Depression is a serious disease that affects millions of people each year. It is not a personal weakness or condition that can be willed or wished away.
Although there is no known single cause of depression, it is believed that an interaction between genetic, biochemical, environmental and psychosocial factors may play a role. The good news is depression can be treated and the staff at iTherapy can help.
A person is diagnosed with depression if she/he exhibits five or more of the following symptoms for at least two weeks:
- Feeling sad, hopeless, worthless or pessimistic
- Having extreme difficulty concentrating
- Fatigue and lack of energy
- Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
- Feelings of worthlessness, self-hate and inappropriate guilt
- Inactivity and withdrawal from usual activities, a loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed (such as sex)
- Weight gain or loss with dramatic changes in appetite
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Trouble sleeping or excessive sleeping
While depression can be treated in a variety of ways, studies show that a combination of medication and counseling is more effective than either therapy or medication alone. Medications may include tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and some newer antidepressant drugs. Antidepressant medications can be very effective, but some may not be appropriate for everyone.
Call your doctor right away if:
- You hear voices that are not there.
- You have frequent crying spells with little or no provocation.
- You have had feelings of depression that disrupt work, school or family life for longer than two weeks.
- You think that one of your current medications may be making you feel depressed. DO NOT change or stop any medications without consulting your doctor.
- You believe that you should cut back on drinking, a family member or friend has asked you to cut back, you feel guilty about the amount of alcohol you drink or you drink alcohol first thing in the morning.
If you or someone you know may be suffering from depression, please request an appointment with an iTherapy counselor to discuss your concerns.