will give advice such as “eat better” or “sleep more,” without understanding that doing these does not alleviate depression completely. Those living with depression may go through episodes of symptoms for weeks followed by days or weeks symptom-free. This can delay seeking treatment as the person thinks they are better when the episode ends.
Neurotransmitters in the brain are responsible for communication throughout different regions. These affect things like mood, response to stress, and memory. It has been found in those with depression that the hippocampus region of the brain is actually smaller than those without depression. This region is responsible for memory and stress response. Constant stress is one of the main causes of this shrinkage because it suppresses the growth of new nerves that transport neurotransmitters.
There are different types of depression that can occur throughout life. Some appear during certain times of the year while others can be situational. The common types include:
Major depressive disorder (MDD): symptoms present for at least two weeks and are severe enough to affect work, sleep, and daily activities.
Dysthymia or persistent depressive disorder (PDD): symptoms are not as severe as in MDD but last longer than two weeks and continue consistently. They often persist for more than two years.
Postpartum depression (PPD): depression symptoms appear after childbirth. Depression while pregnant can also occur, called perinatal depression.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD): depression symptoms come and go throughout the year, usually beginning in autumn and winter and alleviating in spring and summer.
Different mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder, can also cause depression. It is important to speak with your doctor about all symptoms that you have been feeling in order to get a proper diagnosis. While grief is not the same as depression, a major stressful event such as the passing of a loved one can trigger depression.
Early signs of depression can be easily mistaken for normal wear and tear. Fatigue, aches and pains, and sleep problems can occur throughout daily life and not affect anything too much. Once depression symptoms progress, job performance and relationships will be affected. Common symptoms of depression include:
In order to be diagnosed with depression, you must have experienced persistent symptoms for at least 2 weeks. Only a medical professional can diagnose depression. SUN Behavioral Houston has a team of psychiatrists available that can diagnose any mental health condition and guide you on a treatment path that is best suited for your needs. Receiving a depression diagnosis opens the doors to getting help and taking your life back.
Depression can progress in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood. SUN Behavioral Health Houston has the ability to individualize treatment for children, teens, adults, and women. By creating treatment plans that are unique to each individual, we are able to help our patients identify their triggers and provide them with coping skills that will allow them to heal.
Depression treatment will not look the same for everyone. Factors such as age, gender, and the condition diagnosed will all play a role in where your treatment path will lead. The first line of defense in all depression treatment is talk therapy. Talk therapy has been proven in helping those with depression by addressing past traumas, creating healthy coping skills, and discovering personal insight into what triggers depressive episodes. SUN Houston has a full team of licensed therapists that will work with you to achieve your goals and move forward past depression.
For some, medication is the best route for depression treatment. SUN Houston’s medical staff is able to help you decide if medication is right for you while working with you to find the right combination. With therapy, antidepressants can be helpful in successful depression treatment.
Unique to SUN Behavioral Houston is electroconvulsive therapy treatment (ECT). ECT involves stimulating or hindering brain activity through electrodes or magnetic fields. This is a medical procedure done in a hospital environment. This treatment has been proven effective in those with medication-resistant depression and can be life-changing for those who have found no relief. Dr. Michael J. Barber is the medical director of SUN Houston’s ECT program and has been using this treatment for over 20 years with numerous success stories.
People self-medicating their depression may turn to substance use in order to cope with their symptoms. When receiving treatment, medications, therapy, and the development of coping skills are all implemented to manage depression symptoms in a healthy way.
While depression can be a life-long diagnosis, there are many ways to treat it such as therapy and medication. Keeping up with these treatments can help keep depression symptoms at bay.
Yes, depression is a mood disorder that is categorized as a mental illness.
If you or someone you love has been living with depression, know those feelings of emptiness do not have to be permanent. SUN Behavioral Health Houston is here to provide treatment options that will work best for each individual that comes through our doors. Call us today at 713-796-2273 to learn more about our depression treatment options.