Digging Deeper into Causes of Depression

August 12, 2014

It's one of the most under-diagnosed mental health conditions in the nation and according to the National Institute of Mental Health nearly 16 million adults in the U.S. had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.

Also when people are diagnosed, only half of them receive proper treatment.

Sue Hess with Mental Health America says it takes more than medicine to treat depression.

“Medication might treat the symptoms but won't treat the underlying cause,” says Hess, community nurse. “That's why trauma therapy and talk therapy is recommended.”

It's also important to understand what causes depression.

“It's often chemical,” says Hess. “It's triggered often by some major life loss or change.”

“A big underlying cause is trauma, childhood trauma or abuse, violence.”

When it comes to showing signs like loss of interest, loss of sleep or feeling sad, it's important to reach out to family and friends.

“Part of the problem with depression is when you are feeling down, you often don't have the energy to reach out for help and that's why it's helpful if friends and family say things like "there is treatment, there is hope, let me go with you, let me call somebody,’" says Hess.

If untreated, depression can lead to suicidal thoughts or feelings.

“Most of the people who are suicidal don't want to die,” says Hess. “They are calling for help, they need help, and so giving just a little bit of hope can make a difference.”

Hess says that if you are showing signs of depression or thoughts of suicide for more than two weeks, then it's time to reach out and get some help.

You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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