1. Depression Might Have Genetic Causes
We know depression has all kinds of different triggers, like dealing with serious traumatic episodes, being malnourished, or going through addiction. Just like alcoholism and other addiction disorders, it’s becoming evident that a family history of depression may be one of the reasons people develop depressive disorders.
Family mental health history isn’t the only factor at play, but it’s definitely not insignificant. A 2018 study determined the rate of heritability of depression to be 37%, which isn’t alarmingly high, but isn’t reassuringly small, either.
2. Depression Affects Physical Health
When we talk about mental health, we don’t always stress the link between mental health and physical health, but there most certainly is a link, and it’s not just because depressed people are less likely to want to maintain a healthful diet, practice proper hygiene, and be active.
There’s mounting evidence that headaches, body aches, gastrointestinal distress, and even back pain can all be caused by, or influenced by, depressive disorders. Headaches and stomach aches with no discernible cause, for example, are usually the result of adverse mental health conditions.
3. Depressed People Can Appear Happy
Many of us have the same image of a depressed person in our heads: expressionless and lethargic, a shut-in rarely seen at social events, probably unemployed or stuck working an unsatisfying or underpaying job. These descriptors might apply to a great number of those suffering from depression, but we shouldn’t let stereotypes dominate our understanding of any medical condition.
A depressed person often doesn’t fit the typical mold of depression. Someone can be struggling with depression on the inside, but still work hard to maintain a facade of happiness and normalcy. Just because someone seems happy, frequents parties, and seems reasonably successful, doesn’t mean they aren’t dealing with a depressive disorder.
4. Depression is Treatable
Many of us – especially those of us with a depressive disorder – think depression is untreatable. Perhaps we justify it as a simple character trait or characterize it (incorrectly) as a bout of sadness that will go away on its own. However, we know it’s not sadness; it’s a serious medical condition, and like all medical conditions, it’s treatable.
For decades, the methods of depression therapy have been refined and standardized as the mental health community has developed a comprehensive clinical understanding of depression. With talk therapy and medication, depression can often be overcome, leading to tremendous improvements in quality of life and happiness.
5. Even When it’s Not
Of course, not every case of depressive disorder is treatable by standard methods. Sometimes, despite the best efforts of psychiatrists and despite the commitment of patients desperate to feel healthy, talk therapy and antidepressants don’t do the trick. Such cases are called treatment-resistant, and they represent a sizable portion of all depression cases.
For years, treatment-resistant depression was a dead-end for millions of patients and frustrated doctors. However, new developments in alternative depression treatment have led to the revelation that ketamine is incredibly effective as a fast-acting treatment for depression. Ketamine therapy, conducted either by intravenous or nasal introduction of ketamine, has shown a fantastic rate of success, with over half of ketamine therapy patients reporting the remission of depression symptoms following treatment.
6. Anxiety and Depression are Best Friends
Most medical conditions often come paired with another, and mental health disorders are no different. This makes identifying, addressing, and treating these conditions even more complicated and challenging. Depression is often accompanied by anxiety disorders.
This relationship is largely because depression and anxiety fuel each other, creating a vicious cycle that can lead to emotional and mental paralysis that prevents someone from taking the necessary steps to seek help and combat their illness. Depression is also often paired with ADHD and bipolar disorders. Compound mental health disorders are one of the biggest reasons many people resign themselves to defeat and never find professional help.