It’s estimated that approximately 26 percent of U.S. adults and 10 to 15 percent of adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17 have a diagnosis of depression. Depression, or major depressive disorder, is a very serious mental illness that severely impacts ability to perform daily activities and reduces overall quality of life.
Signs and Symptoms of Depression
We see these so often, that it can become cumbersome to read though them again; however, I feel it necessary to continuously add them in depression articles because it’s important for people to know that their symptoms, whether big or small, are being recognized.
The most common signs and symptoms of depression include:
- Ongoing feelings of sadness, anxiety, or emptiness
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness
- Irritability and/or restlessness
- Activities or hobbies once enjoyable, including intercourse, are no longer gratifying
- Excessive tiredness or fatigue
- Difficulty with concentration, decision-making, or memory
- Insomnia (difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep), or sleeping too much
- Loss of appetite or overeating
- Suicidal thoughts, attempts, or frequent thoughts about death
- Ongoing symptoms of general aches and pains, headaches, muscle cramps, or digestive problems that don’t go away with treatment
Very often, people will forego seeking treatment for depression because of the negative connotations associated with the diagnosis, or because of the potential side effects of medications. They’ll put on a brave face, smile, and push through devastating and often debilitating emotional pain that doesn’t just affect the mind, but the body too. Those suffering from untreated depression find themselves getting sick more often, having higher blood pressure, high cholesterol, or other physical ailments. Mental and emotional anguish can wreak havoc on the body’s internal systems, so if you or someone you know suffers from the above symptoms, it’s imperative to seek treatment.
Medications traditionally used to treat depression have some pretty serious side effects like weight gain, sexual dysfunction, drowsiness, or insomnia. Medicine is not the only way to treat depression, however. There is another option called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, or TMS, therapy. This is a safe and effective treatment for depression that is FDA approved. It’s medication-free and aimed at helping those who are either resistant to traditional antidepressant medications, or don’t want to take them because of possible side effects.
TMS is essentially free of side effects, with the exception of having some tenderness or discomfort at or near the treatment area. This therapy uses very short pulsed magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain that are associated with mood regulation. It’s a very simple outpatient procedure that doesn’t require any anesthesia, medication, or hospital stay.