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A Deep Dive Into Depression

Understanding depression can be challenging, especially if you are attempting to diagnose yourself or a loved one. Most depressed people have no knowledge of the illness and refuse to admit they are depressed. They may wonder why they feel sad, are irritable, angry, and crying for no apparent reason, yet when you suggest they may be depressed, they shut the conversation down. Mood swings, lack of interest in things they enjoy, and the desire to spend half the day sleeping are excused as signs of boredom, or “I just need a change.

Due to the current pandemic, everyone is experiencing “ups and downs”, and though over 30% of the population will schedule an annual physical, less than 7% will schedule a mental-health checkup. They will tell their clinician they’re stressed, feeling anxious, and can’t sleep. They will ask for something to “calm them down”, something to help them “relax”, something to “take the edge off”. Though this number has improved greatly in the past 10-15 years, a recent study found only one in six primary care physicians suggested or referred their patient to a mental health specialist. Although most psychiatrists require a referral, in the United States, mental health counselors, and psychotherapists do not require a referral. Improving Lives Counseling Services’ network of counselors, therapists, and clinicians, treat children, adolescents, teens, adults, and seniors in individual, couples, family, and group sessions.

WHAT IS DEPRESSION

Scrolling the internet, responding to advertisements flashed across a screen, or commercials coming across a car radio will not diagnose or treat your depression. Responding to a suicide number if you feel suicidal is a good thing – self-diagnosis for chronic stress, life-changing anxiety, or “a persistently depressed mood causing significant impairment in daily life is not.” Depression is a mental health disorder, and although the internet’s definition and list of symptoms sound like something you can control, it is not. “Depression ranges in seriousness from mild, temporary episodes of sadness to severe, persistent depression. Clinical depression is the more severe form also known as major depression or major depressive disorder.”

Depression comes in many forms. Feeling hopeless and helpless and thinking nothing can be done, having trouble concentrating, problem-solving, making decisions, and maintaining relationships – thinking it’s just the way things are, or having a family member diagnosed with depression or a mental illness and having read or been told it’s hereditary, it’s in your genes are all forms of depression. Living through a traumatic experience or having a loved one experience trauma can lead to depression. Something as simple as deciding whether or not to wear a mask during a pandemic can lead to depression. Conspiracy theorists, news pundits, relatives, co-workers, even friends can create social anxiety which can lead to depression. Unfortunately, unless mental health care is sought, caregiving for a chronically ill or mentally challenged family member can lead to depression, especially in child caregivers.

Depression has many possible causes including genetic vulnerability. From Harvard Health Publishing, January 10, 2022 – “Research suggests depression doesn’t spring from simply having too much or too little of certain brain chemicals. Rather there are many possible causes of depression, including faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, and stressful life events. It is believed that several of these forces interact to bring on depression.”

One’s career and/or profession can trigger depression. Statics show up to 19% of policemen suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression, up to 60% of doctors, 27% of teachers, 14% of Social Workers, and 10% of firemen (22% of women firefighters) reported depression. 50% of call center agents reported being prescribed stress or anxiety-related medication. The abuse of legal and/or illegal substances, behavioral disorders, and addictions can cause depression. October 27, 2021, a survey reported: “an estimated one-third of people with major depression also had an alcohol problem.”

Depression has a mental and physical effect on the body. Chronic pain and body aches, headaches, weight gain or loss, chest pain, high blood pressure, digestive problems and neurological disorders can be affected. Depression can affect eyesight, complexion, taste, and physical abilities (movement). It affects employment, schooling, family, and lifestyle.

depressed woman lying down

“Depression places a burden on both individuals and families. It disrupts daily routines, creates conflicts in relationships, and often isolates people from the support and help that they need. The effects of parental depression on children can be particularly profound”. Verywellmind.com, April 2021.

If you go online and google “get help for depression”, a long list of advertisements will pop up. They all say they offer the help and guidance you need. They don’t say they are a locally owned business with counselors, therapists, and clinicians who live where you live, who know the political, economic, social, and religious environment you live and work in. They don’t say they understand the basic needs and wants of people in your community, or how your symptoms, challenges, and lifestyle disruptions affect the community you live in, your family and friends.

Depression is a serious mental illness. It is a total disruption of mental well-being and physical health. Improving Lives Counseling Services Inc. is ready to listen and to help you solve the problems in your life. We offer a network of diverse counselors and therapists who live where you live and can empathize, making you and those you love most feel both heard and understood. The comfort, health, and goals of our patients are our priority. Whether social distancing in-person or virtual (online), every second you spend with a counselor will be well spent on your future. Our mission is to educate, diagnose, and treat – assisting each client in reaching their full potential.

Schedule your appointment today. Call us. 918-960-7852