Understanding Depression: Symptoms, Causes, and Effective Treatments

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Depression is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 5% of adults globally have depression. This number is likely higher, as mental health diagnoses are not always obtained.

The WHO also reports that depression is about 50% more common among women than among men and that more than 700,000 people die due to suicide every year. These statistics highlight that you are not alone if you are living with depression.

There are effective treatments for depression, and speaking to a psychiatric provider at Sacred Psychiatric in San Diego may be a good place to start.

What is Depression?

Depression is a mood disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest or pleasure in daily activities. These symptoms must last for at least two weeks to be considered a depressive episode. Moreover, the symptoms interfere with one’s daily life.

Other symptoms of depression may include changes in appetite, insomnia or excessive sleeping, lack of energy, motivation, and feelings of fatigue, guilt, and worthlessness. Additionally, individuals may have difficulty making decisions, concentrating, and may experience thoughts of death or suicide.

Causes of Depression

Depression is a complex condition with multiple contributing factors. Individuals with low self-esteem or a pessimistic outlook are more susceptible to experiencing a depressive episode. Experiences of abuse, loss, or significant life changes can also precipitate depression.

Biological factors such as genetics, hormonal changes, and brain chemistry can trigger depression.

A lack of social support or relationships can contribute to feelings of loneliness and depression. Alcohol and drug abuse can both cause and exacerbate depression.

Speaking to a psychiatrist in San Diego can help review your symptoms and the contributing factors before considering treatment options.

Treatment of Depression

As noted above, depression is treatable. It is important to start with lifestyle modifications. Engaging in regular physical activity can improve mood and energy levels by increasing the release of certain neurotransmitters. Eating a balanced diet supports overall mental health, and ensuring adequate, consistent sleep helps maintain mental well-being. Socializing and managing stress are also crucial for managing one’s mood.

By participating in therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), individuals can better understand and change negative thought patterns and behaviors.

Those who commit to lifestyle changes and therapy but still experience debilitating depression may benefit from medications. Antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), can help correct chemical imbalances in the brain.

Alternative therapies such as mindfulness, meditation, and acupuncture may complement traditional treatments. Some individuals may require treatment options such as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), Spravato (esketamine), ketamine infusion, or even Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT).

The main point is that depression is a serious but treatable condition. By understanding its symptoms, causes, and treatment options, we can better support those who are struggling and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health.

If you or someone you know is experiencing depression, remember that help is available. Get support by seeking mental health services in San Diego.


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