DEPRESSION AND TREATMENT
Depression is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work, at home or anywhere else. Knowing your in depression is often very difficult to identify. How do I know if I have depression.
TYPES OF DEPRESSION
Depression exsit in several forms. Most often when people do use the term “clinical depression”, they are generally reffering to major depressive disorder (MMD). Here are the 7 most common types of depression.
Major Depression Disorder
- Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) Major depressive disorder is a mood disorder characterized by a number of key features:
Lack of interest in activities normally enjoyed
Changes in weight
Changes in sleep
Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
Thoughts of death and suicide
Persistent Depression Disorder (PDD)
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2. Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia) , now known as persistent depressive disorder, refers to a type of chronic depression present for more days than not for at least two years. It can be mild, moderate, or severe.1
People might experience brief periods of not feeling depressed, but this relief of symptoms lasts for two months or less. While the symptoms are not as severe as major depressive disorder, they are pervasive and long-lasting.
PDD symptoms include:
Feelings of sadness
Loss of interest and pleasure
Anger and irritability
Feelings of guilt
Difficulty falling or staying asleep
Sleeping too much
Feelings of hopelessness
Fatigue and lack of energy
Changes in appetite
Bipolar Disorder Depression
- Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder characterized by periods of abnormally elevated mood known as mania. These periods can be mild (hypomania) or they can be so extreme as to cause marked impairment with a person’s life, require hospitalization, or affect a person’s sense of reality. The vast majority of those with bipolar disorder also have episodes of major depression.2
In addition to depressed mood and markedly diminished interest in activities, people with depression often have a range of physical and emotional symptoms which may include:1
Fatigue, insomnia, and lethargy
Unexplained aches, pains, and psychomotor agitation
Hopelessness and loss of self-esteem
Irritability and anxiety
Indecision and disorganization
Postpartum Depression (PPD)
- Postpartum Depression (PPD)
Pregnancy can bring about significant hormonal shifts that can often affect a woman’s moods. Depression can have its onset during pregnancy or following the birth of a child.
Currently classified as depression with peripartum onset, postpartum depression (PPD) is more than that just the “baby blues.”1
Mood changes, anxiety, irritability, and other symptoms are not uncommon after giving birth and often last up to two weeks. PPD symptoms are more severe and longer-lasting.
Such symptoms can include:
Low mood, feelings of sadness
Severe mood swings
Trouble bonding with your baby
Feeling helpless and hopeless
Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy
Feeling inadequate or worthless
Anxiety and panic attacks
Thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby
Thoughts of suicide
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
Among the most common symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) are irritability, fatigue, anxiety, moodiness, bloating, increased appetite, food cravings, aches, and breast tenderness. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) produces similar symptoms, but those related to mood are more pronounced.
PMDD symptoms may include:
Feeling sad, hopeless, or self-critical
Severe feelings of stress or anxiety
Mood swings, often with bouts of crying
Inability to concentrate
Food cravings or binging
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
If you experience depression, sleepiness, and weight gain during the winter months but feel perfectly fine in spring, you may have a condition known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) currently called major depressive disorder with seasonal pattern.
SAD is believed to be triggered by a disturbance in the normal circadian rhythm of the body. Light entering through the eyes influences this rhythm, and any seasonal variation in night/day pattern can cause a disruption leading to depression.
Prevalence rates for SAD can be difficult to pinpoint because the condition often goes undiagnosed and unreported. It is more common in areas further from the equator. For example, estimates suggest that SAD impacts 1% of the population of Florida; that number increases to 9% in Alaska.5
SAD is more common in far northern or far southern regions of the planet and can often be treated with light therapy to offset the seasonal loss the daylight.
- Atypical Depression
Do you experience signs of depression (such as overeating, sleeping too much, or extreme sensitivity to rejection) but find yourself suddenly perking up in face of a positive event?
Based on these symptoms, you may be diagnosed with atypical depression (current terminology refers to this as depressive disorder with atypical features), a type of depression that doesn’t follow what was thought to be the “typical” presentation of the disorder. Atypical depression is characterized by a specific set of symptoms related to:1
Excessive eating or weight gain
Fatigue, weakness, and feeling “weighed down”
Intense sensitivity to rejection
Strongly reactive moods
Atypical depression is actually more common than the name might imply. Unlike other forms of depression, people with atypical depression may respond better to a type of antidepressant known as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI). Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are a class of drugs that inhibit the activity of one or both monoamine oxidase enzymes: monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) and monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B). They are best known as highly efficacious anti-depressants, as well as effective therapeutic agents for panic disorder and social phobia. They are particularly effective in treatment-resistant depression and atypical depression.
