We now live in a time where more and more people value their mental health. We now also acknowledge better that the brain, just like any other human organ, can sometimes fail. Our brain can only handle so much stress before its health starts to deteriorate and malfunction. Thus, it is important that we, and the people around us, value our sanity and peace.
Depression is one of the most common disorders of the brain and often develops alongside anxiety. Although it is completely normal to feel sad and down from time to time, feeling these emotions frequently and for such long periods of time could lead to depression.
Let’s dive into a deeper understanding of depression and its treatment.
Depression: Is It Even a Real Thing?
Major depressive disorder, more commonly known as depression, is a medical illness that affects your everyday life. Depression negatively affects the way you feel and think, making it hard for you to function in your usual everyday activities. In its severe forms, depression can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems.
Due to hormonal imbalances caused by depression, a patient will find it hard to focus, which later on decreases their ability to work. It also causes them to feel unmotivated most of the time and they could even barely find the will to get out of bed.
However, depression disorder symptoms are not the same for everyone. It may include:
- Prolonged low or sour mood
- Unmotivated on things previously enjoyed
- Low sexual drive or loss of interest in pleasurable activities
- The feeling of self-pity or guilt
- Avoidance of social activities or gatherings
- Either having insomnia or hypersomnia
- Frequent feelings of low energy and increased fatigue
- Difficulty in gaining focus and concentration
- Changes in appetite and eating patterns
- Having suicidal or deathly thoughts
If you have at least three of these symptoms, it is best to consult a doctor. And you don’t have to worry!
Even though depression is considered serious and can often time be life-threatening, it is in fact among the mental disorders that are most treatable, according to the American Psychiatric Association. The treatment could be prescribed medication or therapy but oftentimes, it’s a mixture of both.
But what if you are too depressed or anxious to go out and visit a doctor? You can still get medical health services online through teletherapy and telemedicine. But what are they?
Teletherapy and Telemedicine: Are They Safe and Effective?
Teletherapy and telemedicine are forms of telehealth. These are health services provided virtually. Teletherapy is a therapy session done online while telemedicine is the act of evaluating patients and proving them with diagnoses virtually.
Although it was not ideal to diagnose disorders and diseases over the internet, due to the pandemic and other special cases such as depression and anxiety, it cannot be avoided. However, it is important to note that the professionals providing teletherapy and telemedicine are still reliable.
To be able to diagnose through the internet, one must comply with the requirements set by HIPPA. HIPPA compliance is a must for all organizations providing health care in the US as it is regulated by the US Department of Health and Human Services. Overall, the purpose of HIPPA is to protect the patients as much as they can.
For instance, it is a requirement under HIPPA that every patient’s data and privacy will be secured. This includes past, present, and future medical records including their illnesses and medication.
This rule is under the HIPPA Privacy Law and the Patient Privacy Act. Thus, no information related to the patient will ever be disclosed without the patient’s consent. This makes HIPPA-compliant organizations safe for patients dealing with depression.
Most often than not, people who think that they have depression refuse to get help from professionals due to the stigma associated with it. Especially if you are dealing with people of older generations who think that depression, anxiety, and mental health are not even a thing. Thankfully, people nowadays are becoming more aware and seeking help.
Mental health problems in patients are the leading cause of teletherapy visits. This is especially evident during the COVID-19 lockdown. A report by the CDC shows that the signs of depression and anxiety among adults rose to 41.5% in February 2021. This is compared to 36.4% in August 2020.
Teletherapy is an online healthcare consultation where a patient and doctor can talk freely. It aims to relieve the patients from their burdens while letting the healthcare professional assess the issues.
Applications of Teletherapy
Teletherapy can be used for the following cases:
- Patients suffering from social anxiety
- Patients suffering from traumatic experiences outside their home
- Follow-up therapy visits
- Patients battling mental health disorders
- Professionals that do not want to risk their safety
The origin of telemedicine roots in the 1950’s when a few hospital systems and universities tried to share medical information through calling telephones. At this time, it is mostly used to connect doctors between different organizations for healthcare efficiency.
But with the high technological advancements we have today, telemedicine widen its reach because of the high-quality videos and audio outputs the devices can record. Doctors can now use the internet and smart devices to diagnose patients in remote locations.
Applications of Telemedicine
Telemedicine is a good option for the following cases:
- Follow-up consultations
- Management of remote chronic diseases
- Management of highly contagious diseases
- Assisted living healthcare support
- Post-hospitalization care
Depression is no longer a battle you have to face alone. A lot more people are being open-minded about this disorder and that it cannot simply be healed by simply praying and having deep faith.
Mental illnesses are real; thus, we must always take care of our mental health. Depression isn’t something that magically grows overnight. It develops through time due to excessive stress and overwhelming emotions that a person can only handle. While it can be avoided, it’s hard to do so, especially in its early stages.
When you feel like you need to seek help, contact any HIPPA-compliant organization. Ask if they could provide telemedicine and teletherapy options for you. You got this!