Everyone thinks they understand depression. But if you’ve never been depressed, you can’t truly appreciate the deep impact it has on a person’s mental, physical, and emotional health. Even if you struggle with depression, there are facts you may not know.

Our team at MindSet is devoted to helping people overcome depression. As we treat patients, we hear their stories and gain more insight. We combined our experience and training with patients’ knowledge to create a list of five things you need to know about depression.

Depression doesn’t need a reason

Sometimes depression begins because of a major life event, illness, or trauma. Many challenges can trigger depression, from losing your job or getting sick to grief and chronic stress.

But depression doesn’t need an obvious reason to show up. And even when an event causes depression, your mood doesn’t suddenly improve when the trigger resolves.

Depression is a complex disorder that arises from many possible causes. However, your brain has a starring role, as depression is closely associated with imbalances in neuron activity and brain chemicals (neurotransmitters).

The brain changes that occur during depression are visible on an electroencephalogram (EEG). When people are depressed, EEGs show nerve underactivity in the areas that regulate mood. These underperforming nerves result in low levels of essential neurotransmitters.

Most importantly, these changes aren’t always triggered by a specific event. That’s why you can develop depression even though your life seems fine.

You can’t “just get over” depression

People with depression, and those who specialize in treating depression, know that you can’t just get over depression. Unfortunately, that’s a truth many people don’t grasp because they’ve never been depressed or they believe depression is like the blues.

If you struggle with depression, chances are a well-meaning person has tried to help by suggesting you need to pick yourself up, get active, or start thinking about the positives in your life.

Most people don’t realize that depression quite literally makes it impossible to do those things. In addition to brain imbalances controlling their mood, depressed people don’t have the energy, concentration, or motivation to act.

Without treatment, depression can last for months or years. During that time, it keeps getting worse. Depression often drives people to unhealthy behaviors like alcohol or drug abuse. And it too often leads to suicide.

Physical health declines

As if the emotional and mental challenges of depression aren’t enough, depression goes hand-in-hand with physical problems. Painful symptoms affect two-thirds of depressed people. Many patients describe problems such as chronic pain, muscle aches, joint pain, indigestion, and headaches.

While it’s common for people with an illness to become depressed, that’s a two-way street. Depression weakens the immune system and raises stress hormones. As a result, depression may lead to a serious illness.

Medication doesn’t always work

You’re not alone if you’re still depressed despite taking antidepressants. One-third of people with depression don’t improve after trying two or more types of antidepressants.

Treatment-resistant depression is especially challenging because you may lose hope and sink deeper into depression.

Don’t give up. You may overcome depression with an innovative treatment called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

Depression improves with TMS

Even if you have treatment-resistant depression you may get better with TMS. As one of today’s most advanced treatments, TMS uses pulsed magnetic energy to boost nerve function and neurotransmitters.

We perform an EEG to identify the underperforming area of your brain. Then, we program your TMS treatment to precisely target that area with the stimulation needed to restore normal brain activity. As TMS increases nerve function and neurotransmitter levels, your depression may improve.

TMS is a safe and painless option with the potential to rapidly improve depression. To learn more, call MindSet or request an appointment online today.