Depression is More Common Than You Think - Progressive Institute

Depression does not discriminate.

Depression does not discriminate. Money, fame, and privilege protect no one from the often crippling effects of depression. 

The team at Progressive Institute, a dual-licensed psychiatric and substance use outpatient treatment facility located in Shelton, CT, is here to remove the stigma around depression by elevating the conversation and offering our expertise and support. 

Knowing and understanding the symptoms can help increase transparency and encourage those suffering to seek help. 

The good news is that with the proper plan in place, depression is treatable.

Understanding the Signs & Symptoms of Depression

The Mayo Clinic defines depression as a “Mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also known as “major depressive disorder” or “clinical depression,” it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life is not worth living.”

The causes of depression are still unknown. However, as with many mental and medical disorders, biological differences, brain chemistry, hormones, and genetics may play a role. 

Though depression might occur once in a person’s lifetime, they may suffer from multiple episodes. These episodes may include:

  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain
  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness

While it is common to experience bouts of the blues from time to time, symptoms of major depression can become so debilitating that they impact daily life, relationships, employment, social functioning, and overall well-being.

Says Anjani Amladi, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist, depression is so much more than being sad. “Depression robs people of things they once loved, and for many people, they feel like nothing will bring them joy again.”

Depression is Common 

Depression is a condition affecting millions and is one of the most common mental illnesses in the U.S. and around the world. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 out of every 6 adults will have depression at some time in their life. 

Unfortunately, the number of Americans battling depression has dramatically increased since the onset of the pandemic. As reported by NPR, nearly 25% of people in the U.S. are experiencing symptoms of depression, which is almost three times the number before the COVID-19 pandemic began. 

“We were surprised at the high levels of depression,” Ettman says. “These rates were higher than what we’ve seen in the general population after other large-scale traumas like September 11, Hurricane Katrina and the Hong Kong unrest,” said Catherine Ettman, a doctoral student in public health at Brown University.

Finding Hope in Depression

While there is no known cure, a combination of medications and psychotherapy is often extremely effective at reducing the severity of the symptoms for many patients.

“At Progressive Institute, we ensure that each person is provided with an individualized treatment approach specifically designed to treat and improve symptoms,” said Kerry Lassen, LCSW, Clinical Director at Progressive Institute.

According to The National Alliance on Mental Illness, the goal for anyone battling depression is to get evaluated by experts, after which a treatment plan may include can include any or a combination of the following:

  • Psychotherapy including cognitive behavioral therapy medications including antidepressants, mood stabilizers and antipsychotic medications
  • If psychotherapy and/or medication are not effective, brain stimulation therapies such as  electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) for depressive disorder with psychosis or repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) for severe depression
  • Exercise and physical activity
  • Light therapy, which uses a lightbox to expose a person to full-spectrum light in an effort to regulate the hormone melatonin
  • Alternative approaches including acupuncture, meditation, faith and nutrition can be part of a comprehensive treatment plan

More About Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Depression is not one-size-fits-all.

As such, CBT allows for a completely individualized treatment plan for each patient. This methodology is one of the most common and highly effective therapeutic approaches in the treatment of depression and is geared at helping the patient identify a pattern of harmful or negative thoughts and to construct strategies and solutions for dealing with them.

Foundational to the treatment services at Progressive Institute, CBT is a key part of our patient treatment plans, as we are able to form solutions unique to each individual. 

“CBT is often used by Progressive Institute clinicians because of the positive results it achieves.  At TPI, we utilize the most effective techniques combined with other treatment modalities to make resolution of symptoms comfortable and the person feels supported through the process,” commented Lassen.

Progressive Institute: At the Forefront in Fighting the Stigma of Mental Illness

Despite the prevalence of depression and the fact that it is a very treatable condition, there is still a societal stigma around mental illness as a whole. In fact, the stigma of depression is often the primary reason that so many people suffering from mental health issues do not speak up or seek help. Whether it’s shame, embarrassment, the negative media depictions of mental illness, or fear, people with depression have to contend with their symptoms and so much more.

According to the World Psychiatry Journal, “Many people with serious mental illness are challenged doubly. On one hand, they struggle with the symptoms and disabilities that result from the disease. On the other hand, they are challenged by the stereotypes and prejudice that result from misconceptions about mental illness. As a result of both, people with mental illness are robbed of the opportunities that define a quality life: good jobs, safe housing, satisfactory health care, and affiliation with a diverse group of people.”

Support from professionals and a person’s own network of family members and friends will be instrumental in breaking the silence and secrecy associated with depression. Progressive Institute offers a number of support groups and systems to help patients meet their mental wellness goals.

It is our hope that the more knowledge we can share about the prevalence of depression and mental illness, acceptance and understanding will then follow. 

If you or a loved one is exhibiting signs of depression, we encourage you to contact us today at 203-816-6424 or click here. We offer comprehensive support, strategies, and care for those with primary mental health and/or primary substance use diagnoses, all in a safe, supportive and welcoming environment. 

Know that there is hope for a brighter future and that Progressive Institute is here for you every step of the way!