In a report from the Orlando Office of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, no truer statement about mental health is there than this: “We never notice how wide and deep mental illness has spread until it reaches a state of crisis in our communities.” South Florida is in a mental health crisis.
Depression can affect anyone at any time. It is a common mental health disorder that millions of people. In fact, major depressive disorder (MDD) is the leading cause of disability in the country for people between the ages of 15 to 44, as noted by the Anxiety & Depression Association of America.
The organization also states that MDD affects about 16 million adults over the age of 18 in a given year. It might be startling to learn that people struggling with depression could also be struggling with an anxiety disorder and a substance use disorder.
Fortunately, there is help in the southern part of the state and compassionate, respectful inpatient care for those who need it.
Depression Treatment in South Florida
Many facilities in South Florida are licensed to treat people struggling with depression, from university psychology services to mental health clinics and centers. Inpatient treatment for depression requires the facility to have the space for sleeping, eating, and individual and group therapies. Inpatient facilities must also be governed and accredited by organizations that oversee their operations.
Vista Pines Health in Pembroke Pines is a respected center dedicated to mental health illnesses and substance use disorders. Located a short drive from I-75, it is convenient and easy to find from Miami to Pompano Beach. The centers not only assess the client for depression but also for any other mental health disorder and substance use disorders since those two disorders often go hand in hand.
What is Depression?
The National Institute on Mental Health defines depression as a common but serious mood disorder. It can cause serious symptoms that can affect how you feel, think, and manage everyday activities, like working, eating, and sleeping. Symptoms of depression must be present for at least two weeks. These are:
- Persistently feeling sad, anxious, or having an “empty mood”
- Feeling pessimistic or hopeless
- Feeling worthless, helpless, or guilty
- Feeling irritable
- Feeling fatigued or having decreased energy
- Talking or moving slowly
- Can’t sit still, feeling restless
- Trouble remembering, concentrating, or making decisions
- Waking too early in the morning, oversleeping, or can’t get to sleep
- Weight and appetite changes
- Suicide ideation or suicide attempts
- Indiscriminate aches, pains, headaches, digestive problems, or cramps that have no apparent physical cause
Not all of these symptoms will affect every person struggling with depression. Some people might feel a few symptoms, and some might feel some symptoms more intensely than others.
Types of Depression
There are different types of depression that affect people:
Persistent depressive disorder – Also called dysthymia, this is a depressed mood that lasts for at least two years.
Postpartum depression – Women may experience full-on depression during or after delivery, including symptoms of extreme anxiety, sadness, and exhaustion. The symptoms make it very hard for the woman to take care of the new baby, themselves, and their families.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – Symptoms of depression, such as social withdrawal, weight gain, and increased sleep, begin at the start of winter months when there is less sunlight. SAD usually lessens during the spring or summer.
Psychotic depression – Severe depression plus some type of psychosis, like having delusions (disturbing false fixed beliefs) having hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are upsetting that no one else can hear or see). Psychotic symptoms are usually depressive, such as illness, guilt, or poverty.
Bipolar disorder – Bipolar disorder is not depression, per se, but a person with this disorder might experience extremely low moods that meet the specs for major depression.
How is Depression Treated?
Depression is very treatable, and between 80 to 90 percent of people respond well to treatment. Nearly all people with depression get some symptoms of relief when they are treated. Treatment for depression can include medication and psychotherapy.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are different types of antidepressant medications prescribed to treat depression. These are:
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): SSRIs are usually the standard medicine that doctors initially prescribed for depression. They have fewer side effects than other antidepressants.
Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs): These are called atypical antidepressants because they do not fit into any other depressant category.
Tricyclic antidepressants: These types of antidepressants may be quite effective in relieving depression symptoms but can cause severe side effects than the newer drugs mentioned above. They are usually not prescribed unless you tried an SSRI first, but it did not work.
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs): MAOIs are generally prescribed when no other drugs have worked to alleviate symptoms of depression and can cause serious side effects. When prescribed this drug, you would have to follow a strict diet due to the dangerous and potentially fatal interactions with some foods, such as pickles, specific cheeses, and wine. In addition, they may interact poorly with certain medications and herbal supplements.
Inpatient mental health treatment may include psychotherapy, sometimes called “talk therapy.” Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) might also be beneficial for you. It involves work with a therapist to acknowledge and change thinking patterns. The American Psychological Association notes that CBT utilizes strategies that help the client recognize distorted thinking, understand the behavior and motivation of others, and use problem-solving skills to deal with difficult situations. They also indicate that CBT helps people learn how to face their fears and not avoid them and learn how to calm the mind and relax the body.
How to Pay for Depression Treatment
Inpatient depression treatment might sound rather expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Most insurance plans with the Affordable Care Act cover mental health treatment. If you do not have insurance, there are other options to help pay for treatment, such as medical loans like Prosper Healthcare Lending. You might also consider asking family and friends for a loan or seek a medical loan online. As with any unknown entity, always be sure to read the fine print and ask as many questions as you have before securing a loan from an unknown source.
South Florida Mental Health Statistics
The 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) relays some specific data for the South Florida metro area on mental health and depression. The report found in 2016 that 4.9 percent or 200,000 adults aged 18 or older experienced a major depressive episode. However, this rate was lower than the rates for the state and nation.
The Florida Behavioral Health Association estimates that South Florida has one mental health provider per 501-750 people. Another report indicates there were 484 suicides in Broward and Miami-Dade counties in 2016.
Findings from the National Health Interview as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that “18.5% if adults had symptoms of depression that were mild, moderate, or severe in the past 2 weeks.”
Depression Help in South Florida
If you live in South Florida and are struggling with depression, there are many options for inpatient mental health treatment. Vista Pines Health is a mental health treatment facility that is dedicated to helping people with mental health disorders and substance use. If you believe you are seriously depressed, we provide inpatient treatment from caring professionals who value your dignity. You do not have to struggle with depression alone. There is help, and it is not far.