We all feel sad at times. But depression is something much more serious. Depression is a deep sadness or despair that lasts beyond a few days, and interferes with activities of daily living, and even causes physical pain. Fortunately, depression has great potential for effective treatment.
Depression, which is also known as major depressive disorder or clinical depression, is one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in 2014 an estimated 15.7 million adults – approximately 6.7 percent of the American adult population – suffered from at least one major depressive episode.
Depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, psychological, social, and environmental factors. People with a family history of depression, as well as those with severe illnesses such as heart disease or cancer, are at the highest risk for depression. Likewise, major life changes, trauma, and stress can also result in an episode of depression, although some of these can occur without any obvious external cause.
Treatment for depression
Depression is not a sign of weakness. It is also not something from which a person can suddenly recover. It is a disease that needs professional treatment. But with proper care, the patient can feel better.
Antidepressant medications can be helpful in reducing depression symptoms in some people, especially those with severe disorders. Psychotherapy is also an effective treatment, either alone or in combination with medications. Among the benefits of psychotherapy is a long-lasting effect that protects the patient against the return of symptoms, even after treatment is completed.
Consult a psychologist in case of depression
Certified psychologists are mental health professionals with great knowledge, training, and experience in helping patients recover from depression. Various methods of psychotherapy have been shown to contribute to the recovery of people with depression, especially those with mild to moderate depression.
Psychotherapy helps patients with depression to:
Pinpoint the existential events that contribute to your depression, and look for ways to transform, accept, or adapt to those situations
Create realistic goals for the future
Identify distorted thought processes and unhelpful behaviors that contribute to feelings of helplessness or hopelessness
Build skills to cope with symptoms and problems and identify or prevent future episodes of depression
Depression in children and adolescents
Depression is a common adolescent disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in 2014, approximately 2.8 million children ages 12 to 17 (more than 11 percent) suffered at least one major depressive episode.
Teens are often temperamental. But if your adolescent son or daughter is extremely irritable, has ongoing motivation problems, or persistent bouts of sadness that last two weeks or more, it is a good idea to be screened for depression.
The good news is that most young people recover from depression. However, research highlights that people who suffered from depression in childhood are at higher risk of recurrence in adolescence or adulthood. Both CBT and IPT can help children recognize the signs of a depressive episode, so they can monitor their symptoms and quickly seek help in the event of a recurrence.