THE MANY FACES OF DEPRESSION
An estimated 19 million American adults are currently living with major depression. Unfortunately, only 20% of people with clinical depression get the kind of help they need (Archives of General Psychiatry). Even though depression is sometimes referred to as the “common cold” of mental health, its effects can be devastating and life-threatening.
- The symptoms can include difficulty concentrating, feeling sad or hopeless, a loss of interest in pleasurable activities, sleep disturbances, and decreased energy.
- Interestingly, women experience different symptoms from men. Women, who experience depression twice as much as men, may experience sadness, or feeling down or blue, while men are more likely to feel angry or irritable, isolate themselves or use alcohol or bury themselves in work to lessen their pain.
- 69% of people report only physical symptoms when depressed (New England Journal of Medicine).
- There are also many subtypes of depression that may present with different symptoms.
Because God made us as spirit, mind and body, we need treatments that address the whole person and accurately assess the underlying causes.
PHYSICAL CAUSES: Depression may have physical causes, such as hypothyroidism, Cushing’s Syndrome, frontal lobe brain tumors, traumatic brain injury, sleep apnea, insomnia, stroke, vitamin D deficiency, hormone imbalance, anemia or chemical imbalance.
PSYCHOLOGICAL ROOTS: Depression may have psychological roots in harmful thinking habits or deeper roots in childhood neglect or trauma. Grief is now recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as a cause of depression.
SPIRITUAL ROOTS: Depression may have its roots in a defective view of God as punishing or expecting perfection, leading to chronic guilt, or from real guilt from one’s past that may have been buried. As we dig deeper, we may find anger at God as a root of depression. To complicate things even further, many believe a Christian should never be depressed, which denies that we are spirit, mind AND body.
There may be multiple interrelated causes, as well, i.e., harmful thinking patterns may lead to a chemical imbalance. Chronic stress can also cause a chemical imbalance that may lead to depression. It is important to have a thorough evaluation to accurately assess the many factors that may have led to depression. An accurate assessment is more likely to lead to a treatment plan that works.
IS MEDICATION ALONE ENOUGH?
The treatments for depression are not as straightforward and simple as portrayed on popular television commercials for medications. Recent, large-scale research studies reveal that when treated alone with antidepressant medications, only about 30% of patients reach remission and maintain it for one year. Adding proven therapies that address the person’s spirit, mind and body to medication treatments has been shown to improve outcomes and significantly reduce the chance for relapse.
FREE DEPRESSION SCREENING
If you or a loved one is experiencing these symptoms, call for a free depression screening. (316) 313.2834.