Depression is an often misunderstood mood disorder, often dismissed by people who don’t know better as someone “feeling sad,” or something that will “just go away.” In fact, depression is a very real mental health problem that can require extensive treatment. There are various types of depression, which depend on the circumstances of the person diagnosed, but regardless of the type, it can be a very difficult thing to deal with, especially if it goes untreated. Here is some basic information to help you better understand what depression is and how it can be treated.
What are Some Signs of Depression?
There is a defined list of symptoms that are used to determine if you are depressed. Experiencing some of these symptoms for at least two weeks for most of the day, nearly every day, you may be considered to suffer from depression:
A persistent sad, empty or anxious feeling
Feeling hopeless or pessimistic
Irritability, frustration, restlessness
Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, helplessness
A loss of interest, or a loss of pleasure, in activities and hobbies
Fatigue, reduced energy
Difficulty remembering, concentrating or making decisions
Thoughts of death or suicide, or attempting suicide
Appetite and weight changes
Aches and other physical pains that don’t have a clear cause and don’t go away with treatment
You can also check out the VA’s simple depression screening here.
What Types of Depression Are There?
While each person is different and will express their emotions and mental health in different ways (or not in an obvious way at all) there are a few typical diagnoses of types of depression. These depend heavily on the circumstances of the individual dealing with depression.
Major depression is diagnosed when someone experiences depression symptoms most of the time over a period of at least two weeks. These symptoms usually disrupt one’s work, study, eating and sleeping habits and schedule
Perinatal depression can be experienced by someone who is pregnant or who has recently given birth
Persistent depressive disorder (also referred to as dysthymia) is diagnosed if they experience depression symptoms for longer than typical, usually for two years, at least
Seasonal affective disorder is diagnosed if the person suffering these symptoms experiences an ebb and flow with the seasons. Usually, seasonal affective disorder happens in late fall and early winter, and will leave in spring and summer
Depression with symptoms of psychosis is diagnosed when the depressed person also shows symptoms of psychosis, like delusions or hallucinations
Who is at Risk for Depression?
Depression is incredibly common, but it most commonly begins in adults, though it can begin as anxiety with children. A family history of depression, certain medications and illnesses, as well as major trauma, stress or life changes can put one at risk for depression. Speaking to a doctor is the best way to determine your risks.
If you are suffering from depression, or what you suspect might be depression, contact Maryland Primary Care so that we can find someone who specializes in helping people determine their diagnosis and helping them find treatment options.