What is Depression?
Depression is more than occasional sadness; it is a serious mental health condition. Depression is a mood disorder that interferes with daily living.
Symptoms of Depression
People suffering from depression may feel hopeless and may appear withdrawn. While there isn’t one archetype for someone suffering from depression, common symptoms include:
- Lasting sadness, anxiety or feelings of “emptiness”
- Feeling hopeless about the future
- Feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless
- Irritability, anger, or restlessness
- Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable
- Inability to concentrate or make decisions
- Irregular sleep patterns – sleeping too much or too little
- Changes in appetite
- Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
- Physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle aches, digestive issues
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Types of Depression
Depression is a serious mental health condition affecting more than 19 million Americans.
Major Depression symptoms of depression for at least 2 weeks that interfere with one’s ability to work, sleep, study, and eat.
Persistent Depressive Disorder (also called Dysthymia), which often includes less severe symptoms of depression that last much longer, typically for at least 2 years.
Perinatal Depression, which occurs when a woman experiences major depression during pregnancy or after delivery (postpartum depression).
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a major depressive disorder that appears (or gets worse) during specific seasons.
Treatment for Depression
There are many modes of therapy and medications that help alleviate depression. Most effective result occurs when multiple treatments are used.
Individual therapy with an experienced professional is often the foundation of treatment for depression. There are many types of therapy proven effective including CBT, Interpersonal Therapy and Psychodynamic Therapy.
Prescribed by a psychiatrist or ARNP, medication can alleviate symptoms of depression and help individuals attend to their daily activities. A combination of medication with individual therapy has been shown to be very effective.
Behavioral Activation Therapy
Depression leads to isolation and avoidance which leads to greater depression. Behavioral Activation works to break the cycle by normalizing routines and increasing engagement and activities.
Brain Stimulation Therapies
Used less frequently than psychotherapy and medication, brain stimulation therapies such as vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), magnetic seizure therapy (MST) and deep brain stimulation (DBS) directly affect brain activity using electrical impulses.
Most often used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), light therapy uses a specialized lightbox or lamp that emits light similar to natural sunlight.
Research has shown that physical activity can reduce symptoms related to depression and anxiety.