At Madison Women’s Clinic, we’ve found that we are seeing more and more women who are struggling with depression; in all of its varieties. Perhaps you are someone who faces the seemingly uphill battle with depression…or maybe we should say, the downward spiral.
Without a doubt, depression is a tough situation to handle. Over the next few months, we would like to focus our efforts on educating our patients about depression and anxiety and offer some insight into various modalities of treatment and care. We hope you’ll join us on this journey. As always, we don’t offer or suggest that there is a one-size fits all treatment for all types of depression. Some mental illnesses go far beyond the typical depression we often treat. Some require specialized care with specialized physicians so we urge you to visit with your provider at Madison Women’s Clinic before self diagnosing or self treating your depression or mental illness.
Depression is defined by the American Psychiatric Associationas a serious medical illness that negatively impacts the way you feel, think and act. It can range in severity from sadness to lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed, to dramatic and extreme mood changes. Depression can include other symptoms such as the following and must last more than two weeks in order to be considered clinical depression.
- Changes in weight- loss or gain
- Changes in appetite
- Feeling worthless
- Feeling guilt or shame
- Sleep disruption- too much or too little sleep
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mood changes
- Lack of energy
- Feeling hopeless or suicidal
- Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
- Feeling restless
What causes depression? Here is a short list and not complete by any means.
- Biochemistry -the chemicals and nutrients in your brain
- Genetics- runs in the family
- Personality- people with low self esteem, or easily overwhelmed, mishandling of stress.
- Environmental- situations of abuse, poverty, neglect, disconnection, job loss, family changes
Treatment for depression came bursting on the scene in 1987 with the invention of Prozac. It seemed to be the answer to all of our depression woes. From there, many other classes of anti-depressants were born. At the time, and even today, anti-depressants are touted as the gold standard in treatment. Let’s look a little closer at anti depressant medication.
One would think that if the medication was a cure for depression, we would see a sharp decline in clinical depression. However, the opposite is true. Depression rises steadily with each passing year and more and more people are prescribed medications to help them manage their mood. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it isn’t a good thing either, but are we really addressing the root cause of depression, or does the treatment only offer relief of symptoms; a large band-aid to cover up what is happening below our bad mood? Could we do better in the way we handle depression?
We believe, that together we can make a difference in the way we treat depression. Part of the equation is educating our patients to be participants in their own health. Working in tandem with your provider at Madison Women’s Clinic, we can find the best fit in overcoming crippling depression. In the next article, we will discuss the leading research in the gut-brain connection. Did you know your gut is often called The Second Brain? Perhaps, this holds the key to better mental health…Let’s find out.