Everyone has times when they experience a depressed mood. Most of the time, it is directly attributable to a certain event or life circumstance.
But when depressed feelings last a long time, don’t go away, can’t be directly tied to a reason, or make it hard for you to go about the tasks of daily life, you may be experiencing clinical depression.
Major Depressive Disorder—often referred to simply as major depression—is a mood disorder that leaves you feeling sad most of the day, almost every day. Most people who suffer from depression also find they don’t enjoy doing things they used to do as much.
Fatigue, restlessness, sleep disturbances, and an inability to concentrate are also common symptoms of depression. Depression is often closely associated with anxiety, as well.
By working with an experienced therapist, you can address the root causes of your depression, learn techniques for challenging feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness and make changes that can contribute to a more fulfilling life.
Many people find that medication and lifestyle changes help significantly with their depression. Antidepressants are always prescribed by a psychiatrist or by a general practice medical doctor, not by a psychotherapist (a social worker or a psychologist).
Depression in Older Adults
Older adults face particular challenges that can lead to major depression, including a higher incidence of personal losses, health issues, and a loss of personal independence.
The National Council on Aging estimates that between 1-5% of older adults suffer from major depression. Those numbers rise to 11.5% for hospitalized seniors and 13,5% for seniors requiring home health care.
If you are an older adult currently struggling with depression, the best place to start your road to recovery is by speaking to a licensed, experienced therapist.
If you qualify for low-income assistance such as Medicaid and need a therapist, you should contact a community mental health provider. The State of Michigan provides a handy map that shows which agency you should contact.