What Is Depression and Who Does It Affect?
Depression, clinically referred to as “major depressive disorder”, is a mental illness that affects how people think, feel, and behave. Depression can cause sadness, hopelessness, loss of interest, inability to function, loss of energy, fatigue, changes in appetite, insomnia, excessive sleeping, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, difficulty making decisions, lack of focus or ability to think, thoughts of suicide, and other symptoms. Psychiatric Wellness Center has providers that are trained to treat depression in Bakersfield, California.
Depression Statistics – according to the World Health Organization:
There has been such an increase in mental illness around the world that the leading cause of disability worldwide isn’t a physical illness or handicap, but rather a mental health disorder – depression. If you are feeling any symptoms of depression, Psychiatric Wellness Center offers depression treatment in Bakersfield, California
Over 8.1% of Americans age 20 and older were diagnosed with depression from 2013-2016. In 2017, over 11 million adults in the U.S. have reported suffering from depressive episodes to the point of severe impairment. The senior population is especially impacted by symptoms of depression, with 34 million U.S. seniors age 65 and up reporting feelings of extreme sadness and feelings of hopelessness. The statistics for youth show how severe the symptoms of depression can be, with 2.3 million youth ages 12-17 suffering from impairment as a result.
Over 322 million people suffer from depression worldwide. Unfortunately, less than 50% of those suffering from depression are receiving treatment. This could be because many people suffering from depression live with the constant thought that they are not good enough or that no matter what they do things will not change. Unfortunately, depression rates are increasing yearly, with an 18.4% increase from 2005 to 2015. Depression impacts many people, with over 20% of people suffering from at least one depressive episode before adulthood. People suffering from severe depression are also likely to have thoughts of suicide, with over 800,000 people worldwide dying by suicide annually. In fact, suicide is the second leading cause of death worldwide for ages 15 to 29.
What Causes Depression?
While the exact cause of depression is unknown, studies show it is a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.
Factors Increasing the Risk of Depression
- Medication side-effects
- Conflicts/Stressful events
- Death or Loss
- Genetic predisposition
- Relationship problems
- Serious illness
- Substance use/abuse
Genetics appear to be a factor, as relatives of those with severe depression are more likely to suffer from depression symptoms than those without a family history. However, rather than just one gene, it is theorized that there are multiple genes interacting in various ways, and these interactions are affected by environmental impacts.
Research has shown that the brain activity of individuals with clinical depression is different than in those without depression. In some cases, the hippocampus (the area where memories are stored) appears to be smaller for those with a history of depression. This smaller hippocampus means there are fewer serotonin receptors; serotonin is a neurotransmitter (a brain chemical) that allows communication across circuits, connecting different regions of the brain that process emotions. Research has also found that the stress hormone, cortisol, is produced in excess in those with depression. Some experts believe that cortisol can have a toxic “shrinking” effect on the development of the hippocampus. Other experts believe that those with depression may have been born with a smaller hippocampus. Depression also has been linked to other brain regions and receptors, so it is possible that no single brain structure is the cause of depression, but rather there are many contributing factors. In Bakersfield, CA, the Psychiatric Wellness Center has providers that can help provide remedies for alleviating the symptoms of depression.
Diagnosis and Treatment for Depression
People, in general, have a desire to work, live, and be productive members of society. However, according to the WHO, people suffering from major depression may struggle to achieve these goals without proper therapy, support from loved ones, and/or taking psychiatric medications. Combined care is considered the most effective way of reducing the symptoms of depression, which is psychotherapy combined with medication. It is estimated that about 35% of people suffering from depression have not sought any type of care, and 6% are only taking medication, without additional counseling. Using a combined care approach, the psychiatrists and therapists at the Psychiatric Wellness Center in Bakersfield, CA will work closely together to provide evidence-based depression treatments.
Obtaining an accurate diagnosis is the key to developing an effective treatment plan. A licensed mental health professional can help clarify possible causes as well as the severity of depression to determine the proper treatment for an individual’s specific needs. Getting an early diagnosis and treatment, as with any illness, may help reduce the intensity and duration of depression symptoms and can also reduce the likelihood of a relapse.
There are several types of psychotherapy, or what some people refer to as talk therapy or counseling, that can help with depression. Some examples of evidence-based approaches specific to the treatment of depression include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT), and problem-solving therapy.
Medication, or drug therapy, is used to treat the symptoms thought to be caused by the abnormal circuits in the brain that are responsible for mood regulation, thought processing, and behavior. Because there are a variety of antidepressant medications, it typically takes several weeks for the right medication, and/or combination of medications, to ease symptoms. Therefore, patience and consistency in taking the medications as prescribed is crucial.
If medications and psychotherapy are not sufficiently remediating the symptoms of depression, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is worth considering. During TMS, a magnetic pulse is used to stimulate nerve cells in the brain that are known to be involved in mood control and symptoms of depression. The goal is to activate the regions of the brain that have decreased activity, for the purpose of relieving the symptoms of treatment-resistant depression. For TMS treatment options in Bakersfield, CA, contact the Psychiatric Wellness Center to find out if TMS is right for you.
At Psychiatric Wellness Center, our experienced psychiatrists and therapists can diagnose and provide you with effective treatment for symptoms of depression. Contact us today.