What is depression?

According to Harvard Health Publications, almost 31 million people suffer from depression to some degree. For many of us, feelings of angst or a case of the blues may come and go as a regular part of life. For those suffering from depression, however, these states become protracted, and in some cases remain as a constant underlying source of negative emotion.

It's important to understand that those suffering from depression aren't able to simply “snap out of it.” It's not the case that sufferers are willingly maintained themselves in a sad condition out of some sense of self-pity or as attention seeking behavior. In many cases, a depression rehab center is necessary to effect meaningful change. At Altus Treatment Center, we understand the complexities of depression and can work with patients and their families to create a treatment plan that will allow the patient to start enjoying life again as soon as possible.

Furthermore, the condition of depression is one that can persist for years. In many cases, performance at work or school can be severely affected. Those suffering from depression point to a lack of energy, yet the disease also affects one’s sleeping patterns, so it's hard to overcome this lethargy. As a result, the mood will deteriorate over time, and the depressed person will frequently become voluntarily distant from friends and family. The increasing isolation only serves to deepen the downward spiral. Altus Treatment Center typically deals with patients between the age of 18 and 30 years of age, however, there are a number of older patients who have come through our doors over the years as well.

They refer this depression of this magnitude as clinical depression, or major depressive disorder. It's one of the most common mental health conditions. In cases of clinical depression of this level, it may also be necessary to seek inpatient depression treatment.

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What are the causes of depression?

Precisely how depression begins in an individual as not currently known. Many factors come into play. Among the most common contributors can be a stressful life event or situation, medications, genetic traits, brain chemistry, hormonal and chemical imbalances.

The view of depression as being chemical imbalance can be a gross oversimplification. Although one’s biochemistry is a contributing factor, treatment is not as straightforward as just restoring a chemical to its proper level. A person’s emotional state and whether they view their environment as positive or negative is influenced by chemical interactions that are indescribably complex.

However, we can identify some factors that are likely to be present in cases of depression. They include:

  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Childhood trauma
  • Events such as death, broken relationship or financial crisis
  • Other mental health disorders such as anxiety or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Personality traits including low self-esteem and pessimistic
  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Relatives with a history of depression or suicide

What are the different forms of depression?

  • Major Depression: They describe this disorder as a persistent or recurring inability to feel pleasure or enjoy life. A major depression typically lasts six months.
  • Minor Depression: Depressive symptoms similar to a major depression, but over a shorter duration.
  • Atypical Depression: Signs of major depression that mitigated over the short-term, due to a happy event or temporary upswing in life circumstances.
  • Dysthymia: This is a mild depression that lasts at least two years. It includes moderate depressive symptoms interspersed with short periods of a healthy mood.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder: Depression linked to the fall and winter seasons, or many overcast days.
  • Bipolar Disorder: Characterized by alternating episodes of major depression and mania: (periods of hyperactivity, rapid speech, sleeplessness, and impulsivity). Sometimes referred to as Manic Depression.

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What are the signs of depression?

The staff and medical professionals at Altus Treatment Center can help diagnose depression in a patient and start working with them to provide a treatment plan for recovery as soon as possible. Every person suffering from depression does so in a way that's unique to him or her, so it is important to us that we do a thorough assessment of each individual who registers with the Altus Treatment Center. It also should be emphasized that sadness isn't the only symptom involved. Apathy, lifelessness, anger or restlessness can also be indicators. Some other common symptoms include:

  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Difficulty concentrating, making decisions or completing basic tasks
  • Feeling hopeless, empty or worthless
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Failure to control negative thoughts
  • Irritability, aggression, restlessness or anger
  • Loss of energy or tiredness
  • Reckless behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling or unsafe sex
  • Inability to feel pleasure
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, such as hobbies, sex or social gatherings
  • Thoughts of suicide/death or feeling that life isn’t worth living

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How is depression treated?

A combination of medication and psychotherapy is the most common treatment protocol for depression

  • Drugs: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac, Paxil or Zoloft; serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), such as Cymbalta, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). One’s primary care physician or psychiatry prescribes these drugs. You should also note that medications may often improve symptoms, but they don't address the core issues associated with depression.
  • Psychotherapy: Identifying unhealthy thoughts and behavior patterns and learning better ways to cope with them are typically the goals of psychotherapy. This therapeutic approach takes place in both one-on-one settings as well as in groups. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and psychodynamic therapy have all demonstrated effectiveness in treating depression.
  • Residential Treatment Programs: In cases of protracted major depression or bipolar disorder, inpatient depression treatment or hospitalizations are sometimes necessary. Depression rehab centers, such as Altus Treatment Center in Aliso Viejo, and its subsequent support centers, provide intensive therapy, 24-hour supervision, and the level of both support and structure patients need to confront severe depression.
  • Alternative Approaches: Alternative treatments that have also shown a significant impact in overcoming depression are practices such as acupuncture, yoga, massage therapy, meditation, herbal supplements, and adjustments in diet, exercise, and lifestyle. Many of today’s depression rehab centers will offer these services.

Do not delay in seeking help for your depression symptoms. Working with the dedicated staff and psychology professionals at Altus Treatment Center can set you on the road to recovery sooner.

We're ready to help you take your life back.

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