An estimated 7% of the adults and 8% of adolescents in the United States suffer from some form of depression. Left untreated, the feelings of sadness and loneliness that accompany depression can worsen. At Uptown Psych, located in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, the experienced team of psychologists and psychiatrists have helped countless patients overcome their depression and reclaim active and fulfilling lives.
Depression Q & A
What is depression?
Sadly, depression is an all too common and serious medical condition that negatively impacts your emotions, thoughts, and actions. However, thankfully, it is also very treatable. Depression causes sadness and a lack of interest in activities you used to enjoy. If it progresses it can lead to other emotional and physical symptoms, even impairing your ability to function at work or in daily life.
If you have depression, it is not your fault and you should not view it as a sign of weakness. One in six adults develop depression at some point. It can come at any time, but usually you first experience it during your late teens or mid-20s. Women are more at risk than men, with some studies indicating that one-third of women develop depression at some point in their lives.
What are common symptoms of depression?
Depression symptoms can vary in their longevity and intensity. Some common symptoms associated with depression include:
- Depressed mood or feelings of sadness
- Losing interest in things you previously enjoyed
- Weight loss or weight gain (without consciously dieting)
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Changes in sleep routine (too little or too much sleep)
- Trouble focusing, concentrating, or with decision making
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Symptoms lasting at least two weeks may lead to a diagnosis of depression. Also, certain medical conditions, such as thyroid issues, can result in similar symptoms so it’s important to rule out things like that early on.
What causes depression?
Anyone, no matter how good your life is, can develop depression. Some key contributing factors include:
- Biochemistry (brain chemistry)
- Genetics (depression often runs in families)
- Personality (people with low self-esteem)
- Environment (exposure to trauma or things like poverty)
If symptoms persist, it’s critical that you seek medical attention.
How do you treat depression?
At Uptown Psych, the practice treats most cases of depression without drugs, instead focusing on therapeutic modalities that tackle the root of the issue. These include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Psychodynamic therapy
These forms of therapy involve individual and family or partner-focused counseling problem solving work to combat all sides of your depression. In more severe cases, medication can help supplement therapy and lead to better results. Usually, within 10-15 weeks of starting therapy and/or medication, symptoms begin to improve noticeably.