Depression is a painful, complex diagnosis that, according to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance and the National Institute of Mental Health affects 14.8 million Americans each year (6.7% of the U.S. population 18 years and older). Additionally, depression impacts women more often than men. This issue may have less to do with men not feeling depressed, but more to do with a failure to report due to social stigmas, rules surrounding men expressing emotions and the differences of how depression manifests within the male body. While depression impacts a large percentage of our U.S. population, it is important to understand what are the symptoms. These feelings and experiences may look like any of the following:
- Sadness, despair, sense of loss
- Apathy, indifference, low or no motivation
- Inability to experience excitement or pleasure across all spheres of one’s life
- Low self esteem, lack of confidence
- Irritability, easy frustration, anger
- Feelings of guilty, self-blame, self-hatred
- Feelings of hopelessness and/or helplessness
- More intensely painful
- Lasts longer
- Interferes with day-to-day functioning
- Destructive emotions
- Interferes with one’s social interactions, behavior, thinking, and biological functioning.
While gaining help is not simply a one size fits all process, there are many forms of treatment that is evidence and best practice approaches. I will walk through several of the modalities that are highly recommended.
There are loads of texts published today on the topic of depression and cognitive behavioral techniques individuals can challenge their thinking, depression, and feelings to self help. While some of these books may not be helpful for everyone, they can be very insightful components to any of the following treatment modalities.
The treatment of depression through prescription anti-depressants can be highly effective. Many anti-depressants are also known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). There are dozens of SSRI’s prescribed today, including Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft. These type of medications are particularly important if your depression feels biological, not stemming from anything acute or chronic within your environment.
If you are able to identify with these issues with clinical depression or you know someone who does, the most effective treatment for clinical depression is seeking a mental health provider(s) for support. This may take the form of psychiatrists (MD - both medication able and non-medical psychotherapist), Clinical Social Workers (LCSW or LMSW), Marriage Family Therapist (LMFT), or Mental Health Counselors (LMHC). These professionals are specific to NY state and may vary if you live in other states.
Preston, John. You Can Beat Depression: A Guide to Recovery. San Luis Obispo, CA: Impact, 1989. Print.