Depression Help » Mental Health Tips

What is Depression?

In general, depression is classified as a mood disorder. It may be described as feelings of sadness, loss, or anger that interfere with a person’s everyday activities. As a matter of fact, depression is also fairly common.

Whereby, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 8.1 percent of American adults ages 20 and over had depression in any given two-week period. Especially, from 2013 to 2018.

However, people experience depression in different ways. Not to mention, it may interfere with your daily work, resulting in lost time and lower productivity. And also, it can influence relationships and some chronic health conditions.

There are many different types of depression. In particular, events in your life cause some, and chemical changes in your brain cause others.

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How do some people cope with depression? – Image by Robin Higgins from Pixabay

What is Mental Health?

In general, mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being.

Not to mention, it affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.

In other words, mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health is defined as a state of well-being. In which;

  • every individual realizes his or her own potential,
  • can cope with the normal stresses of life,
  • can work productively and fruitfully,
  • and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.

The positive dimension of mental health is stressed in WHO’s definition of health as contained in its constitution:

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

This fact highlights the important aspects of mental health and disorders.

Here: Read the 10 facts about Mental Health

Is Depression Affiliated to Mental Health?

Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behavior could be affected.

Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:

  • Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
  • Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
  • Family history of mental health problems

In fact, mental health problems are common but help is available. Whereby, people with mental health problems can get better and many recover completely.

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Depression Help & Mental Health Awareness Guide – Image by 3D Animation Production Company from Pixabay

Types and Forms of Depression

Important to realize, all depression types are not the same.

So, learn more about the different types and forms of depression, signs, and symptoms, and talk to your doctor about treatment.

It’s normal to feel down once in a while, but if you’re sad most of the time and it affects your daily life, you may have clinical depression.

Depression is a condition you can treat with medicine, talking to a therapist and changes to your lifestyle. Whatever the cause, your first step is to let your doctor know how you’re feeling.

Not forgetting, they may refer you to a mental health specialist to help figure out the type of depression you have. After all, this diagnosis is important in deciding the right treatment for you.Below are the major forms and types of Depression.

1. Major Depression

Your doctor might diagnose you with major depression if you have five or more of these symptoms on most days for 2 weeks or longer.

At least one of the symptoms must be a depressed mood or loss of interest in activities.

You may hear your doctor call this “major depressive disorder.” You might have this type if you feel depressed most of the time for most days of the week.

Other Symptoms of a Major Depression include:

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in your activities
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Trouble getting to sleep or feeling sleepy during the day
  • Feelings restless and agitated, or else very sluggish and slowed down physically or mentally
  • Being tired and without energy
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of suicide

All in all, talk therapy can greatly help!

You’ll meet with a mental health specialist who will help you find ways to manage your depression.

Additionally, medications called antidepressants can also be useful.

2. Persistent Depressive Disorder

By the same token, if you have depression that lasts for 2 years or longer, it’s called persistent depressive disorder.

After all, this term is used to describe two conditions previously known as dysthymia (low-grade persistent depression) and chronic major depression.

You may have symptoms such as:

  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Change in your appetite (not eating enough or overeating)
  • Sleep too much or too little
  • Lack of energy, or fatigue
  • Low self-esteem and a feeling of hopelessness
You may be treated with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two.

3. Bipolar Disorder

Someone with bipolar disorder, which is also sometimes called “manic depression,” has mood episodes that range from extremes of high energy with an “up” mood to low “depressive” periods.

When you’re in a low phase, you’ll have the symptoms of major depression.

Medication can help bring your mood swings under control. Whether you’re in a high or a low period, your doctor may suggest a mood stabilizer, such as lithium.

The FDA has approved three medicines to treat the Bipolar depression phase:

Doctors sometimes prescribe other drugs “off label” for bipolar depression, such as the anticonvulsant lamotrigine or the atypical antipsychotic Vraylar.

Traditional antidepressants are not always recommended as first-line treatments for bipolar depression because there’s no proof from studies that these drugs are more helpful than a placebo (a sugar pill) in treating depression in people with bipolar disorder.

Also, for a small percentage of people with bipolar disorder, some traditional antidepressants may increase the risk of causing a “high” phase of illness or speeding up the frequency of having more episodes over time.

4. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

The seasonal affective disorder is a period of major depression that most often happens during the winter months when the days grow short and you get less and less sunlight.

It typically goes away in the spring and summer. If you have SAD, antidepressants can help. So can light therapy.

You’ll need to sit in front of a special bright lightbox for about 15-30 minutes each day.

5. Psychotic Depression

People with psychotic depression have symptoms of major depression along with “psychotic” symptoms, such as:

  • Delusions (false beliefs)
  • Paranoia (wrongly believing that others are trying to harm you)
  • Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)
A combination of antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs can treat psychotic depression. ECT may also be an option.

6. Peripartum (Postpartum) Depression

Women who have major depression in the weeks and months after childbirth may have peripartum depression.

Antidepressant drugs can help similarly to treating major depression that is unrelated to childbirth.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

Women with PMDD have depression and other symptoms at the start of their period.

Besides feeling depressed, you may also have:

  • Fatigue, Irritability, and Anxiety
  • Trouble concentrating and Mood swings
  • Change in appetite or sleep habits
  • Feelings of being overwhelmed
Antidepressant medication or sometimes oral contraceptives can treat PMDD.

