Major depression may seem like an easy concept to understand. You have major, something big and significant, and then depression, or a feeling of lowness or sadness. But major depression together is greater than the sum of its parts. Major depression is a feeling of hopelessness that interferes with daily functionality such as sleep, work, eating, and personal activities. For people with clinical depression, what they once loved to do doesn't bring them the same joy anymore.
Treatment options have been systematized through a variety of philosophies. There are doctors who are quick to prescribe antidepressants and then there are psychologists who try to root out the triggers and work with patients through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT. This therapy combines the alteration of thoughts and behaviors to give the patient a more positive outlook. By correcting erroneous thought patterns, a therapist can train a patient to think in a more beneficial way.
But therapy is a long-haul choice. People who want a quick fix without the hard work are inclined to use chemical interference. And it's not only adults that have to face this challenge. Major depression is diagnosed in about 3% of children from 6 to 12 years old, and 6% of teenagers 13 to 18. Prescribing drugs to people whose brains are still in development can be tricky. In a recent study in the journal, Lancet, researchers found that many antidepressant medications are ineffective for treating children and teenagers with major depression, and they could be unsafe.
While the study still has limitations and other areas to replicate and explore, it's still a wake up call for doctors who have been prescribing young people with antidepressants. At the same time, there have been proven effects of certain antidepressants such as Prozac, and doctors should not shy away from prescribing it to those who really need it. When evaluating a patient's needs, there is not one formula to successful treatment.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, know that you're not alone. These great resources are there to help you on your way.