Depression Treatment

Depression is a common illness worldwide, with around 270 million people affected. It is different from usual mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life. Especially when long-lasting and with moderate or severe intensity, depression may become a serious health condition. It can cause to function poorly at work, at school and in the household. At its worst, depression leads to suicide. Close to one million people commit suicide every year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-29-year-olds.

Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. But it is also treatable.

Symptoms of Depression

Sadness Does Tot Equal Depression

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Depression Symptoms

Symptoms of Depression may be:

  • Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite
  • Trouble sleeping or oversleeping
  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue
  • Increase in purposeless physical activity (inability to sit still, pacing, handwringing) or slowed movements or speech (these signs must be severe enough to be observable by others)
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
  • Suicidal thoughts

Symptoms must last at least 15 days and represent a shift in the patient’s level of functioning.

Depression affects almost 7% of the population (1 in 15 persons). And roughly 17% (1 in 7 people) will experience depression at some point in their life. Depression comes up at any time, but on average, first appears during the late teens to mid-20s. Men are less likely than women to suffer depression. Some studies show that 33% of women will experience a major depressive episode. There is a about a 40% of heritability chances when a parent or close relative has depression. 

Since medical conditions like thyroid problems, a brain tumor or vitamin deficiency can mimic symptoms of depression, it is essential to rule out general medical causes.

Sometimes there are interrelationships between depression and physical health. For example, cardiovascular disease can lead to depression and vice versa.

Sadness is Not Depression

The death of a loved one, loss of a job or the ending of a relationship are of course very harsh situations for a person to endure. It is normal to grief or to feel sad in response to such situations. 

But being sad is not the same as having depression. The grieving process is natural and unique to each person. It shares some of the same features of depression. While grief and depression may involve intense sadness and withdrawal from usual activities, they are also distinct in the following ways:

  • In grief, painful feelings come in waves, often intermixed with positive memories of the deceased. In major depression, mood and/or interest (pleasure) are decreased for almost one month.
  • In grief, self-esteem is usually maintained. In major depression, feelings of worthlessness and self-hate are overwhelming.
  • In grief, thoughts of death may surface when thinking of or fantasizing about “joining” the deceased person. In major depression, thoughts are focused on ending one’s life due to feeling worthless or undeserving of living or failing to endure the pain of depression.

Distinguishing between depression and grief is important.

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What Depression Does

Specific disorders related to Depression

There are related and specific conditions, such as Postpartum (Peripartum) depression, seasonal affective disorder, bipolarity, dysthymia, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. These disorders ought to be diagnosed and treated specifically.

Recurrent or Persistent Depressive Disorder

Someone with persistent depressive disorder (previously referred to as dysthymic disorder) has a depressed mood for most of the day, most of the week, for at least 24 months. It involves repeated depressive episodes.  In teenagers and children, the mood can be irritable or depressed, and must continue for at least 12 months. 

In addition to depressed mood, symptoms include lack of focus, fatigue, low self-esteem, feelings of hopelessness, hypersomnia, insomnia, difficulty making decisions, feelings of guilt, anxiety, eating disorders and even symptoms hard to explain by medical diagnosis.

Persistent depressive disorder often begins in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood. It affects an estimated 0.5% of adults in the United States. Individuals with persistent depressive disorder often describe their mood as low-spirited and gloomy. Because these symptoms have become a part of the individual’s day-to-day experience, they may not seek help, just assuming that they have always felt this way.

The symptoms cause significant distress or difficulty in work, social mingling, or other important aspects. While the impact of persistent depressive disorder on work, relationships and daily life can vary widely, its effects are greater than those of major depressive disorder.

Risk Factors for Depression

Depression can affect anyone—even a person who appears to live in relatively ideal circumstances.

Several factors can play a role in depression:

  • Biochemistry: Differences in certain chemicals in the brain contribute to symptoms of depression.
  • Genetics: Depression can run in families. For example, if one identical twin has depression, the other has a 70 percent chance of getting depressed.
  • Personality: Low self-esteem, proneness to stress, and pessimistic views often lead to depression.
  • Environmental factors: Continuous exposure to violence, abuse, neglect or poverty may make some individuals more vulnerable to depression.

Treatment Depression in San Diego at Refresh Recovery

At Refresh Recovery, there are effective treatments for moderate and severe depression. Our mental health professionals may offer psychological treatments such as behavioral activation, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), or medication assisted treatment optional. 

Depression is among the most treatable of mental disorders. More than four fifths of people with depression develop positive reactions to treatment. Almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms.  At Refresh Recovery mental health treatment, all the factors involved in our client’s treatment are thoroughly considered:

Medication: Brain chemistry is a factor in depression, playing an important role into their treatment. For this reason, medication assisted treatment might be prescribed to help modify one’s brain chemistry. Clinicians recommend that patients continue to take medication for half a year more after the symptoms have improved. Longer-term maintenance treatment may be suggested to decrease the risk of future episodes for certain people at high risk.

Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy, is sometimes used alone for treatment of mild depression; for moderate to severe depression, psychotherapy is often used  along with antidepressant medications. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been found to be effective in treating depression. CBT is a form of therapy focused on the problem solving in the present. CBT helps to recognize distorted thinking so that responses to challenges are more assertive.

Depending on the severity of the depression, treatment can take a couple of months or much longer. In many cases, significant improvement can be made in 11 to 17 sessions.

At Refresh Recovery, we provide a unique treatment program with your unique needs in mind as well as dual diagnosis such as substance use disorders. Let us answer your questions and support you in your journey towards recovery and attend deeper issues of depression such as trauma or biological lesions. Visit our community resources page for other links and services in San Diego County that we may not be able to attend.

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