October is Mental Health and Depression Awareness Month

By Ciara Mahan, Ph.D.

Nobody has to live with depression

The National Institute of Mental heath ranks depression being among the top 10 chronic health problems in the United States. Depression is typically diagnosed by primary care professionals and often times, psychotherapy is not the first treatment of choice.

Depression refers to mood or emotional state that consists of sadness and a lack of pleasure in activities one used to enjoy. Major depressive disorder interferes with a person’s ability to work and impacts a person’s overall functioning.
Most people need treatment to get better.

The encouraging news is that The Institute of medicine reported in 2009 that Clinical Depression can be prevented. Interestingly, at one time it was believed that clinical depression could not be prevented. In the Journal, American Psychologist, there was an interesting article in the May-June 2012 issue, “Major Depression Can be Prevented.” The article looked at preventing depression in various populations and certain risk factors to depression.

Parental depression and the risk for developing clinical depression
In the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 2009 , Compass and his colleagues discussed their family based intervention which consisted of four families. The intervention provided the families information about the impact of stress and depression on functioning and ways to manage stress. There was also an emphasis on parenting skills. This intervention prevented parents from developing clinical depression.

Preventing postpartum depression
It is estimated that 10 to 15 percent of women experience postpartum depression after giving birth (National Institute of Mental Health). Burgha and his colleagues featured in the Psychological Medicine periodical 2011 looked at preventing postpartum depression in women. Women in the treatment group received visits from a nurse trained to identify depressive symptoms. At six months 7% of the women in the intervention group had postpartum depression compared to 10.8% in the treatment as usual group. This again is encouraging as a simple intervention of checking in with mothers post partum had a significant impact.

What to do if depression causes suicidal thoughts?
Depression can lead to thoughts of suicide. If you or a loved one is suicidal you should get professional help immediately or call the 24 hour confidential crisis line; National Suicide Hotline(1-800-784-2433). http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Unfortunately, in our hectic society, psychotherapy is often overlooked as an effective way to treat depression and prevent it from returning. With the constant bombardment of advertisement about psychotropic medications, many people suffering from depression are not informed about how effective psychotherapy is in treating depression.

Neuropsychological assessment group provides neuropsychological testing for mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. For more information a confidential consultation call 877-454-6469 today.