Medical IDs for Depression
The confidence to live with depression
To an outside observer, depression may seem like sadness, or it may not even be obvious at all. But for people living with depression, it is more than just sadness or a passing case of the “blues.”
Depression is a medical condition that causes emotional and physical symptoms that can seriously impact a person’s ability to function in their daily life. Thankfully, there are many effective treatments available that can improve quality of life for people living with depression.
Because depression can have such varying symptoms it can be very important for people living with this condition to wear a medical ID for depression to help healthcare professionals provide the most appropriate treatment.
How MedicAlert protects those living with depression
One thing you shouldn’t worry about is what could happen in a health emergency. MedicAlert’s protection plans offer benefits that extend beyond the ID, providing safety and peace of mind for people living with depression, their families and caregivers.
24/7 Emergency Response
Our team provides first responders the information they need to provide fast, accurate care.
Digital Health Profile
All your vital information, all in one place for you and your caregiver.
Emergency Contact Notification
In an emergency, we connect families so that no one is alone in a crisis.
Share the information that’s important to your care, such as use of rescue medications or contraindication for tests like MRIs.
Pair a medical ID for depression with the protection plan that’s right for you.
What exactly is depression?
Like any medical condition, depression is not something a person can will away or control. This mental health diagnosis affects how a person feels both emotionally and physically and can influence how they behave.
In the United States, 21 million people, or 8.4% of the population, have experienced a major depressive episode, making depression one of the most common mental health disorders. During these episodes, people experience sadness, loss of interest in activities, and other disruptive symptoms.
There are several types of depression that can be diagnosed:
- Major depressive disorder (MDD)– severe symptoms of depression that last longer than 2 weeks, and interfere with daily life
- Bipolar depression– bipolar causes extreme emotional highs and lows; periods of low mood are termed bipolar depression
- Perinatal or postpartum depression– this depression happens during or after pregnancy
- Persistent depressive disorder (PDD)– although not as severe as MDD, these chronic depression symptoms are called dysthymia and can last two years or longer
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)– this is a severe form of premenstrual disorder (PMS), causing depression symptoms around the time of menstruation (having a period)
- Psychotic depression– this causes severe depression along with delusions (believing things that aren’t based in reality) and hallucinations (seeing things that aren’t really there)
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)– this form of depression is seasonal, usually starting in the fall and winter and ending in the spring and summer
What causes depression?
It has been understood for some time that depression is impacted by imbalances of chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. But, depression is much more complex than this single cause.
According to Harvard Medical School, depression can happen due to a combination of causes, including genetics, stress, problems with nerve connections in the brain that help mood regulation, and chemical imbalances.
Other risk factors for developing depression include having a history of the following problems:
- Sleep disturbances
- Chronic pain
- Medical illnesses
- Drug and alcohol abuse
Additionally, some medications can trigger depression and some medical problems can mimic depression.
What are the symptoms and complications of depression?
According to the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms of depression may happen only once for some people, but for others, they can be chronic and happen many times. During an episode of depression, these symptoms may happen regularly and/or persistently:
- Feeling sad, tearful, hopeless, or empty
- Increased irritability, anger, and frustration, sometimes over minor things
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities previously enjoyed, such as sex, hobbies, or sports
- Sleep disturbances- sleeping too much, or sleeping too little
- Extreme fatigue and tiredness- leading to the inability to do even small tasks
- Unexplained, often ongoing physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
- Appetite changes- either poor appetite and eating less, or increased appetite and eating too much
- Anxiety, agitation, or restlessness
- Thinking, speaking, or moving so slow others would notice
- Feeling worthless, guilty; poor self-esteem, fixating on past failures
- Trouble with thinking, concentrating, making decisions, and memory
- Thoughts of death, thinking about suicide, or attempting suicide
These symptoms must last at least two weeks for a depression diagnosis, and there cannot be a medical condition that is causing the symptoms.
Without treatment, depression can worsen and lead to complications such as self-harming behaviors or even suicide and death. Thankfully, there are many very effective treatments that can help you avoid these outcomes.
How do you diagnose depression?
If your doctor suspects you may have depression after taking a history of your symptoms and concerns, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) recommends the following approaches for diagnosing depression:
- Using a screening tool like the PHQ-2 or PHQ-9 that asks patients to describe whether they have specific symptoms linked to depression
- If the screening is positive, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th edition (DSM-5) is used as a reference. If the criteria in the DSM-5 are met, depression can be diagnosed.
- Lab tests should be done to rule out any medical conditions that mimic depression
What to engrave on MedicAlert medical IDs for depression:
MedicAlert offers free custom engraving on all our depression bracelets and other medical ID products. The engraving on medical IDs for depression should include any critical medical information that can protect and save lives in case of an accident or a medical emergency, for example:
- Your medical history, including depression
- Any other important details you want first responders to see right away
Sample engraving. Consult our team if you need help engraving your medical ID for depression.
How do you treat, manage, and live with depression?
There are many effective treatments today that help people living with depression have an improved quality of life and fewer disruptive symptoms. The choice of treatment will depend on whether your depression is mild or severe. Finding the best treatment can sometimes require some trial and error, as everyone responds differently to each option.
The American Psychiatric Association lists the following treatment options, noting that depression is one of the most treatable mental health conditions, with a high success rate:
- Medication– antidepressants can help treat chemical imbalances in the brain.
- Psychotherapy– meeting with a therapist regularly for “talk therapy” like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in combination with medication has been shown to help depression. This works by teaching people to shift their thinking and practice new strategies for positively reacting to challenges in their lives.
- Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)– used when other treatment approaches haven’t been effective, ECT involves delivering electrical stimulation to the brain in a medically supervised procedure while the person is sedated.
- Lifestyle changes– getting more exercise, eating healthy, avoiding alcohol, and getting enough sleep can all positively impact depression symptoms.
Along with the above treatment options, a newer method of brain stimulation called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is also available. This is usually offered to patients living with depression who have not had success with other treatments. It involves using a powerful magnetic field to stimulate regions of the brain involved in depression. TMS does not require sedation and has few or no side effects.
In cases of severe depression that leads to a crisis such as suicidal thoughts or plans, it’s important to seek immediate medical care. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is now known as the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline and is available 24/7 by dialing or texting 988.
Along with acting immediately if you’re in crisis, wearing a high-quality MedicAlert medical ID for depression with its globally recognized symbol for medical emergencies can help first responders understand important information about your history of depression. Even if you’re not able to share these details in an emergency, MedicAlert can be your voice. This can help you receive the best care.
How medical IDs for depression combined with MedicAlert Membership provide peace of mind
Wearing a medical ID can give you added support for a chronic medical condition like depression. Along with medical care and treatment recommended by your doctor, a MedicAlert ID can ensure first responders know your important medical details in any emergency. This means that you can receive fast, accurate care.
Adding a Protection Plan to your MedicAlert ID is another layer of protection for any emergencies. With membership in one of these plans, you’ll have access to services such as:
- A robust digital health profile containing your medical history, medications, allergies, vaccinations, and more
- A 24/7 Emergency Response Team to relay vital information to first responders
- Emergency contact notification so your loved ones can be by your side quickly in an emergency
- A printable patient profile that you can use for medical appointments
- Patient instructions that can share information important to your care
- Physician notification of any doctor you designate in case of emergencies
- Document storage for medical device info and more
- Sharing of your advance directives, such as DNR status