Depression Treatment

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Photo of two people holding hands during talk therapy, a depression treatment.

Depression Treatment

Depression is not the same as feeling sad. There are times in all of our lives when we feel down, sad, or blue. This is often a normal reaction to life’s struggles–personal loss, financial hardship, relationship issues, and more. But in time, these feelings usually pass. When these feelings become increasingly more intense and last for weeks or months at a time, and you have trouble managing life the way you used to, it could be a sign of clinical depression. Clinical depression is a common and serious illness that affects your mind, body, and thoughts.

What is depression?

Depression, or major depressive disorder, is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It changes how a person feels emotionally and physically. Left untreated, depression can be deadly; it is a common factor in suicide. This is why it is so important to seek depression treatment.

Depression treatment options

The good news is that even the most severe depression is treatable. People who seek treatment often get well. So if your depression is keeping you from living the life you want, seek help. From talk therapy to lifestyle changes to medication, there are many effective depression treatments to help you reclaim your life. Our therapists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychiatrists are here and ready to support you.

Signs and symptoms of depression include:

  1. Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
  2. Loss of interest in daily activities. You don’t care anymore about former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
  3. Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5 percent of body weight in a month.
  4. Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping.
  5. Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
  6. Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
  7. Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
  8. Reckless behavior. You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
  9. Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
  10. Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical symptoms such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.

Chronic stress and depression

When the brain is flooded with the stress hormone cortisol, people get a boost in energy because cortisol helps regulate how the body uses blood sugar, fat, carbohydrates and protein, among other things.

Over time, however, when people are under chronic stress, that useful burst of cortisol becomes a problem. People experience increased blood pressure as vessels constrict, increased gastric acid production in the stomach, a suppressed immune system, and increased blood sugar that can lead to weight gain. Long-term exposure to stress hormones affects the brain’s primary memory center, which can result in memory loss and impaired learning, and it can interrupt sleep, increase anxiety, and lead to major depression.

Depression help and depression treatments

If you’re feeling dejected, sad, and/or hopeless, consider making an appointment with one of our behavioral health therapists. You can connect with us in person, via telephone, or by video conferencing. (You don’t have to be a medical patient at MCHC to receive counseling/therapy here.) Our therapists create a safe, non-judgmental space where you can share your concerns and we can help you develop solutions that are a good fit for you. Although we may not be able to change the world around you, we can help you change how you feel about it, and sometimes, that’s enough.

Free and confidential urgent/ emergency support

  1. Immediate support (either a crisis or just feeling stressed or overwhelmed), call or text 988
  2. Schedule a time for support, call 707-472-2311

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide call 988 (it’s like 911 but for mental health emergencies). You can also simply go to your nearest hospital emergency room.

If you just need to talk to someone, call the Mendocino County Warm Line, a non-crisis telephone line that provides emotional support and compassion to people having a rough time. Call 707-472-2311 or 1-833-955-2510.

The Warm Line is free and confidential. You don’t need to have a behavioral health concern to call. If you’re feeling stressed, isolated, overwhelmed, or just need emotional support, you can talk to someone Monday through Friday from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm (outside of business hours, you can leave a message and someone will call you the next business day).