What is Depression?
Let’s start with what depression isn’t; it isn’t simply feeling sad. Yes, sadness is a symptom of depression, but depression goes so much deeper than being sad. Depression is a conglomeration of symptoms surrounding the sadness that massively impacts one’s ability to function. Depression is a feeling of utter hopelessness, dead ends, walls crushing in on you, no light at the end of the tunnel, a weight that crushes you. Putting on my nerd hat, depression is Sisyphus pushing the boulder up a hill only to have it roll back down.
What causes depression?
Depression can be caused by multiple things. A major life event or loss can lead to depression, or several small life frustrations can lead to depression. Some who are prone to depression may in fact be unaware what led to their current state. Others can pinpoint the exact moment it began and what the inciting event was. Again, I want to stress though, that depression isn’t simply sadness – people get sad and that’s a normal emotion. When a loved one passes, or a relationship ends, or you move away from your comfortable home and job; these things can all make you sad. Do they impact your functioning though? Do they make it hard to sleep at night, for nights on end? Do they make you not want to get up in the morning? Do they make you not eat or stress eat? These are the times when depression becomes a question.
How do you treat depression?
Depression is an illness, not a choice. You can’t simply “snap out of it” or move on or get over it. It is more than just how you feel. Depression needs treatment by trained professionals. Treatment can be through a variety of methods - a form of talk therapy, behavioral changes, and/or medication usage. Often a combination of these is necessary for effective management. Getting evaluated for depression is the first step. It lets you discuss how you have been feeling and what is going on/getting in the way of life.
Why treat depression?
Of course, the obvious comes to mind – depression feels terrible. It is not the way anyone deserves to feel, so it is important to treat it. Depression is also a major factor for other physical illnesses. People with untreated depression have more incidents (and more poorly controlled) diabetes, heart disease, lost work productivity, and higher medical costs. Depression is expensive! So if you aren’t convinced that treating it will give you a better quality of life, how about considering that depression will help you save money – we all like to save money, right?
Seeking treatment is not a sign of weakness or “giving in” any more than calling a plumber; quite frankly, a rather appropriate comparison. You can try to go at it yourself, but it’ll cost you in the long run. If you or a loved one is struggling with depression, or any other mental health issue, please seek treatment. There are a lot of good and effective ways to achieve this, so please contact myself (or someone else local to you) and get help. If you need treatment from an addiction psychiatrist, please contact me at 954-755-2885. I am located at 5551 North University Drive, Suite 202, Coral Springs, Florida 33067, part of Kimmel Psychology.