7. ‘Situational’ Depression

This isn’t a technical term in psychiatry. But you can have a depressed mood when you’re having trouble managing a stressful event in your life.

Such as a death in your family, a divorce, or losing your job. Your doctor may call this “stress response syndrome.”

Psychotherapy can often help you get through a period of depression that’s related to a stressful situation.

8. Atypical Depression

This type is different than the persistent sadness of typical depression.

It is considered to be a “specifier” that describes a pattern of depressive symptoms.

If you have atypical depression, a positive event can temporarily improve your mood.

Other symptoms of atypical depression include:

  • Oversensitive to criticism
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Feeling of heaviness in your arms and legs
  • Increased appetite

Antidepressants can help. Your doctor may suggest a type called an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) as the first-line treatment.

They may also sometimes recommend an older type of antidepressant called an MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor)

MAOI is a class of antidepressants that have been well-studied in treating atypical depression.

Antidepressants for Depression Help
Antidepressants for Depression Help – Image by Kalhh from Pixabay

What are Antidepressants?

Antidepressants are a class of drugs that reduce symptoms of depressive disorders by correcting chemical imbalances of neurotransmitters in the brain.

Chemical imbalances may be responsible for changes in mood and behavior. In that case, neurotransmitters are vital, as they are the communication link between nerve cells in the brain.

In reality, neurotransmitters reside within vesicles found in nerve cells, which are released by one nerve and taken up by other nerves.

Neurotransmitters not taken up by other nerves are taken up by the same nerves that released them. This process is called “reuptake.”

The prevalent neurotransmitters in the brain-specific to depression are serotonindopamine, and norepinephrine (also called noradrenaline).

In general, antidepressants work by inhibiting the reuptake of specific neurotransmitters, hence increasing their levels around the nerves within the brain.

Such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), antidepressants that will affect serotonin levels in the brain.

How Antidepressants Work on Depression

On one hand, Antidepressants are not only used to depression but, they are also used to treat several other conditions. They include but are not limited to:

On the other hand, some off- label uses of antidepressants include, but are not limited to:

What are Antidepressant Side Effects?

Antidepressants that belong to the same class of antidepressant produce similar side effects. For one thing, antidepressants may cause withdrawal symptoms if abruptly discontinued.

Withdrawal symptoms include; nausea, vomiting, dizzinessheadache, irritability, sleep disturbance, nightmarespsychosis, and seizures.

All antidepressants have a warning about use in children and adolescents.

Important to realize, antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thinking and suicidal behavior in short-term studies. particularly, in children and adolescents with depression and other psychiatric disorders.

Anyone considering the use of the antidepressant in a child or adolescent must balance this risk of suicide with the clinical need for the drug.

Patients who are started on therapy should be closely observed for clinical worsening, suicidal thoughts or unusual changes in behavior.

What if Antidepressant doesn’t Work?

Antidepressants differ in their effects on neurotransmitters, established uses, adverse effects and drug interactions.

All antidepressants that are used for depression are effective; there is no evidence that one antidepressant is more effective than another.

However, patients may respond to or tolerate one antidepressant, and not respond to or tolerate another antidepressant.

When therapy and medication aren’t working, two other options your doctor may suggest are:
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
  • Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS)

ECT uses electrical pulses and rTMS uses a special kind of magnet to stimulate certain areas of brain activity.

This helps the parts of your brain that control your mood work better.

How some People Cope with Depression

Instead of talking about how they feel, some people use alcohol or drugs to feel better.

But, in the end, this usually makes things worse, certainly in the long run.

For instance, your work will suffer and alcohol often leads to irresponsible, unpleasant or dangerous behavior.

You also focus more on work rather than on relationships or home life. And this can cause conflicts with your husband, wife or even your partner.

Moreover, conditions that can get worse due to depression include:

How do you Manage a Chronic Depression?

For most patients, episodes of major depression last a limited amount of time.

Generally, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) specifies that symptoms last at least two weeks.

And also, treatment studies report a median duration of about 20 weeks. But, for some patients, the condition becomes chronic — with symptoms lasting at least two years.

Episodic and Chronic Depression

The differences between episodic and chronic depression encompass more than just duration.

Studies show that, compared with episodic major depression, chronic depression causes;

  • more functional impairment,
  • increases risk of suicide,
  • and is more likely to occur in conjunction with other psychiatric disorders.

Takeaway,

It’s important to realize that feeling down at times is a normal part of life. Sad and upsetting events happen to everyone.

But, if you’re feeling miserable or hopeless on a regular basis, you could be dealing with depression.

Patients with chronic depression are also more likely than patients with episodic depression to report childhood trauma and a family history of mood disorders.

Because the chronic one lasts longer and tends to be more severe than an episodic one, treatment is more intensive. Relapse is also a challenge.

About half of patients with chronic depression who respond to treatment will suffer a relapse within one to two years if they stop treatment.

Whether with antidepressants, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. For that reason, some type of maintenance therapy may be necessary.

Resourceful References:

Finally, I hope you gathered something from the above-revised guide.

But, if you’ll have additional contributions, suggestions or even questions, please don’t hesitate to Contact Us.

Or even, leave them in the comments box below.

Below are more useful and related to the topic links.

  1. Medical Health & Physical Fitness Facts
  2. What Is Mental Health?
  3. Traumatic Brain Injury » & Head Healing Guide
  4. Mental health: a state of well-being
  5. How do some people cope with depression?

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