Depression is Common but Treatable

By Annette Pinder

Many of us have experienced an off day, where we feel sad. However, these feelings aren’t long-lasting, and pass within a day or two. For those suffering from depression, pain and sadness is a daily occurrence that often interferes with their lives.

Depression is serious, but many who have it never seek treatment, which is unfortunate, because depression can be treated and can get better. Medications, psychotherapies, and other methods are effective in treating depression.

According to Anne Constantino, President and CEO of Horizon Health Services, the most common forms of depression are major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, and situational depression.

Major depressive disorder, or major depression is characterized by symptoms that affect a person’s ability to carry out daily activities – eating, working, studying, and enjoying pleasurable activities. A disabling condition, some people experience a single episode of major depression in their lifetime, while others have multiple episodes.

Dysthymic disorder, or dysthymia is characterized by symptoms lasting two years or more. People with dysthymic disorder can typically carry out their daily activities, but feel sad or unwell most of the time. People with dysthymia can also experience periodic episodes of major depression.

Situational depression. We all have situations that can overwhelm our normal coping mechanisms, such as surviving a serious accident, experiencing a major illness, divorce, or a family crisis. Situational depression occurs when you have difficulty adapting to changes brought about by these experiences. People experiencing situational depression typically develop symptoms within 90 days following the event.

What are the signs of Depression? People with depressive illnesses do not all experience the same symptoms, and the severity and symptoms can vary. Some signs and feelings include:

  • Persistent sadness, anxiety, and feelings of emptiness
  • Hopelessness, pessimism, irritability, and restlessness
  • Guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, fatigue, and decreased energy
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex.
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions.
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Overeating, appetite-loss, aches and pains, headaches, cramps, digestive problems
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts

Depression is a very treatable condition. Constantino says, “Psychotherapy (talk therapy), medications or a combination of the two can be very effective in managing symptoms. At Horizon Health our mental health professional’s work with individuals to find the right therapy based on symptoms and severity of the depression.” Constantino tells people that it is important to be patient and hopeful, as it may take some time to find the right medication or treatment. Most important, says Constantino is that, “People who suspect they may be suffering from depression make an appointment to see a doctor or health care provider. The sooner they take action, the more quickly can their condition be addressed.”

WNY Resource:
Horizon Health Services offers comprehensive, person-centered care in treating depression, and other mental health and substance use disorders. Services include outpatient, detox, inpatient rehabilitation, residential treatment, continuing care, and support to individuals and families. Horizon has over 20 locations across Western New York. Call the 716-831-1800 to make an appointment, and visit www.horizon-health.org.