What is Major Depression?
Major depressive disorder is a serious medical illness affecting an estimated 15 million American adults and is a leading cause of disability in Americans.
Symptoms of depression may last for 2 weeks or more, occurring nearly every day, and may include:
- A depressed mood most of the day (feeling sad, empty, hopeless, or on the verge of tears)
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities you once enjoyed
- Decreased appetite with weight loss (even when not on a diet) or experiencing increased appetite and weight gain…especially with Alaska Winters.
- Difficulty sleeping or being overly tired
- Restlessness or feeling slowed down
- Fatigue or a loss of energy
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- A lack of concentration or difficulty with decision making
- Thoughts of death or suicide or feeling like your life is not worth living
Depression can cause you to isolate yourself from others, including friends, family, and cause impairments in your interpersonal, social and work functioning. Professional intervention is advised and there are medical professionals who can provide help.
Educating yourself about depression is the first step along the treatment path to wellness. If you believe you or a loved one may have depression, please read about the typical treatment path and take our depression quiz. You’ll learn about the symptoms you may be experiencing, the many therapy options available, and what to expect during treatment.
For some, depression can be effectively treated with talk therapy, and for others they respond to a combination of talk therapy along with antidepressant medication. Unfortunately, we know that as many as 40 % of individuals who have tried therapy and often multiple antidepressant trials are still suffering and experiencing ongoing symptoms of depression. This is what we call Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD).
Am I Depressed?
- 0-4: Minimal Depression
- 5-9: Mild Depression
- 10-14: Moderate Depression
- 15-19: Moderately Severe Depression
- 20-27: Severe Depression
Treatment Options for Depression:
A Path to Wellness:
Therapy, also known as “talk therapy” or “psychotherapy” is method of treating depression that involves talking about your condition and related issues with a mental health provider. Different types of psychotherapy can be effective for depression, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy.
Medications can offer relief for many, but almost 40% either do not respond, only have a partial response, or experience unpleasant side effects to medications.
ECT: During ECT, minor electric currents are passed through the brain, intentionally triggering a brief seizure. This treatment must be performed under general anesthesia and typically requires a stay in the hospital, although it is more frequently being performed on an outpatient basis. While ECT can be effective in difficult to treat cases, memory issues can be a common side effect, along with high costs.
TMS: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) offers and effective, non-invasive, outpatient, FDA cleared alternative to medications that can bring to relief to many suffering from treatment resistant depression. Please go to the “What is TMS” to learn more about this exciting and effective treatment option.