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Depression: Warning Signs, Diagnosis, and Treatment

During a difficult period in life, it is normal to experience negative feelings like sadness, anger, and hopelessness. However, for some, those negative feelings happen frequently and may come out of the blue. Depression is more than a feeling—it is a mood disorder that can make it challenging to function in daily life because of the psychological and physical symptoms. Having depression doesn’t mean you are weak or sick— but it may mean you need help to feel better. My Psychiatrist offers individualized depression treatment at our Florida locations Hollywood, Oakland Park and South Miami.

Types Of Depression

There are a few types of depression that can be caused by a range of factors. A professional can diagnose the type of depression you may have, which is key to treating it correctly. People often feel shame or guilt about their depression, but there is no need to feel this way–all types of depression can be treated effectively to relieve symptoms.

How is Depression Diagnosed?

Depression can be diagnosed in a number of ways by a variety of different professionals. For example, you can receive a depression diagnosis from your primary care physician or your mental health care provider. In most cases, patients and clients voice concern regarding their symptoms, allowing either a doctor or mental health professionals to dig deeper and provide them with an official diagnosis. In some cases, however, depression goes undetected if the patient or client does not speak up about symptoms or if the medical or mental health care provider does not conduct the proper screenings. 

Mental health professionals typically utilize the Patient Health Questionnaire, or PHQ, when looking to analyze potential symptoms of depression. This specific questionnaire will require clients to rate how often they experience symptoms of depression. Not only will these answers help mental health professionals identify the frequency that a client is experiencing symptoms, but it will also clarify which symptoms are most prominent for them. Therefore, they can make a diagnosis if applicable as well as proceed with a treatment plan based on the severity of the client’s depression. 

Medical health care providers can also make a diagnosis of depression should they feel their patient is experiencing symptoms. Similar to mental health professionals, a primary care physician, nurse practitioners, or other medical providers can technically make the same diagnosis by utilizing screening services, too. However, they tend not to have as much knowledge about mental health conditions, which is why they often refer their patients out to a mental health professional for continued care. 

How is Depression Treated?

While depression can be an extremely distressing mental health condition, it can be treated. Individuals who receive appropriate depression treatment experience a reduction in their symptoms as well as develop the skills needed to manage their depression effectively. Depending on the needs of the individual, their depression treatment may include the use of prescription medications, therapy, and/or medical treatments.

Medication

Depression is a result of an imbalance in the chemistry of the brain, therefore the use of medication is usually the most common first step in treating depression. The most common types of antidepressant medications include SSRIs, SNRIs, MAOIs, and TCAs:

  • SSRIs – Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, include common medications such as Prozac, citalopram, sertiline,and escitalopram.
  • SNRIs – Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, or SNRIs, include Effexor, Cymbalta, and Pristiq
  • MAOIs – Monamine oxidase inhibitors, or MAOIs, include Marplan, Nardil, and Emsam
  • TCAs – Tricyclic antidepressants include amitriptyline, amoxapine, and desipramine.

Each individual is prescribed with a medication that best meets their treatment needs. Most antidepressant medications require a few weeks to build in one’s system, meaning that their effects do not usually take action straight away. Thankfully, though, while individuals are waiting for their medication to work, they can also engage in other types of care to relieve symptoms, such as therapy. 

Therapy

Therapy connects individuals struggling with depression to mental health professionals who can assist in their healing. The majority of therapies that those with depression engage in are conducted in a one-on-one setting. In some cases, therapy can be provided in a group setting. The most common therapies that are used to treat depression include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy, and psychodynamic therapy. These are certainly not the only types of therapies applied to those with depression, as there are several others that can be effective, too. Additionally, many individuals receive a combined therapeutic approach to their care, meaning that they engage in more than one type of therapy. 

Medical Treatments

The vast majority of people with depression respond well to a combination of medication and therapy for their treatment. However, there are many who find that their depression does not respond to this traditional way of healing. For those who are experiencing treatment-resistant depression (TRD), they can benefit from specific medical treatments. 

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is the top medical treatment used to help treat depression in those with TRD. This non-invasive, painless procedure utilizes a coil to help stimulate certain areas of the brain to reduce the symptoms of depression. TMS can be conducted in different speeds and frequencies so that each patient receives the specialized care they need. 

Living With and Coping With Depression

If you are living with depression, then you are already aware of just how painful it can be to deal with this mental health condition on a day-to-day basis — especially when untreated. Continuing to attempt to cope with depression on your own can be completely overwhelming and take a repetitive hit at your self-confidence. That is why if you have depression, getting help is the best, most effective option available to you. 

Receiving depression treatment Florida can help do a number of things. Not only does it help reduce the intensity of symptoms, but treatment can also help you learn how to cope with your depression in a healthy way. There is no cure for depression, but it can be treated. This means that it is up to you to make the changes you need to improve your overall quality of life. 

Millions of people struggle with depression, but are also able to maintain their wellbeing as they experience this mental health condition. That is often large in part to receiving medication, therapy, or medical treatments to help address symptoms. If you are depressed and are finding it hard to cope with your depression, reaching out for professional help is the first and most important thing you must do so that you can begin learning how to live a happy life and how to cope well.

How to Know When to See a Psychiatrist for Depression

It can be easy to dismiss symptoms of depression by blaming symptoms on other things. For instance, you might excuse your feelings of being irritable or extremely tired and place blame on something like working too hard or not getting enough rest. But sometimes, these and other symptoms can be signals that a bigger problem is occurring. 

It might be time to see a psychiatrist for depression if you are experiencing any of all of the following:

  • Loss of interest in things that you used to enjoy
  • Feeling a general sense of hopelessness about the future
  • Problems sleeping (either too much or too little)
  • Changes in eating behaviors (either overeating or not eating enough)
  • Increased irritability and agitation
  • Feeling anxious
  • Thinking about death or having thoughts of suicide
  • Abusing drugs or alcohol in an effort to alter your mood

These are just some of the signs that you may be experiencing depression. Seeking depression treatment Florida is absolutely critical, and the sooner you see a professional, the more likely you are to have success in your treatment.

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