Depression affects millions of Americans, yet many people never seek treatment. In part, that may be because recognizing the symptoms of depression isn’t always easy. Here’s what to look for and how we can help.
Millions of Americans suffer from depression, a serious mental health disorder and a leading cause of disability around the world. Fortunately, safe, effective treatments that can help are available. The key is seeing your primary care doctor as early as possible, so you can start feeling better.
At Doctors First PC, our team offers comprehensive primary care services to patients in Gaithersburg, Germantown, Rockville, Bowie, and Columbia, Maryland, including patient-centered treatment for depression. Recognizing the signs of depression can help you get the treatment you need as soon as possible.
Symptoms of depression
Although the physiological mechanisms of depression aren’t completely understood, researchers do know that depression interferes with normal nerve communication in the brain, specifically altering the production and processing of chemicals called neurotransmitters. These chemicals play a major role in your mood and feelings.
When you have depression, it’s easy to tell yourself that whatever is “wrong” is all your fault. But depression is a medical disorder with distinct symptoms. If you’re exhibiting symptoms, it’s definitely time to seek treatment.
The trouble is, many people think depression is all about feeling “sad.” Depression actually causes a wide range of symptoms, and knowing what they are can help you get safe, effective treatment from your primary care physician.
Depression affects you emotionally and physically, causing signs and symptoms like:
- Feelings of guilt or self-blame
- Feelings of self-hatred
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Feeling like you can’t cope with day-to-day living
- Loss of self-confidence
- Loss of interest in other people or activities
- Problems concentrating or focusing
- Problems with memory
- Low self-worth
- Withdrawal from friends or family
- Extreme fatigue
- Changes in appetite — either eating a lot or having no appetite
- Sleep problems
Some people with depression try to cope with drugs or alcohol, leading to additional medical problems.
In the past couple of decades, doctors and medical researchers have developed a much deeper understanding of depression and how it affects the brain and emotional and physical behaviors. Today, a variety of treatment options are available for patients with depression, including patients who have treatment-resistant depression.
Most patients benefit from a combination of medication and therapy aimed at helping them “unlearn” negative thought patterns that drive many unhealthy behaviors associated with depression. Medications for depression don’t just focus on relieving symptoms — they help optimize neural connections in your brain, addressing the disruptions that happen in people with depression.
As a top-ranked family physician practice, Doctors First PC works closely with every patient to make sure their depression treatment remains focused on their needs and symptoms, even when those symptoms evolve over time. In addition to providing care at our practice, when needed, your family doctor can refer you to top-rated mental health professionals with experience in other treatments, as well.
Depression is a serious medical problem
Despite what well-meaning friends might say, you can’t get rid of depression simply by thinking positively or counting your blessings. Depression is a medical problem that requires medical attention and treatment to keep it under control.
Let our team help you find the solution for your depression symptoms. Book an appointment online or over the phone at Doctors First today.