May is Mental Health Awareness Month
Know the signs and symptoms of depression. Treatment can be life changing.
The month of May is National Mental Health Month, and health care professionals around the country are working to raise awareness about the many health conditions associated with mental health. One condition that many people suffer from is depression. Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions, affecting more than 19 million Americans each year.
Amy Adelman, LPC, Licensed Professional Counselor at South Central Behavioral Health Services in Laurel, said, “Depression can cause patients to be unable to find joy in their lives, can complicate other medical conditions, and can even be serious enough to lead to suicide. The important thing to know is that depression can happen to anyone, at any age, and to people of any race or ethnic group. Because depression is so common, some individuals think that it is just a part of life and they do not seek treatment.”
Fewer than half of those suffering from depression seek treatment. Too many people resist treatment because they believe depression isn't serious, that they can treat it themselves, or that it is a personal weakness rather than a serious illness.
Adelman said, “Clinical depression is very treatable, with more than 80% of those who seek treatment show improvement. The most commonly used treatments are antidepressant medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. The choice of treatment depends on the pattern, severity, persistence of depressive symptoms, and the history of the illness. As with many illnesses, early treatment is more effective and helps prevent the likelihood of serious recurrences, so it is important to know the signs and symptoms of the illness.”
Do you know someone who is:
• Persistently sad, anxious, or appears almost without any feelings?
• Sleeping too much or too little?
• Losing their interest in activities that they once enjoyed?
• Restless or irritable?
• Complaining with chronic pain or digestive disorders?
• Having difficulty concentrating, remembering things and making decisions?
• Fatigued and has a loss of energy?
• Feeling guilty, hopeless or worthless?
“These are the common signs of depression. If you know someone who is experiencing these symptoms, encourage them to seek help. Treatment can be life changing,” Adelman said.
Many people want to understand what causes depression. For some people, a number of factors seem to be involved, while for others a single factor can cause the illness. Sometimes, people are depressed for apparently no reason at all. People who are depressed typically have too little or too much of certain brain chemicals, low self esteem, and negative thinking patterns. Side effects of some medications can cause depression, as well as family history. Life events such as a death of a family member, divorce, or the loss of a job can also cause depression.
“I think that the most important thing to remember is that depression can be treated,” Adelman said. “There is no need to suffer with this condition.”
She encouraged the public to call the health care providers at South Central Behavioral Health Care Services in Laurel at 601.426.9614. The physicians and the other behavioral health professionals at South Central Behavioral Health Services specialize in the treatment of depression, including depressive disorder, manic depression and dysthymia, a less severe form of depression.