Everyone feels sad or depressed on occasion. When you have major depression, however, these feelings and related symptoms make it difficult to lead a full life. In some cases, depression is extremely debilitating, making it difficult to maintain a job, fulfilling relationships, or everyday responsibilities.
While it’s easy to feel alone when you live with this condition, that’s far from accurate. Statistically speaking, an estimated 6.7% of adults experience depression in a given year and nearly 17% of people endure it at some point.
Our compassionate mental health experts at Arundel Medical Group, Inc. diagnose and treat depression at our primary care practice in Glen Burnie, Maryland. If you’re contemplating suicide, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room for immediate support. Otherwise, read on to learn more about depression, including ways it can be effectively treated.
Symptoms of depression
Depression is a lot more than that “blues.” The serious medical illness significantly affects your moods, the ways you think, and your behaviors. Symptoms, which last for at least two weeks and range from mild to severe, and may include:
- Appetite and weight changes changes
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
- Fatigue or lack of energy
- Feeling chronically sad
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Loss of enjoyment or interest in activities you once loved
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Depression risk factors
Most anyone can experience depression, but certain factors raise your risk. You may have brain chemistry or genetic factors, for example, that predispose you to depression. You’re also at a higher risk for depression if you have low self-esteem, feel easily overwhelmed by stress, or have a generally pessimistic outlook. Trauma related to violence, neglect, poverty, and abuse can also fuel depression.
Situational factors, such as loss of a loved one, may bring on major depression, too. If you’re going through a grieving process without feelings of self-loathing or worthlessness, however, you’re probably not dealing with depression. If you have depression and grief sets in, you may find that the grieving process takes longer.
It’s important to know that depression is treatable. Treatment specifics vary, based on factors such as the severity of your symptoms. If our team believes you may have depression, a mental health screening can help confirm it or rule it out.
If it turns out that an underlying condition, such as thyroid disease, is causing depression-like symptoms, treatment will focus largely on that condition. If you do have depression, you may benefit from psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both.
To learn more about depression or get the mental health support you need, call our Arundel Medical Group, Inc. team, or request an appointment on our website. Our providers will work closely to ensure that your body and mind are cared for.