What is Depression?

Depression is a biological illness that affects behavior, thoughts and feelings.

Although depression can be caused by or worsened by life problems, medical research has shown that depression occurs as a result of a chemical imbalance in the brain and a disturbance of nerve networks that regulate mood.

Almost everyone has experienced feelings of unhappiness, “a blue mood” that could be associated with a disruptive life event. However, a pervasive feeling of sadness that lasts for more than two weeks and affects general functioning suggests clinical depression.

What are common symptoms of Depression?

  • Depressed mood, feelings of sadness or emptiness
  • Weight loss or weight gain of more than 5% in the last 30 days
  • Indecisiveness
  • Changes in sleep habits, like insomnia, early morning awakening, or sleeping too much
  • Changes in eating habits, such as loss of appetite or eating excessively
  • Decreased energy, feeling fatigued
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Difficulty in concentration, remembering, difficulty in making decisions
  • Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, guilt or worthlessness
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or empty feelings
  • Loss of interest in pleasurable activities, such as involvement with loved ones or hobbies
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

What areas in my life might I see Depression affect?

Many patients may have physical symptoms of depression (see above), but some may instead exhibit behavior problems, distorted thinking, and mood and emotional difficulties. Many times relationships may become troubled, or difficulties may arise in work, school, or social functioning.

I think I might be depressed. What next? Is there treatment?

The great news is that there is effective treatment available for depression, which can be twofold:

Psychotherapy (Psychological Treatment or Talk Therapy)

Psychotherapy is counseling by a therapist. The purpose of psychotherapy is to help an individual process what is occurring in his or her life, or to address distorted thinking that may be the cause for the depression. A good therapist will have a whole-person approach to therapy and will explore the emotional, physical, intellectual, and interpersonal aspects of each individual.

For most individuals, one to two sessions per week of counseling will eventually help them overcome depression, especially with the use of antidepressants and/or nutritional supplements. However, for some individuals with chronic depression, specialized intensive treatment may be required.

Psychopharmacotherapy (Medication Management)

This consists of utilizing medicines called antidepressants. The antidepressants help to restore the balance of the neurotransmitters in the brain, relieving the vegetative symptoms of depression. These medications are non-addictive and are helpful for most people. However, at times there are side effects from the medications.

It’s important that whatever therapy a patient chooses, he or she understands there is no one-time treatment for depression. Patients should find a psychiatrist and/or therapist who understands that overall health and well-being results from an ongoing partnership between clinician and patient.

I think I may need treatment for depression. When can I begin?

MPP is committed to you getting help when you need it. We encourage you to schedule an appointment with a qualified specialist.

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