Treatment for Depression
The management and care of a patient to combat depression is very essential for its success. Medical treatment includes: All treatment not otherwise excluded (below). Using prescription medications, or use of a non-prescription drug at prescription strength. Below a six step by step guide in the treatment of depression.
Step One: Know the Signs and Symptoms of Depression
The first step in beating depression is to recognize the symptoms. Says Dr. Mago, “Not all these symptoms are present in every person who has major depression, but many of them are:”
Changes in sleep, appetite, and energy
Lack of interest and difficulty concentrating
Feeling guilty, hopeless, and empty
If you have some depression symptoms, it’s important to know that not all depression is abnormal. “Symptoms of depression can occur in normal people who suffer a loss, and the most typical example is bereavement. A major depressive disorder is differentiated from normal sadness by being more severe and persistent than is warranted by the circumstances,” Mago says. You might have a major depression if you have symptoms of depression all the time and they last for at least two weeks. If you are having persistent thoughts of suicide or death, you should get help right away.
Step Two: Get Help for Depression
“If you think you may have depression, the next thing you should do is to seek assessment from a mental health professional or from your family doctor. Be open about describing your symptoms and to the possibility that they may indicate some form of depression,” advises Mago.
There is no lab test that can tell a health care professional if you have depression. The diagnosis is based on your symptoms. “In most cases, a few basic laboratory tests should be done to rule out the possibility that another medical condition, most typically underactivity of the thyroid gland, may be causing the depression,” says Mago.
Step Three: Get the Right Depression Diagnosis
Different types of depression may require different kinds of treatment. “The therapist should assess the type of depression, differentiating between a normal sadness due to a significant loss, bipolar depression, and different types of unipolar depression,” says Mago. Common types of depression include:
Major depression. This is also called clinical depression, major depressive disorder, or unipolar depression.
Dysthymia. This type of depression is similar to major depression, but not as severe.
Postpartum depression. This is a serious type of depression that affects about 13 percent of women who are pregnant or new mothers.
Another possible diagnosis is bipolar disorder. Although this is a condition distinct from depression, bipolar disorder was once known as manic depression because it alternates between periods of depression and excitability.
In most cases, depending on the type of depression you have, the next step in beating depression is starting treatment. “Patients presenting to their family doctor are likely to be prescribed an antidepressant unless they request a referral for psychotherapy. For mild or moderate depression, psychotherapy can be as effective as medication. If possible, the combination of an antidepressant and psychotherapy is warranted in some patients,” explains Mago.
Step Four: Understand the Types of Depression Treatment
Finding the right kind of treatment is an important step. Treatments can be used alone or in combination, and will depend on your diagnosis and response to the treatments you are started on. Here are some of the possibilities:
Psychotherapy. This is therapy that uses talk instead of medicine. Types of psychotherapy include cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy.
Medications. If you have a more severe type of depression or you are not responding to psychotherapy alone, your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant. These medications may take up to six weeks to work.
Electroconvulsive therapy. In severe cases where medication and psychotherapy are not working, ECT is highly effective.
Step Five: Assess Your Depression Treatment
As you continue the steps toward recovery from depression, you should know that 80 to 90 percent of people diagnosed with depression can be treated successfully. But it is not unusual to have some treatment adjustments along the way. “With the first trial of an antidepressant medication, about one third of patients show excellent improvement, one third have substantial but incomplete treatment, and one third have little or no improvement. Of patients who have incomplete response, the majority go on to have substantial improvement with a change in the antidepressant, addition of another medication to the antidepressant, or addition of psychotherapy,” says Mago.
Step Six: Get Complete Care for Depression
“In recent years it has been realized that patients with clinical depression should be treated till they are have virtually no symptoms at all. Otherwise they remain at higher risk of becoming depressed again in response to stresses in their life,” notes Mago.
It’s also important to remember that there are steps you can take for yourself to beat depression and keep it from coming back. These include lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet and regular exercise. You should also educate yourself about depression and establish a good support system. With the proper steps, you can beat depression.