According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, it is estimated that 16.1 million Americans are affected by major depressive disorder and 3.3 million Americans are affected by persistent depressive disorder. They also estimate that major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability for Americans ages 15-44.
Out of the millions of people affected by depressive disorders, only about 61% are currently receiving treatment. This means that 31% of Americans are actively suffering from untreated depression. As anyone with depression knows, it is not an easy thing to deal with. However it is even harder to manage without treatment.
One reason why people don’t seek treatment is because they may not know they need it. Because sadness and grief are regular human emotions, some people tell themselves that it’s just a phase and they’ll get over it. Others may think their symptoms are not severe enough to warrant treatment. For instance, “I got out of bed for work today, so I’m not depressed”.
The fact of the matter is that individuals with depressive disorders have varying levels of functionality. Just because you’re functional, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not depressed. In order to help you get treatment, here are five signs you should see a psychiatrist for your depression:
While experiencing short periods of sadness and grief are normal, persistent feelings of sadness, grief, or hopelessness are not. Persistent sadness means that it has lasted for weeks or even months with very little change in your mental state.
Nothing Makes You Happy
Not only does depression cause persistent sadness, but it can take the enjoyment out of all the things that once made you happy. You may find yourself doing the activity and resenting the fact that it takes so much energy, rather than enjoying it. If you find yourself avoiding things that you once enjoyed and looked forward to, this could be a good indication that you need to seek treatment.
Change in Your Eating Habits
Another telltale sign of depression is a change in your eating habits. Depression can cause both a loss of appetite or an increase in appetite. Individuals who feel withdrawn often experience a loss of appetite and forget to eat or regularly skip meals. Individuals who have low-self esteem or dread the future often use food as a coping mechanism and have an increased appetite.
Change in Your Sleeping Habits
Depression can be exhausting and cause you to sleep more than usual. Some people also use naps or sleeping as an escape from their reality. Just as with appetite, however, sleep patterns can also change to the other extreme. Some people with depression experience insomnia from the constant flow of negative thoughts.
You Have No Self Worth
You may have feelings that nothing you do matters and that you don’t even matter. This may lead you to think about how people would react if you ended your life. Even if you are not experiencing any other symptoms, if you feel worthless or like ending your life, you should seek treatment from a psychiatrist because YOU MATTER.
If these signs sound like you, you should see a psychiatrist for your depression. Seeing a psychiatrist for depression allows them to develop a treatment plan aimed at your physical and mental needs. They can also prescribe medications to help “boost” your mood so you can stop the negative thought process and work on developing more positive patterns. Contrary to popular belief, medical treatment does not have to last forever. Ultimately if you are part of the 39% of Americans suffering depression and reading this, do yourself a favor and at least give treatment a chance. To learn more about the benefits of seeing a psychiatrist, see “Health Benefits of Seeing a Psychiatrist for Depression”.
Dr. Miller is trained in Adult, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She is also trained in Anesthesia and Pain Management. Because of her broad experience, Dr. Miller is uniquely qualified to treat psychological trauma, depression and anxiety that can occur as a result of injury or disability. For more information, schedule a consultation at NJ Family Psychiatry & Therapy.