Depression is complicated. There is often a fear of vulnerability. Complicating it, even more, is the anxiety of being labeled. Then there is the advice given by friends and family. Despite the well-intentioned words, there remains a lack of understanding of how crippling depression is. People who suffer from depression are often masters of disguise.
The need to keep up appearances pushes them to drive away their feelings. For many, the promise of comfort found in substances is tempting. The first few times creates a sense of well-being. Unfortunately, people often believe that continued use will help them keep depression away.
Depression occurs commonly across the world. Those who are affected by depression are young and old, male and female. Complex interactions in social, biological, and psychological situations can contribute to depression. Adverse life events, such as loss of a loved one or a job, as well as trauma, can all contribute to depression—and feelings of depression can also layer on top of existing feelings of depression.
There are two types of depression: the World Health Organization defines the types of depression and their symptoms depending on the number and severity of symptoms; a depressive episode can be categorized as mild, moderate, or severe. A key distinction is also made between depression in people who do or do not have a history of manic episodes.
Both types of depression can be chronic (i.e., over an extended period) with relapses, especially if they go untreated.
Recurrent depressive disorder: this disorder involves repeated depressive episodes. During these episodes, the person experiences a depressed mood, loss of interest and enjoyment, and reduced energy—leading to diminished activity for at least two weeks.
Many people with depression also suffer from anxiety symptoms, disturbed sleep, and appetite, and may have feelings of guilt or low self-worth, poor concentration, and even symptoms that cannot be explained by a medical diagnosis. Depending on the number and severity of symptoms, a depressive episode can be categorized as mild, moderate, or severe.
An individual with a mild depressive episode will have some difficulty in continuing with ordinary work and social activities, but will probably not cease to function completely. During a severe depressive episode, it is unlikely that the sufferer will be able to continue with social, work, or domestic activities, except to a limited extent.
Bipolar affective disorder: this type of depression typically consists of both manic and depressive episodes, separated by periods of normal mood. Manic episodes involve elevated or irritable mood, over-activity, pressure of speech, inflated self-esteem, and a decreased need for sleep.
Depression may lead to suicidal thoughts. Many people seek relief from depression by using alcohol or drugs. However, using alcohol or substances increases suicidal ideations, rather than decreasing those thoughts.
Depression and Alcohol or Substance Abuse
Feelings of depression are, at times, overwhelming. People, seeking to ease feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or stress can turn to alcohol or substances. The use of alcohol or substances can temporarily mask those feelings; however, using alcohol or substances doesn’t address the root of depression. Alcohol, drug, or marijuana users soon become dependent on these substances in a never-ending cycle.
Continued use of alcohol, drugs, or marijuana can increase feelings of depression. Talking to a therapist, a doctor, or joining a support group can help individuals begin to actually address their depression. For treatment to be successful, finding the right therapist is essential.
Treatment for Depression
The World Health Organization explains the types of treatments for depression:
Health-care providers may offer psychological treatments such as behavioral activation, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), or antidepressant medication such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs). Health-care providers should keep in mind the possible adverse effects associated with antidepressant medication, the ability to deliver either intervention (in terms of expertise, and/or treatment availability), and individual preferences. Different psychological treatment formats for consideration include individual and/or group face-to-face psychological treatments delivered by professionals and supervised lay therapists.
Myra, an addict, shares her struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts.
Myra sought help after her first attempt at suicide. While in treatment, Myra developed a greater understanding of the causes and manifestations of depression, and learned how to address those causes. She felt empowered. Unfortunately, Myra wasn’t comfortable asking her therapist about a new medication, because her current prescription didn’t alleviate her feeling of depression.
She didn’t feel better and began to wonder if therapy or medication would work. Two years later, she attempted suicide again. During the two years before her second attempt, Myra stopped going to therapy and neglected to take her medication for depression.
Finding the Right Fit
The next time Myra decided to seek help, she chose a treatment center that matched therapists with their clients’ needs. Myra sat in the office of her therapist and talked about everything but her suicidal ideations. Each session was a time to chat, talk about her career, family, and explain to her therapist how she didn’t have time to give in to depression.
Myra was good at keeping up appearances until one day she realized she was tired of pretending to be okay. Myra trusted her relationship with her therapist, and she opened up. She told her therapist about her episodes of depression. Together, they addressed Myra’s depression disorder. Myra and her therapist discussed what triggers her feelings of depression, her previous prescriptions, and what she used to alleviate her feelings of depression.
Her therapist explained that Myra had Treatment-Resistant Depression. After speaking with the doctor, Myra and her therapist agreed that including Spravato to her treatment would benefit her—a medication prescribed by a doctor for those with Treatment-Resistant Depression. Myra saw improvements in her depression after combining Spravato, therapy, and an antidepressant.
Depression is a common psychological illness and is treatable. Influences such as the death of loved one, job loss, and other life changes increase the chance of depression. Stress from trying to hide or address depression on your own adds to depression. It’s okay to acknowledge the signs of depression, including a lack of interest in hobbies, places, or people. The search for help is possible by reaching out to others. Talking with someone about feelings of depression should help alleviate those feelings. Feelings of depression can be addressed through comprehensive care. If you were previously in treatment for depression, but it didn’t work, there is an answer. Treatment-Resistant Depression isn’t something you have to live with. Addressing Treatment-Resistant Depression is possible with prescriptions such as Spravato. Specialized care tailored to meet each individual’s needs can create a positive experience in therapy. Treatment for depression offers hope. Contact Achieve Medical Center today: (858) 221-0344.