Depression in Mental Health Treatment │ Valor Behavioral Health

Depression is a common mental health disorder that affects approximately 280 million people [cb1] worldwide. 

Depression is a common mental health disorder that affects people of all ages, though it is most prevalent in teens and adults. An estimated 17% of the adolescent population[cb2]  and 20.6% of adults [cb3] in the United States suffer from depression. 

Depression can be caused by various factors, such as genetics, brain chemistry, or life events, and can have a wide range of symptoms depending on the individual. While many resources are available to help people manage their depression, it’s crucial to seek help if you or someone you know is experiencing the signs and symptoms of depression.

What is depression?

Depression, also known as major depressive disorder, is a serious medical illness that adversely affects how you think, feel, and act.  

When most people think of depression, they describe it as a feeling of sadness or grief. While that’s true, depression isn’t just feeling sad or blue. It’s a medical condition that can cause various physical and mental symptoms and negatively impact your day-to-day life. 

It’s important to recognize the differences between grief and clinical depression. A few of the key differences include:

  • Feelings of sadness come in waves but are often intertwined with happy thoughts and memories. Those suffering from Depression experience a lack of interest and negative moods for a prolonged period.
  • While grief may cause feelings of wanting to join a loved one who passed, these feelings aren’t harmful. With depression, these negative thoughts and feelings can lead to thoughts of suicide because they feel worthless or unable to cope with their pain.

Symptoms Associated with Depression

Clinicians can diagnose depression by looking at a patient’s symptoms. To be diagnosed with depression, you must present with at least five of the following symptoms [cb4] for a minimum of two weeks:

  • Decreased concentration
  • Depressed mood
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling worthless or guilty (for no reason)
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Loss of interest in activities/Lack of pleasure
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation
  • Thoughts of death/suicide
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain

Other criteria that a clinician will use to diagnose depression include: 

  • Your symptoms cause significant distress or impairment in social settings, work, school, or other vital areas of your life.
  • Check if your symptoms are not caused by the use of alcohol or illegal drugs.
  • Check to see if another medical condition isn’t causing your symptoms.
  • Check to ensure you have no history of manic or hypomanic episodes.

Common Risk Factors for Depression

While depression may seem random, some risk factors can increase your chance of developing depression. If you recognize yourself in any of the following risk factors, then it may be time to seek help:

  • Environmental Factors: Stressful life events and chronic stressors can increase your risk of depression. 
  • Genetics: Depression can run in families, meaning that if a parent or sibling has depression, you have a high chance of developing it. 
  • Biochemistry: Certain imbalances in brain chemicals can also increase your risk of depression, including serotonin and dopamine.

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    Mental Health Treatment for Depression with Valor Behavioral Health

    Depression is a serious medical condition that can hurt every aspect of your life. If you think you may be suffering from depression, it’s important to seek professional help. 

    Valor Behavioral Health is here to help you every step of the way. We offer various treatment options tailored to each individual’s needs, so you can get the help you need to start feeling like yourself again.