May 1, 2024

What Exactly Happens in Depression?

woman depressed on couch

What Exactly Happens in Depression?

Depression is a mood disorder that affects over 264 million people worldwide. Contrary to popular belief, depression is more than fleeting sadness; it profoundly impacts emotions, physical well-being, behavior, and even cognitive abilities. Depression can significantly hurt a person’s important relationships, negatively affect job performance, diminish one’s ability to act on beneficial opportunities, increase chances of certain diseases, affect a person’s weight, shorten life span, and more. These affects combined with the sheer scope of people affected renders depression as a significant cause of disability worldwide. In 2018, it was estimated that the economic burden of depression among adults in the United States was $236 Billion. 

Depression is a multifaceted disorder influenced by a confluence of biological, social, and psychological factors. Genetic predisposition, imbalances in neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, social stressors like significant life events or interpersonal conflicts, and maladaptive coping mechanisms all contribute to its development and persistence. Looking deeper into the details surrounding depression, we can understand its symptoms, causes, and what can be done to help those who suffer from it.

Unveiling the Complexity of Depression

Depression is characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness, sleep disturbances, suicidal thoughts and/or decreased interest in pleasurable activities. It transcends demographic boundaries, affecting people irrespective of age, financial status, gender, or ethnicity. By dispelling myths surrounding depression, such as attributing it to personal weakness, we can foster a more supportive environment conducive to seeking help and implementing effective interventions.

Understanding Clinical Depression

Clinical depression is also known as Major Depressive Disorder. Although Clinical Depression can have some similar symptoms as depression, the symptoms are generally more severe and lasting longer. The World Health Organization (WHO) has projected that Major depressive disorder will rank as the number one cause of the burden of disease by the year 2030. Major depressive disorder can have a massive effect on the lives of not only of those diagnosed with it, but also on the lives of those around them. Symptoms of Major depressive disorder are generally severe enough to cause negative effects in relationships of all types (romantic, familial, work, school, and/or social activities).

Symptoms of Clinical Depression may include:

  • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, guilt, or emptiness
  • Frustration, irritability, or anger
  • Loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities
  • Sleep disturbances including insomnia or even sleeping too much
  • Tiredness, lack of energy, difficulty thinking or moving
  • Agitation or restlessness
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
  • Unexplained physical pain or problems, often back pain or headaches
  • Thoughts of death, suicidal ideations, and/or suicidal attempts 

A Holistic View of Depression Symptoms

Depression can affect a person’s mental, emotional, physical, and financial health. It also can affect their ability to function in relationships, school, and/or work. Depression alters cognitive processes, leading to difficulties in concentration, memory impairment, and negative thought patterns. Behaviorally, individuals with depression may withdraw from social interactions, experience diminished motivation, and exhibit lethargy, thus exacerbating their sense of isolation and disconnection from the world.

Treatment Modalities for Depression Management

Lifestyle modifications serve as the cornerstone of depression management, encompassing strategies such as prioritizing adequate sleep, regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and stress management techniques like mindfulness or relaxation exercises. A meta-analysis but The BMJ revealed that certain types of exercises stand out as particularly beneficial for managing depression. You can read more about that by clicking here.

Traditional pharmaceutical antidepressants have also been used to treat symptoms of depression. Some examples of these traditional antidepressants are SSRIs (Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), SNRIs (Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), Serotonin Modulators, atypical antidepressants, TCAs (Tricyclic antidepressants), and MAOIs (Monoamine oxidase inhibitors). While these effective for some individuals, the response to antidepressants varies, necessitating close monitoring and adjustments under medical supervision. Serotonin-related traditional antidepressants have faced scrutiny in recent years when a recent paper seems to have possibly debunked the serotonin theory of depression. The study showed that the serotonin theory is not supported by scientific evidence. 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) represents a pivotal psychosocial intervention for depression, focusing on identifying and challenging maladaptive thought patterns and behaviors. Through collaborative efforts between therapist and patient, CBT fosters adaptive coping mechanisms and promotes positive cognitive restructuring.

Ketamine Therapy has gained attention for its remarkable potential in treating depression. Ketamine’s unique mechanism of action affects the brain’s glutamate system, specifically the NMDA receptors. Ketamine Therapy helps promote the growth of new synaptic connections on the brain which can create fast and robust antidepressant effects. Ketamine Infusion Therapy provides benefits over other forms of ketamine therapy like nasal spray or lozenges. With Ketamine Infusion Therapy, the Patient Care Provider is able to make expert adjustments during the treatment to create optimal patient results. Having a Patient Care Provider physically present during the entire treatment also provides another level of safety that is not always available with telehealth treatments.

Understanding Depression Subtypes and Tailored Interventions

Depression encompasses diverse subtypes, each presenting with unique symptomatology and challenges. From major depressive disorder and persistent depressive disorder to postpartum depression and seasonal affective disorder, a nuanced understanding of these variations enables personalized treatment plans tailored to individual needs.

Seeking Support and Treatment for Depression

Acknowledging the complexity of depression and its impact necessitates seeking professional help and support. The diagnostic process involves evaluations and mental health assessments to inform evidence-based treatment decisions.

Treatment avenues encompass lifestyle modifications, psychotherapy, support groups, traditional antidepressant medication, ketamine therapy or a combination thereof, tailored to individual needs and preferences. By proactively seeking help and engaging in appropriate interventions, individuals can embark on a path towards recovery and improved quality of life.

In Conclusion

Depression is a multifaceted disorder with far-reaching implications for individuals and society at large. By fostering awareness, understanding, and access to evidence-based interventions, we can mitigate the stigma surrounding depression and empower individuals to seek timely support and embark on a journey towards healing and resilience.

If you think that you or someone you know may be struggling with depression, know that help is available. Mind Body Centers provides personalized Ketamine Infusion Treatment and has helped thousands of patients struggling with depression. Our offices are located in Arizona, Colorado, and Minnesota, and we are dedicated to providing comprehensive care and support.

You can reach us by clicking here or calling 1-855-481-9605.

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