Depression is a common but serious mood disorder. It affects how you feel, think, and function. Everything from sleeping to eating and even the ability to focus is influenced. It’s important to understand that the symptoms of depression vary for each individual, ranging from mild to severe. While it is normal to experience negative emotions, symptoms of depression that last for at least two weeks need to be addressed by a mental health professional. Experiencing depression or watching a loved one who is depressed is very challenging, and it is essential to find treatment.
There are multiple types of depression; each varies based on the reason they develop, the severity of symptoms, and the circumstances in which they occur. However, all types of depression include some of the following symptoms:
- Consistent sad or anxious mood
- Pessimism or feeling hopeless
- Irritability, frustration, or restlessness
- Feelings of guilt or helplessness
- Loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities
- Decreased energy/fatigue
- Oversleeping or difficulty sleeping
- Changes in appetite
- Difficulty focusing or making decisions
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
This type of depression impacts more than 8% of adults in the United States each year. A major depressive episode is categorized as a period of two weeks or more in which a person has a loss of interest and enjoyment in daily activities, a depressive mood, and the majority of the following issues:
- Trouble sleeping
- Change in eating
- Low energy
- Lack of ability to concentrate
- Decreased sense of self-worth
Dysthymia, or persistent depressive disorder, is a type of depression that affects people with less severe symptoms that last for a longer period of time, typically around two years. It includes a lack of interest in normal activities, hopelessness, lack of productivity, and low self-esteem. These feelings, while less severe, can greatly impact a person’s life in various ways, affecting relationships, work, school, and more.
This mood disorder occurs in women when they are pregnant or after they have given birth. The symptoms of perinatal depression can vary from mild to severe but generally include sadness, anxiety, and fatigue. At the same time, many women experience what is commonly called “baby blues,” which is due to the hormonal changes that occur during and after pregnancy. Perinatal depression lasting more than two weeks is something to be concerned about.
Also called seasonal depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is triggered by seasonal changes. It frequently occurs in climates with less sunlight during parts of the year, lasting for four to five months. Seasonal mood changes impact how a person feels, thinks, and handles daily activities. Symptoms include feeling fatigued and depressed during the winter months and increased energy and anxiety during the summer.
When major depression occurs with psychosis, it is called psychotic depression. Psychosis is a mental health disorder that can cause a person to lose track of reality, resulting in delusions or hallucinations. This condition can range from mild to severe. In general, depressive symptoms lean toward depression. This could look like delusions of guilt, poverty, or illness.
Depression can happen at any age and is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. Many factors impact a person’s risk of depression, including genetics, environmental, and psychological. A family history, in particular, increases the risk of depression.
Stress, trauma, and significant life events can also impact a person’s risk of depression. Commonly, these events precede depression. Treatment can address both depression and trauma, helping clients to work through the roots of their mental health issues.
Medications and certain physical illnesses can also increase the risk of depression. Both of these can impact a person’s ability to find meaning and purpose in life, as they can affect what we can and cannot do.
Depression affects many people and can be one component of a dual diagnosis. In particular, depression is highly associated with substance use disorder (SUD). Many with depression try to self-medicate with substances to combat the symptoms of depression and change their mood. This can be seriously dangerous, especially when taking illicit drugs or combining substances.
SUD can also lead to depression, as many substances affect our nervous system. When substances are used long-term, especially in adolescents, they impact how our brains and bodies function. This can increase the risk of depression.
Anyone can be affected by depression. Because it can have such adverse impacts on your life, it is essential to seek support and guidance. Effective and reliable treatment is important to improve mental health. At 449 Recovery, we have reliable, affordable, and trustworthy services that can help. Our goal is to utilize evidence-based practices that are focused on your individual needs.
Our treatment options include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), psychotherapy, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), holistic healing modalities, and more. Our programs include group and private therapy sessions to help you find community while you heal. At 449 Recovery, we feel it is important for us to continue to grow as well, which is why our staff consistently engages with mental health community experts to improve our programs. We want to help you heal and find freedom in your life.