Depression, a very common medical illness in children and adults, can lead to various emotional and physical problems if not treated properly. People may experience feelings ranging from mild sadness to, in more extreme cases, thoughts of suicide. The good news is: Depression is treatable. What is most important is that you get a proper diagnosis and the most effective treatment available.
The key is to understand your symptoms, to find a treatment facility that is right for you, and to start living your healthiest, happiest life. At an integrated healing center such as Chicago Rehab Center, you are able to get properly evaluated, diagnosed, and treated for mental disorders such as depression.
Top Six Symptoms of Depression
Symptoms of depression can vary greatly, with some being quite mild while others may be life-threatening. While many symptoms may be associated with depression, the most common ones are:
- Feeling sad
- Sleep disruption (too much or too little)
- Loss of energy
- Change in appetite
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Thoughts of suicide
Some of these symptoms are temporary and are even triggered only by a specific event. It is important to understand the difference between temporary symptoms, which many people experience throughout their lifetime, and long-term symptoms that may be a sign of an actual illness.
For example, there is a difference between feeling sad and losing sleep over a particular situation. In the case of a specific situation causing sadness or sleeplessness, those symptoms may last for a day or several days. If you were to break up with a partner and lose sleep, your appetite, and your energy for a few days, that is simply a common human reaction to a painful situation. Sometimes in life, we are just simply sad. That happens to everyone, and it is about grief and pain. It is also something from which we can recover. We are sad temporarily, and then we are able to return to normal functioning before too long. Temporary pain and temporary sadness are feelings that all of us have experienced at some point (or at many points!) in our lives.
The symptoms that you want to look for when evaluating a depression diagnosis are the ones that are not these temporary experiences: You want to look for the ones that last for more than a couple of weeks. That is no longer about a situation but rather about something going on within you that may need to be treated. Oftentimes, people wait for the feeling to just go away. However, depression is a real medical diagnosis that often requires immediate medical attention. So, do not think that you need to tackle it on your own: Help is available and can often be life-changing and even life-saving.
If you are experiencing changes in behavior and think you may have depression, you also may want to first rule out any medical causes (such as a vitamin deficiency) that may cause a shift in your feelings and behavior.
Getting Diagnosed with Depression
Not that many years ago, mood disorders were often lumped together and treated similarly. Yet, as medicine continues to advance and we gain more understanding about the varying types of mood disorders, the diagnoses have changed, as well. Now, you may be diagnosed with a more specific disorder, such as chronic depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). There is no one-size-fits-all diagnosis, which is why a doctor’s evaluation is so critical in determining what is going on with you. You may need lab work, a psychological evaluation, and an overall health screening to determine the correct diagnosis.
Three Common Conditions and Risk Factors for Depression
While depression is more common in adults, anyone can be diagnosed with depression. Your age, sex, and socioeconomics do not impact your ability to have depression. It can affect anyone. As a matter of fact, according to the American Psychiatric Association, depression affects approximately one out of 15 adults. With depression being such a common diagnosis, it is important to understand some factors that impact depression:
- Family History/Genetics: Oftentimes, depression, like other mental illnesses, can be hereditary. If your sibling or parent suffers from depression, that puts you at greater risk.
- Biochemistry: Our brains have slight differences in their chemical makeup, and these variations can contribute to the possibility of having depression.
- Environmental factors: Events happening around you such as traumas and major life changes can have a great impact.
Should you Go to Rehab for Depression?
While there are many depression therapists in Chicago and around the world, you need to find someone who is the right fit for you. In addition to finding the therapist, you may need a place (such as a rehabilitation facility like CRC) where you can treat the entirety of yourself rather than simply focus on one issue. So, while it is not necessary that you “go to rehab” for depression, you may be struggling with addiction issues or overall health issues, as well. If that is the case, it may result in you needing to go to a rehab facility in Chicago for depression where you can benefit from a wide range of available treatment options.
Is Long-term Depression Curable?
It is very encouraging to know that depression can be manageable and something that eventually may not even impact your life. The word “cure” is tricky, as you may have certain brain chemistry, for example, that leads to your depression. Therefore, it is not something that can necessarily be cured. However, your depression can seem cured in the sense that you may no longer be struggling with the symptoms.
According to the American Psychiatric Organization, “depression is among the most treatable of mental disorders. Between 80% and 90% of people with depression eventually respond well to treatment.” That statistic is very encouraging, as it means that the majority of people experience diminished symptoms, and in many cases, they even experience complete relief from symptoms.
What Treatments are Used to Help with Depression?
Depression is often treated with medication and/or psychotherapy. There are a variety of antidepressants that a doctor may prescribe after conducting a full evaluation. While everyone’s bodies, conditions, and many other factors are unique to them, there is not one specific path to treat depression. Some people may need medication while others may need only talk therapy. It depends on the individual. It also may take time to figure out the treatment plan that is right for you. You may have to try different medications or different types of therapy until you find that magic combination that makes you feel like you again. It all takes time, and it is important to be patient, committed, and optimistic about the process of healing.
There are also a variety of treatments, ranging from traditional therapies to more modern ones, that may contribute to your healing. There is not a formula that works for everyone. Some people may find that yoga, meditation, and a changed diet influence their symptoms. Others may only respond to certain medications. There are so many possibilities, and the best treatment plan is the one that is customized for you.
Depression Treatment Program in Chicago at CRC
There are many treatment centers in Chicago, and finding the right rehabilitation center for depression is an important step. Whether you have recently been diagnosed with depression, struggle with drug addiction, currently abuse alcohol, or have any co-occurring disorders, our expert team of physicians and clinicians are able to assess your situation and your overall health and help put you on a path to recovery.
What makes depression treatment Chicago at Chicago Rehab Center unique is that CRC is an integrated center for healing with a focus on the whole person. While some depression therapists specialize in treating depression only, our integrated center has a team of top-rated individuals in their fields — all ready to help optimize your health and well-being. From acupuncture to meditation to group therapy to individual therapy, we offer so many options to aid our clients on their journeys. We are not about labeling you, attaching stigmas, and focusing on treating a specific illness or disease: We believe in healing, connection, optimization, and inclusion. Our focus is on who you are, what you need, and where you are on your path to health.
What is the Next Step in Getting Help for Depression?
Depression can be life-threatening, so do not try to manage it or determine what is happening on your own. The first and most important step is to seek depression help and reach out to a depression therapist for guidance. You can discuss your symptoms with your primary care physician or you can reach out to an expert mental health counselor for help with a diagnosis. The critical move is to make that call to someone who can help — it may drastically change your life.
If you would like to get more information about receiving an evaluation or possible treatment at our Chicago facility, please contact Chicago Rehab Center. We are here to help treat you as a whole person so that you can live your most optimal, peaceful, healthy life.
Reviewed by Dr. Beth Dunlap
Dr. Beth Dunlap, a board-certified addiction medicine and family medicine physician, is the medical director at CRC Institute, where she is responsible for overseeing all the integrated medical services at the Institute. Beth completed medical school, residency, and fellowship at Northwestern University, where she continues to serve on the faculty as a member of the Department of Family and Community Medicine. She has extensive experience in addiction medicine at all levels of care, and her clinical interests include integrated primary care and addiction medicine, harm reduction, and medication-assisted treatment.