For individuals living with depression, it can be common to become strangely comfortable with the condition. This is not to say that the condition is by any means pleasurable. Depression is a clinical mental illness that takes time, patience, and great effort to treat. Because of these qualifications for effective recovery from the condition, many people don’t seek help. Depending on the length of time someone has lived with the untreated mental illness, chronic depression may, unfortunately, become their comfort zone.
Individuals facing challenges with depression may seek peace through negative behaviors such as overeating, isolation, substance abuse, and oversleeping. After living with these symptoms for so long, they may begin to feel normal. As a result, an individual may avoid treatment for fear of the unknown. If a person struggles to remember a time before depression, the potential to return to that part of their life may bring on feelings of anxiety. It can almost feel like changing their identity.
Finding professional support can help an individual understand the positive benefits of treatment. Committing to a treatment plan tailored to meet an individual’s needs can significantly improve the symptoms associated with their mental health condition. The individual may gradually learn that life without depression, though unfamiliar, is much better. Mental health care professionals can also provide clients with helpful strategies to recognize the signs leading to depressive episodes. This can help an individual prevent certain behaviors and manage their symptoms for a better life.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), depression is one of the most rampant mental health disorders in the United States. Major depression can impair one’s ability to interact with others or complete day-to-day tasks. The condition can cause continual sadness, which can be severely demotivating. Depression can negatively impact how a person thinks and feels for days.
Unfortunately, many of those who struggle with depression don’t seek help. In the year 2020, approximately:
- 14.8 million adults in the U.S. at the age of 18 and older had at least one depressive episode involving severe impairment
- Only 66% of those adults received treatment
- Approximately 2.9 million adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 had at least one depressive episode in the same year
- 12% of the population in this age range was affected
- Only 46.9% of impaired adolescents received treatment for depression
This survey covered residents in townhouses, houses, condominiums, apartments, shelters, boarding houses, college dormitories, sober living homes, civilians living on military bases, and more.
Is Depression a Choice?
Depression is not a choice; it is a mental illness that cannot be controlled or turned off. A person does not wake up choosing to feel depressed. Nor does an individual ask to feel the symptoms associated with the condition. Clinical depression is a serious health condition that can severely impact one’s mental and physical state.
Anyone of any age group can develop this condition. According to an NIMH study, the exact causes of depression are unknown. Yet, a few risk factors may include genetics, a history of traumatic events, the sudden loss of a loved one, and co-occurring health conditions.
Depression Left Undiagnosed
According to the journal SSM -Population Health, depression is the leading cause of global disability. The condition costs approximately $233 billion in the United States alone. Untreated depression can significantly decrease and worsen the quality of life for all, as clinical studies have proven the significance of economic burden in the U.S.
Left untreated, clinical depression can lead to several problems. An individual with this condition may try to self-medicate by partaking in risky behaviors such as using illicit drugs, drinking alcohol, or misusing prescription medications. This can lead to dependence on these substances, eventually resulting in substance use disorder (SUD).
Mental illness can impair relationships, interfere with a person’s ability to recover from physical health conditions positively, and can even cause problems in an individual’s employment status. Depression is known to carry a high risk of suicidal thoughts and attempts, which can ultimately lead to death.
Effective Treatment Options
Seeking support from mental health care professionals can greatly improve one’s overall quality of life. A healthcare team can develop a personalized treatment plan, which increases the likelihood of recovery. Different types of interventions, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy, and supportive therapy, are effective treatment options for depression. Psychotherapy can assist an individual facing challenges in managing symptoms of major depression.
Practicing self-help strategies such as developing a self-care routine in combination with professional treatment can significantly improve an individual’s mental state. Taking time to research the background of depression, learn to recognize the signs involved in the disorder, and commit to a treatment plan can enhance the positive results of treatment. Reaching out to family and friends can support those hesitant about treatment or unsure of its effectiveness.
Depression is not a choice; it is a mental illness. If the condition is left untreated, it can lead to several other health problems and affect the person with it and society as a whole. Conversely, surrendering to professional mental health treatment can greatly improve an individual’s quality of life. As a licensed and Joint Commission Accredited Mental Health Treatment Center, 12 South Recovery is a leader in Orange County mental health treatment. With our team of expert mental health therapists, we strive to provide compassionate, individualized care using the most cutting-edge, evidence-based modes of treatment. If you or a loved one is seeking additional support, please call 12 South Recovery at 866-839-6876 to learn more.