A Crippling Condition

Depression affects hundreds of millions of people around the world, and its frequency is only increasing. It’s more than just feeling sad. It’s characterized by feelings of hopelessness, pessimism, guilt, helplessness, sadness, and worthlessness. There is no aspect of life that it doesn’t touch. Motivation and concentration can be many times more difficult for someone suffering from depression. Activities and hobbies once enjoyed may lose their appeal. Energy may decrease, fatigue may become normal, sleep may suffer, and eating behaviors may change.

People who don’t understand it well may tell someone who is depressed to “just get over it” or “just be happy”. That’s not the way depression works though. Depression is a legitimate illness. It just happens to be a mental illness, rather than a physical one with physical symptoms that are readily visible and recognizable to other people. Further complicating things is the fact that there are multiple forms of depression including seasonal affective disorder, dysthymia, and major depression.

Causes of Depression

Unfortunately, there is no one single cause of depression. It’s much more complex than that. Depression is believed to be a result of a variety of factors including genetics, environment, biology, and psychology. It may be triggered by trauma or negative life experiences. Other times, it may have no apparent trigger.

Changes in brain chemistry may cause depression in some people. Brain scans of those who suffer from depression have shown that their brains look different from those who do not, though it isn’t always clear what changes cause depression and what changes are a result of it.

Genetics appear to have a role to play as well, at least in some cases. In the case of identical twins, if one suffers from depression, there is a 70% chance the other will at some point as well. Sometimes it appears to run in a family, further suggesting that genetics may be a factor.

Common Treatments

As crippling as depression can be, there is good news: it’s considered highly treatable. As with many illnesses, both mental and physical, the earlier treatment begins, the better it typically goes. It’s important to consult a doctor at the beginning of treatment. Some medical conditions like a thyroid disorder or viral infections can mimic the symptoms of depression and should be ruled out before treatment begins. There are a variety of treatment options, with medication and psychotherapy being the most common. Cognitive behavioral psychotherapy is also a common treatment.

Depression and TMS

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a noninvasive treatment for various disorders, including depression. It’s proven to be exceptionally effective, and is an excellent choice for people who want an effective form of treatment that doesn’t rely on medication. It works by using magnetic fields to stimulate the nerve cells in your brain. 80% of TMS patients experience significant improvement, with 50% going into complete remission.

The high rate at which people suffer depression doesn’t reduce how serious it can be. This mental illness touches every aspect of life, harming health, relationships, and quality of life. There is hope, however. Treatment is available, and recovery is possible. Let us help you on your journey.

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