Depression is a rampant mental health illness affecting more than 17 million adults in the U.S. every year, plus another two million children between three and 17-years old. The symptoms are sometimes hard to detect and easily confused as temporary sadness. The illness can only be diagnosed by a doctor or mental health professional. Learning as much as you can about the disorder will help you decide when to get treatment.
WHAT IS DEPRESSION?
MedicalNewsToday defines depression as “a mood disorder that involves a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It is different from the mood fluctuations that people regularly experience as a part of life.
“Major life events, such as bereavement or the loss of a job, can lead to depression. However, doctors only consider feelings of grief to be part of depression if they persist.
“Depression is an ongoing problem, not a passing one. It consists of episodes during which the symptoms last for at least 2 weeks. Depression can last for several weeks, months, or years.”
DO I HAVE DEPRESSION?
Everyone’s an armchair psychologist, right? Blithely tossing out statistics about depression they heard about on social media, all the while deciding signs like sadness, anger, concentration problems, and the desire for solitude are the culmination of a really crappy day. Research tells us the condition is triggered by numerous factors: Inherited traits, environmental pressures, and others. Understanding the kinds of depression and their signs is your first step in receiving medical treatment, which may include psychotherapy, self-help, and innovative new treatments like ketamine.
WHAT ARE THE KINDS OF DEPRESSION?
There are numerous kinds of depression. Some share common symptoms but there are key differences to be aware of.
- Major depression is widespread, hitting more than 16 million adults in America. Its symptoms – doom, despondency, grief – happen around the clock for two weeks or longer.
- Persistent or chronic depression can drag on for more than two years and pops up as appetite changes, deep sadness, social dysfunction – signs which slowly disappear and then reappear without warning.
- Bipolar disorder blends happiness and depression. It’s a kind of depression with deep public recognition, thanks to Carrie Fisher, David Harbour, and other celebrities who’ve come clean about bipolar disorder.
- Depressive psychosis is when you lose touch with reality, and have paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions.
- Postpartum depression happens within four weeks of childbirth and includes sadness, jealousy, and exhaustion.
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a severe kind of premenstrual syndrome (headaches, cramps, irritability, and extreme mood swings).
- Seasonal depression affects people in the colder months with symptoms like social isolation and the need for sleep.
- Situational depression or adjustment disorder happens because of the loss of a loved one, a major illness, divorce, with symptoms like anxiety, crying, and lack of sleep.
- Atypical depression is a kind of depression that goes away when something positive happens.
SIGNS OF DEPRESSION
- Anger, aggressiveness, or irritability
- Feeling restless, anxious, or “on the edge”
- Lack of interest in family, work, or once-enjoyable activities
- Problems with sexual intimacy and performance
- Feeling flat, sad, “empty,” or hopeless
- Not being able to remember details or concentrate
- Feeling very fatigued, inability to fall asleep, or sleeping more than normal
- Binge eating and lack of desire to eat
- Preoccupation with suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts
- Physical discomfort or pains, cramps, headaches, or digestive issues
- Inability to meet job-related responsibilities, caring for family, or finish important tasks
- Attraction to high-risk activities
- A desire for drugs or alcohol
- Isolation from friends or family and becoming anti-social
- Persistent feelings of guilt, sadness, or hopelessness
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyable pastimes
- Big changes in your sleep habits, like problems falling, staying asleep, or sleeping more than normal
- Constant fatigue or mysterious pain or other physical discomfort without an obvious cause
- Trouble remembering things or concentrating
- Changes in eating habits resulting in big weight loss or weight gain
- Soreness, aches, and pains
- Convinced that life isn’t worth the effort, or having suicidal thoughts
HOW TO TREAT DEPRESSION
Recovering from depression begins with recognizing the symptoms and understanding that you need a diagnosis from a doctor or therapist. A clinical diagnosis relies on a physical exam, reviewing family medical history, and a psychiatric exam designed around DSM-5 standards. After the diagnosis, your doctor will talk about therapy options, including psychotherapy, self-help, or prescribing ketamine, which alleviates signs of many kinds of mental illnesses.
Depression is one of the most common mental health illnesses anyone can face, but its symptoms can be managed through psychotherapy or medication or a combination of both. If you think you’re depressed, don’t wait to get help. Contact us today to learn more about the clinical use of ketamine to help treat the symptoms of depression.