It is human to feel sad at times. Feeling the entire emotional spectrum is natural and healthy, including the perceived “negative” emotions. After all, feeling sad sometimes makes those happier times feel all the sweeter. However, this is not the case with someone that is struggling with depression.
The term “depressed” has become commonplace in the English language and everyday conversation. Often, the use of the term does not fit the situation. It is because of this that many people disregard the severity of actual diagnosed clinical depression.
Yes, depression has different levels of severity, but on the clinical scale, even the least severe is worth treating. Depression can have devastating and lasting effects. Many times the focus is on these effects as emotional, but depression can have some serious physical effects as well.
Depression Is Much More Than “Feeling Sad”
No one should minimize another person’s “sadness,” but it is important to be able to differentiate whether that sadness is abnormal or not. According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), “Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest.” The key word in that definition is “persistent.”
The DSM-5 offers a relatively broad definition there, but a good indicator of whether or not someone should seek help is if a depressive mood begins interfering with everyday life. It is also important to understand the symptoms of depression because due to “false perceptions, nearly 60% of people with depression do not seek medical help.”
The Warning Signs: Determining if Depression Is Present
If you suspect that you or someone you know has depression, here are a few of the warning signs to look out for:
- Losing interest in once pleasurable activities
- Experiencing constant feelings of guilt or worry
- Having trouble concentrating or putting together complete thoughts or ideas
- Exhibiting self-harm
- Having suicidal thoughts
These are primarily, but certainly, not all, the emotional and behavioral symptoms that exist with depression. There are also significant physical symptoms that can be present and persistent.
The Physical Symptoms of Depression
People struggling with depression often have trouble communicating what they are going through. This can be due to the fear of stigma, feeling like they will be misunderstood, or they do not believe in the significance of their feelings. Due to this lack of communication, it can be challenging to determine if someone is suffering. That is why understanding and being able to spot the physical symptoms of depression can be so essential.
Some of the physical symptoms of depression to be aware of include experiencing:
- A lack of energy or feeling exceptionally fatigued
- Disturbances or disruptions in sleeping patterns
- Chronic joint pain, back pain, and/or limb pain
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Changes in appetite
- Excessive weight gain or weight loss
- Psychomotor activity changes, which may include pacing around the room, tapping toes, or rapid talking
The Dangers of Untreated Depression
The dangers of untreated depression are varied and wide-ranging. As previously mentioned, the symptoms of depression can not only be emotionally taxing but deadly as well.
When undiagnosed, depression’s symptoms can lead to unintended consequences for the individual struggling. Depression can lead to relationship strain and potential divorce. It can lead to occupational disruption, even potential termination. It can lead to “solutions” of self-medication, such as alcohol and/or substance misuse or abuse. Of course, one of the primary dangers of depression is, in severe cases, self-harm, intentional overdose, and even suicide. If you or a loved one is struggling with depression, its important to prioritize treatment.
More Treatment Modalities for Depression
The good news is that there are numerous ways to treat depression, many of which have shown incredible efficacy. While we don’t claim to hold a monopoly on recovery, here at The Phoenix Recovery Center, we only use evidence-based treatments, so that is what we will discuss here.
One of the ways to treat depression that has been shown effective is with medications. Some more common medications for depression are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and atypical antidepressants. These medications are also best administered in tandem with psychotherapy. If you think medication can help treat your depression, talk with a medical professional today.
Some of the psychotherapies that have been shown effective in treating depression are cognitive-behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy. These therapies not only delve into the underlying roots of depression but also offer tools and exercises to change the behaviors associated with them.
Just as clinical depression runs the scale of severity, the treatments for it are vast. However, it is crucial to seek the best treatment available because feeling sad should not be the only feeling a person has.
Seeking Treatment at the Phoenix Recovery Center CTA
Many people often minimize depression. The reason for this is misinformation and the prevalence of misrepresented discussions on depression in the public sphere. This is a critical mistake. Depression is a serious mental health issue, and it needs to be treated as such.
Depression can have a myriad of symptoms that not only impede everyday life but can also threaten your physical health. Here at The Phoenix Recovery Center, we understand the severity of the symptoms of depression. This is why we focus on evidence-based treatments to help our clients recover. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to depression, but we can help you or a loved one healthily manage the symptoms moving forward. For more information, please call The Phoenix Recovery Center at (801) 438-3185.