When the temperatures start to shift and pumpkins begin to appear on stoops everywhere, we know Fall is just around the corner. As October comes into full view, National Depression and OCD Awareness Month will come along with it. Dedicated to mental health education as well as depression awareness, the month of October is to focus on screenings, prevention, and the general awareness of the many mental health challenges that we face.
As the general population continues to move toward embracing mental health in all its facets, we must properly understand why this shift is occurring.
Today, we are going to take a look at the realities of depression and OCD while highlighting the impact that October’s National Depression & Mental Health Screening has had.
The Realities of Depression
Classified as a mood disorder, depression is often misunderstood and rarely defined properly in daily conversations. Depression is more than simple feelings of sadness and anger, yet it is so common that nearly 81% of Americans over the age of 20 will experience it any two-week period.
While occasionally feeling sad or disappointed is a reality of life, depression can impact your daily life, work, and physical health. Some common conditions that can worsen through depression include arthritis, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and even asthma.
To properly contextualize depression and bring more awareness to the disorder, let’s highlight some of the most common and recurring symptoms. Understand that these symptoms may vary from one individual to the next based upon many physiological factors.
- Mood Changes: Sadness and emptiness are prominent feelings associated with depression. That being said, depression can also manifest through aggression, anxiousness, and even angry outbursts.
- Behavioral Changes: Individuals struggling with depression will see many beloved activities set aside. Losing interest in favored hobbies, becoming quickly fatigued, or even excessive use of drugs can signify depression in an individual. Behavioral changes can also encompass sexual activity, such as a loss of sexual desire.
- Sleep Changes: Depression can manifest through insomnia, the inability to sleep, and even excessive sleep.
- Physical Effects – Finally, depression can bring about physical symptoms including G.I. issues, headaches, pains, and other associated issues.
Depression may be incredibly common, but it is not the sign of a healthy individual, nor is it an associated growing pain that we must endure. Symptoms of depression should be taken seriously as they can impact anyone at any age, regardless of their socio-economic background. Children can even experience depression.
Understanding Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is considered a chronic mental health condition that is categorized by the need to engage in compulsive behavior. Compulsive behaviors can be as simple as double-checking a lock or as complicated as creating rituals that must be accommodated to feel secure. Individuals with OCD often know that their behaviors and thoughts are not logical, but that does not mean that they can simply stop engaging with them.
While the exact cause of OCD is currently unknown, researchers currently believe that it is caused by the brain not responding functionally to serotonin. Researchers have also connected genetics with the likelihood of having OCD. If you or an immediate family member have OCD, there is a 25% chance that another family member will be diagnosed.
There are a few different forms of OCD that can impact anyone of any age, so let’s take a closer look at them below.
- Fear of Contamination – OCD can revolve around different obsessions and compulsions, though fear of contamination is among the most common. This form of OCD leaves individuals cleaning and washing excessively due to their compulsions.
- Perfectionism – Individuals with OCD can also have an obsession with perfection, symmetry, or simply bringing order to something.
- Unwanted Thoughts – Dr. Jill Stoddard is the author of “Be Mighty: A Women’s Guide to Liberation From Anxiety, Worry, and Stress Using Mindfulness and Acceptance.” Dr. Stoddard suggests that other obsessions can include intrusive/unwanted sexual thoughts, fear of coming to harm or harming others, and a fear of acting out of impulse.
OCD can be diagnosed as early as eight years old by a medical professional. Dr. Steve Mazza is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders. Mazza suggests that girls are more likely to develop OCD at an older age than their male counterparts.
Mental Health Treatments
Treating and understanding depression can be difficult for the people we meet in our day-to-day lives. Fortunately, mental health professionals around the world have been working tirelessly to bring new solutions to the forefront of the field.
For the treatment of depression or OCD, several different approaches can be embraced – many of which can be pursued at your nearest Mindful Health Solutions clinic.
- Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy
- Behavioral and Lifestyle Changes
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to Depression and that is why National Depression and Mental Health Awareness Month is so important. Putting a spotlight on the invisible struggles we face every day can make a huge difference as we seek to overcome them.
Find a Psychiatrist Near Me at Mindful Health Solutions
Mindful Health Solutions offers innovative psychiatry services to patients looking to make a difference in their lives. Founded by Dr. Richard Bermudes in 2007, Mindful Health Solutions offers cutting-edge psychiatric services with a focus on Treatment-Resistant Depression and OCD.
Having recently opened a clinic in Newport Beach, Mindful Health Solutions operates as an innovator with its focus on Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy to treat OCD, depression, pain management, and memory disorders.
As October roars into view for National Depression & Mental Health Screening Awareness, consider contacting Mindful Health Solutions to see if TMS Therapy is right for you.