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The Facts about Depression

Did You Know?

  • According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, in 2020 about 21 million adults in the United States (8.4% of the population) had at least one major depressive episode.
  • Depression is treatable. Eighty to 90% of people suffering from depression can be treated successfully. Finding treatment early in the course of a depressive episode may decrease the probability that the illness will get worse.

What is Depression?

Clinical depression goes beyond sadness. It’s not having a bad day, or coping with a major loss, such as the death of a parent, grandparent, or even a favorite pet. It’s not a personal weakness of character flaw. Individuals suffering from depression cannot simply “pull themselves up by their bootstraps.”

Depression is a form of mental illness that affects the whole body – it impacts the way one feels, thinks, and acts.

Symptoms of Depression

  • Persistent depressed mood, including feelings of sadness or emptiness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities or hobbies that were once enjoyed
  • Feelings of hopelessness and pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Changes in appetite
  • Decreased energy, increased fatigue
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • Thoughts of suicide or death
  • Persistent physical symptoms such as headaches, digestive disorders, or chronic pain, that do not respond to medical treatment and for which no physical cause can be found

Causes of Depression

  • Genetics and family history
  • Life events and trauma
  • Brain changes
  • Physical illness or medical conditions
  • Drug and alcohol misuse

Treatment Methods

The most commonly used treatments for depression are antidepressant medication, psychotherapy (talking with a professional counselor or mental health provider), or a combination of the two. Which of these is right for an individual depends on the nature and severity of the depression and individual preference. Many individuals also benefit from regular exercise. 

If medication and psychotherapy are not successful alone, some providers will utilize electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which is considered very effective for severe depression.

The Path to Healing

  • Recognize the signs/symptoms of depression
  • Consult a qualified professional for evaluation
  • Discuss and choose treatment options

Positive Ways to Help Handle your Depression

  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid stress
  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • Talk about your feelings – with a friend, family member, support group, and/or professional

Contact Us

For more information about our services, call us at 865-970-9800 or contact us online. You can also choose the “Chat with Us” pop-up to request prescription refills or speak with a Call Center representative.

Covenant Health