It’s finally fall in Tennessee! This is the time of year when the leaves begin changing, spooky decorations go up and a chill falls over the southeast. Autumn festivities may be exciting for some, but for others, they may be a warning sign for upcoming seasonal depression. As the seasons change, we want to encourage you to seek mental health care proactively. Today, we’ll let you know when you should get a depression screening, what that process involves and how it can help you prepare for the winter ahead.
What is a Depression Screening?
Everyone feels sad at times, especially in the unprecedented world of 2020, but clinical depression is different from feeling low. It can affect your ability to function at work or school, and can alter the way you think, feel and behave. For many of us, the fatigue, lack of motivation and despondence associated with depression worsen as the days get shorter. This is commonly referred to as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
If you are displaying any of the characteristic symptoms of depression, we recommend that you seek professional help. Signs include…
- Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness or guilt
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Weight change (significant loss or gain)
- Being angry, frustrated, restless or irritable
- Sleep problems (sleeping too much or not enough)
- Fatigue and low energy
- Thinking about, planning or attempting suicide
- Anhedonia (loss of interest in daily life and activities)
If you suspect that you may have a mood disorder, we encourage you to seek out a depression screening. This is a diagnostic test that helps you find out if you have depression, and it can be administered by your primary care provider or a mental health professional.
What to Expect
You don’t need to do anything to prepare for your screening; just be ready to sit down and have an open, honest conversation. If you are visiting your primary care provider, they may order a blood test to rule out certain disorders like anemia or thyroid disease, which can cause depressive symptoms. Mental health providers, on the other hand, will ask you more detailed questions about your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. They may also give you a questionnaire on these topics. Once your appointment is over, they will be able to tell you whether you need mental health care.
What Happens After a Depression Screening?
If you are diagnosed with depression during your screening, you should seek treatment sooner rather than later. The good news is that effective, evidence-based care is available, and people who follow their providers’ recommendations can (and do) recover.
Mental health treatment can take many forms. Often, therapy is combined with medication for a dual-pronged approach. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) and experiential therapies can help you to process your feelings and begin to work through your emotions.
For those in recovery, it is crucial to inform your provider about your history of substance abuse, especially if any medications are to be prescribed. For optimal results, we recommend that you seek out a program tailored to the needs of people who are living in sobriety. At Cumberland Heights, we offer in-person and telehealth services for patients at every step of our continuum of care. These remote sessions cover individual and group therapy, assessment and support from a peer recovery specialist.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Depression doesn’t have to rule your life this winter. If you’re concerned about the mental health of yourself or a loved one, please don’t hesitate to contact Cumberland Heights today. We offer programming tailored to the needs of dual diagnosis patients: those who are dealing with addiction and a co-occurring mental illness. For more information about our approach to depression screening and mental health care, call 800-646-9998.