Overview of Adult Depression
Depression affects about 14.8 million Americans a year, or about 6.7% of the US population in a given year. This is a serious disorder that causes pain and suffering to the individual and their loved ones. Moreover, the economic loss from an inability to work or decreased productivity from depression is staggering, about $11 billion a year.
Why can’t I just “wait it out?”
Depression is debilitating and years of thriving and happiness are lost by people who choose to “wait it out.” Relationships are irretrievably broken, jobs are lost, and a cycle of guilt and worthlessness continues. People with a “tough it out” attitude can often experience more severe, prolonged, and frequent episodes of depression than those who choose to pursue treatment. Depression is not curable, but it can be managed and treated.
Is the answer always medicine?
A resounding no! Talk therapy is always indicated for those having trouble managing their moods. Many times a depressed person is thinking incorrect, automatic thoughts that have deep roots in their core beliefs about themselves. A trained, empathic individual can shed light and insight into the depressed person’s life and show where their thoughts are incorrect and how to replace them with balanced ones. Many times a relationship with a good therapist can be all one needs to manage their depression.
Also, many people neglect basic human self-care prior to or during episodes of depression. Things like daily sunshine, good sleep, limiting screen time, cardio exercise, healthy eating and avoiding junk food, taking vitamins, getting involved with other people in groups or hobbies, having something to look forward to (like a vacation), pursuing learning—all of these are important human components. To neglect one for a long time will be stressful on one’s mental health.
When might one consider depression medication?
If one is engaged in therapy as best as they can, as well as trying to manage their self-care, and is still struggling with depression, this is the time to consider medication under the guidance of a medical professional. Also, if one has severe symptoms of depression, or is have suicidal thinking, this is definitely the time to consult your doctor. Successful medication does not erase all one’s problems, but it improved symptoms and boost mood. Oftentimes this allows the patient to then more actively and successfully engage in their talk therapy with their therapist, whereas before they were too depressed to gain insight about themselves or implement any coping skills or techniques they learned in therapy.