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Signs of Depression: Treatments and Therapies

Knowing the signs of depression are important in order to be on the lookout not only for yourself, but for your loved ones

What is Depression?

While the terms “depression” or “feeling depressed” get tossed around quite often to describe feeling down after a bad week, depression is much more complicated than that. There are several types of depression, from major depressive disorder to bipolar and more.

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How to Navigate Depressive Tendencies

The first step towards getting help for the persistent feelings of depression is seeking professional help. With the guidance of a psychiatrist, you’ll have access to many different treatment options, including therapy and medication. We’re going to take a closer look at the many signs of depression, as well as some of the depression treatment options that are available. Once the signs have been identified, it’s much easier to get help for depression.

Just How Common is Depression?

Depression is a serious and common mental illness that negatively impacts the way you think, feel, and act. Many things can cause an individual to suffer from depression. For some, it is triggered by major life changes, such as the death of a loved one, the development of a serious medical illness, or even a move. Others that have a history of depression in the family may be genetically predisposed to develop it at some point in their lives, while other individuals can develop it without any known reason at all.

How Common is Depression?

Signs of Depression

About three hundred million people are impacted by depression, which is around 4% of the global population. Depression becomes more dangerous for those that don’t have access to proper depression treatment. Suicide is the fourth most common cause of death for those aged between 15 and 29 years old, with more than seven hundred thousand losing their battle to depression annually.

Signs of Depression

When it comes to being diagnosed with depression, the first step is knowing the signs to look out for. If you’ve been feeling depressed and experiencing feelings of overwhelming sadness, lack of sex drive, and loss of energy, you may be experiencing depression. However, those are not the only signs.

Some of the most commons depression symptoms include:

  • Reduced interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • A loss of sexual desire
  • Changes in appetite
  • Unintentional weight loss or gain
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Agitation, restlessness, and pacing 
  • Slowed movement and speech
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, or an attempt at suicide

What Are the Different Types of Depression?

The most common type of depression is major depressive disorder, but there are several other types of depression that people may suffer from.

Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)

Formerly known as dysthymia, persistent depressive disorder is a type of chronic depression that is present and persistent for at least two years. Cases can be classified as mild, moderate, or severe. While those with PDD may have some relief for a few days to a couple of months at a time, this break in symptoms does not last very long. Depression symptoms may include:

  • Anger and irritability
  • Changes in appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Trouble concentrating 2

Bipolar Disorder

This mood disorder causes those with it to have low periods where the depression can be overwhelming, with periods of abnormally elevated mood (mania), which can be severe and lead to hospitalization. Bipolar disorder can be dangerous when untreated. Early signs of depression include:

  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Hopelessness
  • Irritability
  • Indecision
  • Mania 3

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

It is not uncommon for people to be more down during the winter months, but if you find that you are feeling depressed during the winter but feel back to normal once spring rolls around, you may have seasonal affective disorder. It is believed to be triggered by the changes in the day and night pattern that happens in the winter. It often goes undiagnosed but is believed to be fairly common.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

PMS is common in many individuals before their menstrual period begins, with symptoms such as irritability, increased appetite, breast tenderness, and fatigue, but PMDD has more pronounced mood-related symptoms.

The most common symptoms include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Feeling sad
  • Food cravings and binging
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Severe anxiety and stress

Postpartum (or Perinatal) Depression (PPD)

One of the biggest risks following the birth of a child is hormonal shifts that can lead to postpartum depression. From changes in mood to anxiety and irritability, PPD is more common than most people realize. If the symptoms persist beyond two weeks after birth, it’s best to seek help for PPD. Symptoms include:

  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Changes in appetite
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Loss of interest in normal activities
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Trouble bonding with your baby 4

What Causes Depression?

There are many different causes that can lead to depression. Some of the most common ones, however, are genetics, neurotransmitters, brain inflammation, general life hardships, and traumatic brain injuries.

Diagnosis of Depression

For those that are displaying multiple early signs of depression, it’s best to speak with a doctor for an official diagnosis. The most reliable way to diagnose someone with depression is through a psychiatric evaluation.  Once properly diagnosed, depression treatment can begin. Methods to test for depression include:

  • Physical exam
  • Lab tests
  • Psychiatric evaluation

Is Depression Genetic?

While depression can be caused by several different reasons, many people develop it due to a genetic predisposition. Even though it can be inherited through genetics, having a family history does not mean that you will for sure develop it.

Is Depression a Disability?

Some individuals with severe depression that impacts their day-to-day life to a point where they are unable to maintain a job and support themselves may be able to get disability for their disorder.

Treatment for Depression

Signs of Depression

There are several ways that people can be treated for depression. Depression medication can include:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Tricyclic and tetracyclic antidepressants
  • Noradrenaline and dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs)
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)

There are also many avenues that don’t include medication, like therapy. Some psychotherapy options are: 

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Light therapy for depression
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)

Opportunities for Wellness

If you believe you or a loved one need help with depression, speaking to your doctor is the first step to take. Dealing with depression on your own can be difficult and dangerous, as untreated depression can even eventually lead to suicide. If you find that you are dealing with the warning signs of depression, it’s best to speak with your doctor about your depressed mood. There are several great depression treatment options for those struggling with depression.

Treatment at Boardwalk Recovery

At Boardwalk Recovery, we are happy to help our clients achieve mental wellness, equipping them with the necessary tools to mitigate their depressive tendencies and regain autonomy over their own lives and wellness. Contact us today!
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