Depression is a medical illness that negatively affects how a person may feel, think, or behave. Depression must be addressed because it could make it more acceptable for those suffering from the illness to seek help, cope, and recover. Many types of depression have close to similar symptoms and causes. The seven most common types are Major Depressive Disorder, Persistent Depressive Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Postpartum Disorder, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and Atypical Depression.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, A 51-year-old woman, Trish, was brought to the hospital because she said she felt like killing herself. About four months before the incident, she had lost her interest in life. She lost her appetite, had trouble sleeping, and didn’t have much energy. She woke at 3:00 am instead of her usual time (6:30 am). Trish also had trouble focusing and doing her office job at the dog food processing plant. Because of this, she feels like she’s the reason why thousands of dogs died so instead of having to go to jail, she thought it would be better if she just killed herself. Trish showed all nine symptoms so her doctor diagnosed her with major depressive disorder.
Major Depressive Disorder, or clinical depression, is a serious mood disorder that could affect adults, teenagers, and children. It causes symptoms that affect how a person feels, thinks, and acts. Symptoms that are possible to be present are feelings of sadness or hopelessness, anger outbursts or irritation, loss of interests in normal activities, tiredness and lack of energy, sleeping troubles, changes in appetite, anxiety, and restlessness, troubled thinking, thoughts of suicide, and unexplained physical problems like headaches and back pains. There are some differences in symptoms for children and teens. They’ll use recreational drugs or alcohol, feel misunderstood, and show poor performance in school. The reason someone may have MDD is that they have blood relatives with the disorder, changes in hormones, physical changes in their brains, or changes in the function and effect of their neurotransmitters. The doctor will diagnose the patient by conducting physical exams, lab tests, and psychiatric evaluations. A health professional will also use a DSM-5 to see if the patient meets any depression criteria. There are many ways for MDD to be treated. Medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), atypical antidepressants, tricyclic antidepressants, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Other medications may be added to an antidepressant to enhance the effectiveness of antidepressants. Depending on how severe the person’s depression is, other options of treatment will be offered. The treatments include hospital stay, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
Persistent Depressive Disorder, also known as Dysthymia, is characterized to be not so severe but is an ongoing depression. Depressed moods occur in adults most of the day for two or more years; children’s depressed moods or irritability occur for at least one year. Symptoms of PDD include sleep problems, low energy, difficulties concentrating, lack of interest in daily activities, decreased productivity, poor appetite, feeling of guilt and worries of the past, avoidance of social activities, irritability, and trouble making decisions. Although the exact cause of PDD is unknown, similar causes of Major Depressive Disorder are involved. If a disorder is suspected to be present, the doctor would conduct a physical exam. Lab tests like blood tests may be ordered to rule out other illnesses. If no physical illness is found, a psychological evaluation would be referred to. Depending on some factors, doctors will recommend either medication or psychotherapy to treat it. The most common types of antidepressants prescribed are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), or serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). It is recommended that before taking any medication that the person talks with their doctor or pharmacist about possible effects. PDD is a long-lasting condition, so it is essential to make lifestyle adjustments to ease the symptoms. Remedies that could be tried are exercising three times a week, writing in a journal, taking supplements, seeing an acupuncturist, avoiding drugs and alcohol, dieting, and practicing peaceful activities like yoga.
Sue Varma M.D. provided a story on the American Psychiatric Association website where 32-year-old Maya, a lawyer, had a history of depression and generalized anxiety disorder. She was taking medication and going to cognitive behavioral therapy. After some time she decided that she wanted to get pregnant so she worked with her psychiatrist so she could slowly get off the medication. She was still going to therapy weekly. During her pregnancy, she was happy and active until after delivering the baby. She started to feel sad, overwhelmed, and consistently tearful. She felt like she was failing as a mother and wasn’t satisfied with her looks. She hadn't had a meal in peace or gotten her hair or nails done. Husband tried to be supportive but also felt overwhelmed by it all. He felt she was inconsolable and they both felt at a loss. They went to Maya’s therapist where they received advice about going to therapy, incorporating 15-20 minutes of daily relaxation, mindfulness skills, hiring help, getting her mom to stay with her for a few weeks, and other support. Maya started to get more support with the baby, she went back on her antidepressants, joined a new mom's support group, and continued CBT weekly therapy. Over the next few months, she was exercising more and getting more sleep and had significant improvement in mood and energy. So treatment is super important to help with depression.
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