What Is Depression?
Depression can strike without warning and can disrupt even the most gifted of lives. It can occur suddenly and with even the most common of disruptions like the end of a relationship, moving to a new city, or changing careers. Additionally, sometimes our genetics predispose us to emotional intensity and we experience depressive episodes even when our lives are running smoothly. No matter what causes the depression, many of us who struggle with depression develop a set of beliefs called learned helplessness. When we are helpless, we believe that we are unable to effectively influence or improve our lives, that our despair may never end, and often that it’s all our fault. We neglect solutions that could be effective and remain immobile in our resignation. We become increasingly saturated by our hopelessness, sadness, and self-invalidation as we spiral down into a throbbing emotional darkness. Depression becomes self-defining and all consuming. We are resigned to a life of self-recrimination and dejection. But that doesn’t have to be how your story ends.
Those of us with depression are certainly not alone. Researchers at the World Health Organization are now reporting that depression is increasing at an epidemic rate. Currently, more than 300 million people worldwide are suffering from some form of depression. According to research, depression now strikes a full decade earlier in life than it did a generation ago. Forty years ago, most people who developed depression were in their forties and fifties. Now clinical depression tends to strike in late teens and the twenties when life should be fast paced, fun, and flourishing with accomplishments.
How Depression Affects Our Lives
Many people recover from the first round of depression, but half of them will relapse into serious clinical depression in the future. Once your brain has experienced depression two or three times, the risk of relapse climbs to eighty to ninety percent. If it goes unaddressed, depression becomes a regular part of our lives that comes and goes depending on our moods, life events, and even minor inconveniences. Many children and teens also experience depression and will have many more years to relapse as the depression becomes more severe and entrenched over the decades of their lives.
Of course, the worst outcome for recurrent depression is suicide. The World Health Organization estimates around 800,000 people end their lives through suicide every year. They also report that suicide is now the second leading cause of death in young people between the ages of fifteen to twenty nine years old. Men are particularly vulnerable to suicide according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Although women make more attempts on their lives, men have four times the rate of completed suicide as women.
The unwillingness to seek treatment for depression is especially disturbing. Psychologists and researchers have pioneered and developed outstanding treatment programs for not only eradicating the symptoms of depression but also in preventing the slide back into depression once we have recovered. The World Health Organization reports that fewer than half of depressed people ever seek the treatment they so badly need. Once they do access care, they are often misdiagnosed or undertreated.
How We Treat Depression
At Gearing Up, our veteran psychologists and clinicians are highly skilled in diagnosing depression correctly and comprehensively. Our testing team masterfully identifies the exact type of depression, the intensity, likely causes (e.g., undiagnosed biological conditions, extreme life events, lacking effective coping skills, etc.), and more. We are dedicated to assessing and understanding the depression first so we can treat and overcome the condition as quickly and directly as possible. Everyone experiences depression and mental health issues slightly differently. With depression, the correct diagnosis makes a critical difference in avoiding regression and relapse.
Gearing Up clinicians will prescribe the most effective path to resolving the depressive episode and teaching you the most effective coping skills. By understanding fully how and why the depression developed and how to overcome it, you are empowered to fight back using all the skills and strategies that we provide. By working with the most skilled and trained psychologists who can provide an accurate and thorough assessment of your condition, you have an important advantage on the road to lasting recovery.