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If you find yourself saying, “Why am I so depressed” often without there being any reasonable explanation you may be suffering from clinical depression. Thankfully, the shame and stigma associated with depression in the past has lifted to a large extent. Nowadays, there are many treatments available for depression and people are much more open about having suffered or suffering from it.
Depression is a medical illness. It is normal to recover from the feelings of sadness and loneliness that we all experience from time to time without any real treatment. However, depression does not simply pass with time. This is a mental illness that requires legitimate forms of intervention and a structured treatment plan under the supervision of trained medical professionals.
While doctors require symptoms of depression to be persistent for two weeks or more in order to diagnose, the symptoms of depression can build slowly over years. They can be so subtle that a patient doesn’t realise they are suffering from the illness until it is extremely advanced. This isn’t at all unusual.
It’s also not unusual for people who suffer from depression to feel they have no right to. We mistakenly think that depression has to be caused by some catastrophic event, or extreme hardship in our lives. Unfortunately, depression doesn’t discriminate and can affect anyone, no matter how great your life may be.
Sometimes it is caused by a major life event, and sometimes it is caused by nothing more than a chemical imbalance in the brain. No matter what the cause of your depression though, there is bound to be a treatment option for you.
There are many reasons for feeling depressed. Depression may be brought on by feelings of:
Some people are genetically predisposed towards depression. This means that if the illness runs in your family, you are more likely to develop it yourself. Other sufferers become depressed due to changes in their blood chemistry. This could be down to a lack of serotonin which is the chemical responsible for the feeling of happiness.
Furthermore, the causes of depression can even extend to the weather as is the case for those suffering from seasonal affective disorder. Post-traumatic stress disorder is often caused by exposure to violence or life threatening experiences. The possible causes of this illness really are infinite.
Up to 90% of people who suffer from depression are able to be treated successfully. You would need to consult a health professional who will do a physical examination as well as an interview and an in-depth evaluation. The medical professional will perhaps do blood tests and scans to determine whether the depression is brought on by physical conditions such as thyroid problems.
Once the diagnosis has been determined, a course of treatment can be laid out. This may involve medication or psychotherapy and other treatments, or a combination of these. Medication such as antidepressants can help depression sufferers find some relief within the first week or two of use, although it may take up to 3 months before the full benefits are noticed.
Antidepressant medication is usually continued for up to 6 months after the benefits become noticeable. If required, this period of time may be extended further. However, it is not uncommon for patients to have to try a number of different medications before they find one that is right for them. This is because antidepressant medications can come with some nasty side effects.
Psychotherapy is also referred to as ‘talk therapy’ and refers to treatment such as single or group counseling, one on one sessions with a psychologist as well as cognitive behavioral therapy which assists in changing ways of thinking and specific behaviors related to depression.
If you’ve been asking yourself, “Why am I so depressed” psychotherapy is defintely worth considering. There are no side effects and the results are very positive for most people.
Lifestyle changes can be helpful to those suffering from milder forms of depression. They include:
Counseling is only one of the options for treating depression. It can be very beneficial and can provide relief from depressive symptoms after just a few sessions. Many people chose to see a therapist regularly throughout their lives in order to help them cope with life’s challenges and prevent the development of depression. This can be extremely effective.
For other people suffering from severe clinical depression caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, this may not be enough and medication is required. It is always best practice to consult with a medical professional and develop a course of action together that best suits you as an individual and your specific needs. Your health professional can also assist in restructuring your treatment should it not be working for you.
If you think you might be suffering from depression, don’t be embarrassed or ashamed. The statistics on depression are alarmingly high. These high rates mean that there are more options for treating depression than ever before. Whether you chose to try counselling or speak to your family doctor about antidepressant medications straight away, you can find a way to treat your illness and move forward to a happier, healthier life.