It’s estimated that 1 in 10 Americans experiences depression. The root of depression varies with each adult ranging from mild to clinical. From the statistical data, only one in three individuals partners with a mental health professional to get help.
Through education, those in the field of mental health want to promote awareness so people can get the assistance and comfort they need.
Depression: The Symptoms
Depression is a condition which persists. It’s not about someone having a “bad day.” Instead, it can be a combination of symptoms which can have a debilitating effect.
One type of depression a person may experience can be grief after a loved one or pet has passed away. However, a mood disorder can be described when feelings of sorrow become more acute and can last for stretches of time. Someone who is experiencing this disorder may have the following:
- Ongoing sadness and feelings of hopelessness
- Minimized concentration
- Sleep pattern changes and lethargy
- Feelings of guilt
- A sharp increase or decrease in appetite
Remember, no matter how entrenched someone is with feelings of sadness, help is there and recovery can become a reality.
Depression: The Video Game Mystique
Brian Sutton-Smith, a regarded psychologist who passed away this year, made an interesting observation: The opposite of play is depression. When people “played,” he noted the following benefits:
- Psychical activity
These characteristics are powerful tools.
Jane McGonigal, Ph.D., wrote in her article, “How Video Games Can Teach Your Brain to Fight Depression,” that Sutton-Smith had this theory before the advent of video games.
She added, “…according to a meta-analysis I performed, more than 1.23 billion people play globally, including 155 million people in the United States. But thanks to a rapidly growing body of scientific research, we now know that his intuition that ‘the opposite of play is depression’ is a perfectly apt description at a neurological level of what’s going on with these 1.23 billion video gamers.” She continued, “Video game play is literally the neurological opposite of depression.”
She went on to write that researchers discovered that people needed to play “purposeful games” and not the ones that escaped reality. Purposeful games trigger “real-world problem solving skills.”
McGonigal added, “Playing to get better at something (anything) really does help you become less depressed, better connected, and more resilient in real life. That’s because every time you play, you think about the mental, emotional, and social resources you’re building up.”
This type of play helps ensure expressive skills and abilities.
Depression: The Diagnosis
While the video game study is excellent, it’s not a substitute for the right diagnosis and treatment. With the proper guidance, it can be part of one’s treatment and long-term recovery.
San Diego mental health professionals understand that the road to recovery is making certain that an individual has the correct depression diagnosis. Treatment for depression is individualized and tailored. Healthcare professionals will determine whether a person is experiencing unipolar depression, bipolar depression or sadness, such as bereavement.
While the list is comprehensive, other types of depression can also include postpartum depression and dysthymia.
Once diagnosed, depending on the patient’s needs, a combination of antidepressants (or other types of medication) and therapy can be introduced. As a person starts to come out of their depression, optimal therapy sessions can follow.
Another step in long-term recovery is implementing the tools of healthy lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise, support system, and relaxation techniques.