Most of us claim to be depressed from time to time. However, feeling down or sad is different from having depression, which is actually a serious mental health issue that affects millions of people around the world. Feeling down in the dumps for a few days is not classed as depression. Those who are affected by this illness will experience feelings of hopelessness for weeks, or even months, at a time.
A common misconception about depression is that it is something that the individual can control. It is not something that can be switched on and off, and those who have it cannot simply ‘get over it’ or ‘pull themselves together’.
The symptoms experienced by those with depression can range from mild to severe, and this will determine the type of treatment that can be used to treat them. Some individuals will experience unexplainable sadness or feelings of hopelessness, while others will lose all interest in the things that they once enjoyed. They might want to stay in bed all day rather than face the world, and some will not want to speak to anyone. They might not eat, may find it hard to sleep, and will lose interest in sex. Others will experience physical symptoms such as sore joints and muscles, or nausea.
Severe depression can lead the individual to feeling like there is no hope and they may even contemplate suicide as they believe that everyone would be better off without them. Thankfully, with the right treatment, most people can be supported through their depression.
The way in which depression is treated will vary from one person to the next and will depend on the severity of the illness. Most doctors will avoid prescribing antidepressants in the first instance unless the individual is suffering with severe depression. Depression therapists at Psych Blossom say that depression therapy along with lifestyle changes can be enough to help some people overcome their depression.
There are several types of depression therapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and group therapy. CBT helps patients to learn how to become aware of their negative thought patterns and then replace these with positive coping skills. It might mean learning how to journal or meditate when negative thoughts start to creep in.
Group therapy sessions are designed to help people dealing with the same issues, including depression. Group sessions may seem intimidating at first as many people do not want to talk about their problems in front of and with strangers, but most of those who take part in these sessions do find them beneficial. Talking to other people who are experiencing similar problems can help individuals to feel less isolated and alone. Moreover, many find it easier to talk about their feelings with strangers than with their loved ones.
Group therapy is also great in terms of support. Hearing about different coping strategies that others use can be useful in dealing with things like panic attacks or bouts of depression.
Medication is often used as a standalone treatment for depression or in conjunction with depression therapy. Antidepressants work by increasing the production of certain mood enhancing chemicals in the brain. They are also beneficial in dealing with the physical pain sometimes caused by depression as they can block the pain signals.
It is important to remember that medication does not treat the cause of depression. It is designed to help with the symptoms. If you are struggling with depression, therapy is something you should definitely consider because getting to the root cause of the illness is the only way to resolve it.