Fathers. Sons. Mothers. Daughters. Spouses. Partners. Friends. Aunts. Uncles. Parents. Grandparents. Bosses. Co-workers. Employees. Depression affects people of every age and stage. Depression may be a seven-year-old who sits on the sidelines of recess and will not eat at lunch time. It may be a twenty-something man at the gym, trying to lose that feeling of inadequacy. It may be the woman forcing herself to smile, even though she just earned a promotion. Depression is an illness that strikes indiscriminately—women and men, old and young, poor and rich, every race, every religion.
Depression is an illness that has distinguishing characteristics, but it also attacks people in unique and specific ways. There may be good days, but when someone experiences depression, there are far more bad days. Because everybody’s bad days will look differently, it may be hard to detect with a friend, family member, or co-worker is depressed. However, it is possible to understand depression, and it is also possible to treat it. By working with a therapist for treatment, many people are experiencing more good days and less bad days as they manage their depression.
The professionals at Thriveworks Harrisonburg understand because we have walked with many clients who have depression. Our therapists and counselors have helped many people find the right diagnosis and the right treatment they need for depression.
Not Just a Bad Day: Depression Is an Illness
At times, loved ones may minimize the severity of what those with depression are experiencing. After all, depression’s pain is not mark with a physical sign like a temperature or a rash. Nonetheless, the pain is very real. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) outlines several types of depression and clearly labels it a mental illness.
“Sad hurts, but it’s a healthy feeling. It is a necessary thing to feel.
Depression is very different.”
What most people simply call depression, the DSM-5 calls Major Depressive Disorder. All people feel disappointment, sadness, and discouragement. These feels rise and fall naturally. Major Depressive Disorder, however, is different in its severity and its longevity. It is a severe illness that often requires medical intervention. Think about what you have been feeling and experiencing the past few days, weeks, and months. Does anything that follows sound familiar to you?
- For two continuous weeks, experiencing a change in mood that includes at least two of the following (one of which must be either lost interest or depressed mood):
- Experiencing a depressed mood for most of the day and for more days than not. The mood will be severe enough that others notice.
- Losing interest in once enjoyable activities for most of the day and for more days than not.
- Fluctuating weight (either gain or loss) with accompanying increases or decreases in appetite.
- Developing disruptions in sleep (either hypersomnia or insomnia).
- Deteriorating psychomotor skills (coordination, dexterity, strength, et cetera).
- Feeling fatigued much of the day.
- Feeling worthless or guilty on a regular, even daily, basis.
- Difficulty concentrating, thinking, or making decisions.
- Experiencing thoughts of death and/or suicide idealization.
- Attempting suicide.
- These symptoms will disrupt and impair people’s daily life, making it difficult for them to function well in their personal and professional life.
- To be Major Depressive Disorder, these signs cannot be the physiological effects of a drug, substance, or another medical condition.
- Another mental health disorder cannot more adequately explain these symptoms.
- These symptoms cannot be accompanied by a manic or hypomanic episode to be major depressive disorder.
Did you recognize anything on this list? A counselor, therapist, or doctor should only make a diagnosis, but if you are experiencing these symptoms, it may be time to reach out for help. Finding the right diagnosis is of utmost important for finding the right treatment. Depression can manifest in a variety of ways. For example, Seasonal Affective Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, and Adjustment Disorder are all forms of depression. Skilled mental health professionals can often help their clients find the right diagnosis and the right treatment plan for their unique symptoms.
Treating Depression: A Multi-Faceted Approach
Depression is a tricky and ruthless disease, but there are treatment options that are effective against it. It often takes a therapist’s or counselor’s guidance to find the right treatment, but many people have rediscovered happiness and hope. Just as depression affects many areas of a person’s life, treatment often requires a multi-faceted approach. While each person need a unique treatment plan, most of those plans will include some form of medication and some form of talk-based therapy. The medication can lessen symptoms so that people feel like themselves again. The therapy empowers people to heal wounds and build their coping skills.
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
Starting Therapy for Depression with Thriveworks Harrisonburg
If you are ready to work with a mental health professional because of your depression, consider working with the professionals at Thriveworks Harrisonburg. Our counselors and therapists understand that living with depression is hard. Scheduling therapy should be easy. When you call our office, a person will answer and help you make an appointment. That appointment may be within 24 hours. We accept many forms of insurance, and we offer weekend and evening session.
Let’s work together for better mental health. Call Thriveworks Harrisonburg today.