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While awareness of mental health has increased over the last few years, it is not where it needs to be. People still perceive depression as a minor issue that affects a small portion of the population.
But they are wrong.
Around 17 million Americans suffer from at least one severe depressive episode per year. Within this, a whopping 13% of all people aged 18-25 years suffer from depression. Oh, and it is almost twice as common in females.
In short, depression is extremely common — and it is only getting worse.
While females aged 18-25 years are our biggest cause for concern, rates of depression in both teens and the elderly are also increasing on a yearly basis.
Something needs to give.
Depression and Suicide
Anyone who suffers from depression will speak of the challenges they face every single day.
The difficulty that comes with simply getting up out of bed in the morning. The overwhelming sense that no matter what you do, your life will amount to nothing. That no one likes you, and that you are completely and utterly worthless.
But what they often omit is the thoughts of ending it all.
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The genuine considerations of suicide.
But they are there.
Depression is known to play a role in more than 50% of all suicide attempts. Terribly, the lifetime risk of successful suicide in people with an untreated depressive disorder is around 20%.
This means that one in five people suffering from depression will commit suicuide in their lifetime.
A truly terrifying statistic — and hopefully enough to show that depression is more than just a ‘mild emotional issue’.
Symptoms to Look For
Taking the above into consideration, it is highly likely someone in your circle is currently suffering depression.
Whether they have spoken out or not, it is probable.
Which means you need to know what to look for. Some of most common signs of depression include:
● Not going out any more
● A loss of interest in things they previously enjoyed
● Declines in productivity
● Withdrawal from family and friends
● Increase in Alcohol/Drug consumption
● Inability to concentrate
● Emotional mood swings
● Irritable and frustrated
● A loss of confidence
● Generally sad, miserable, and unhappy
● Look tired all the time
● Appear sick and run down
● Experiencing headaches and muscle pains
● Sleep problems
● Change of appetite, and either rapid weight loss or gain
While this is far from a definitive list of depression signs, they are some of the most obvious — so pay close attention.
It could literally save a life.
One of the things that I really want to hammer home here is that while depression can have disastrous outcomes, there are treatments available. If you can actually talk to your loved one and get them to seek help, it will make a world of difference.
And here are some of the best options.
Find a therapist and try some talk therapy
Talking is incredibly important. It is where you build relationships and connect with other people on a real level. And more often than not, it provides a much needed opportunity to destress and speak about your fears and feelings.
But in modern day, we don’t really do much talking — and when we do, it is from behind a screen.
We have become isolated, rarely given the opportunity to speak freely about things that are actually happening in our lives.
Which is why recommending talk therapy to a loved one is a great option.
Talk therapy simply describes talking through your problems, feelings, and fears with a trained professional (normally a psychologist or psychoanalysis) — all without the fear of judgement.
These conversations will help you find the cause of your mental health issues, while also teaching you to better handle your emotions
It should come as no surprise that talk therapy has a massive impact on depression.
Antidepressants are one of the most common treatments for depression on the planet. And while they can come with some side effects, there is a reason why this is the case.
Because they work.
Antidepressants are a medication that provides a dose of brain chemicals (or “neurotransmitters”) directly into your brain. These chemicals alter the makeup of your brain, improving mood and emotional wellbeing in the process.
It is no wonder that they are such an effective treatment for depression.
However, if you are recommending these as a possible option to a friend or family member, you want them to be aware of the potential side effects.
These can include:
● Nausea and vomiting
● Weight gain
● Loss of sex drive
● Fatigue and drowsiness
● Blurred vision
● Anger and irritation
While these side effects will not occur in everyone, it is important that they are acknowledged.
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One of the more out there treatments that you can recommend is called ‘electroconvulsive therapy’ (or ECT for short).
This technology-backed treatment has actually been around quite a while. Although it has only become regularly used for depression over the last decade.
The reason I describe ECT as ‘out there’ is because of how it is implemented.
ECT is undertaken by a doctor, in an operating theatre, and under general anesthesia. It then involves a small electric shock being put straight into your brain. This shock causes a small seizure, which lasts for about 60 seconds..
While this may sound a little bit crazy, it is actually extremely effective.
This tiny seizure resets your brain, restoring its function back to normal. As a result, it has shown to treat even some of the most severe cases of depression.
While it probably shouldn’t be your first point of call, it is definitely worth recommending if you know someone who has been suffering with treatment resistant depression for a long time.
Last on this list we have transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
This is a relatively new depression treatment that helps improve brain function through the use of magnetic fields.
During a session of TMS, a small magnetic pad is placed on your head. When turned on, this pad sends magnetic pulses into your brain, activating the areas that control your mood and emotional control.
In turn, this increased activation improves mental state, enhances emotional well being, and reduces stress.
All of which leads to a marked reduction in depression symptoms.
Like ECT, TMS has been shown to be extremely effective — although it is often perceived to be slightly ‘less hardcore’. This means it might be a better recommendation for those who are a little bit squeamish.
These TMS Therapy Reviews show that a lot of people like you and me have already undergone TMS Therapy and came out changed – like the weight of the world has been lifted. If it worked for them, it works for all of us.
Take Home Point
While many people fail to realise the severity of mental health disorders, things are getting better. In general, awareness is increasing, and people are becoming more understanding of just how debilitating they can be.
More importantly, we are frequently seeing technological advancements targeted at improving depression treatments for the better. This means that some time in the near future, depression will become a thing of the past.
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