Depression is referred to as the "common cold" of psychology, yet it can become a serious mood disorder if left untreated. Depression can affect how you feel, think, relate to others, and handle daily activities. Symptoms can include a disturbance in your pattern of sleep, loss of appetite, a loss of energy and/or motivation, lower self-esteem, a loss of concentration, feelings of guilt, irritability, crying spells, suicidal ideations, depressed mood, weight loss, restlessness, or feelings of worthlessness.
There are different types of depression. In the Northland, we can experience an increase in symptoms during our colder and longer winter months. If the condition persists, you could be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Research has shown that there is an inter-relatedness between depression, anxiety, and somatic conditions such as general aches and pains. These can include stomach aches or headaches. Depressive disorders can vary from a lesser, more chronically pervasive conditions known as Persistent Depressive Disorder to a more several condition known as Major Depressive Disorder.
Dysthymia, or persistent depressive disorder, is chronic depression. It does not come and go; it is always present and lasts a long time – years, even. Individuals with dysthymia feel depressed for most of the day and during most of the days.
With Major Depressive Disorder, the symptoms are similar to Dysthymia, but they are more debilitating and inhibit the ability to function throughout the day. The difference between major depressive disorder and persistent depressive disorder is that people with major depression have a normal mood baseline when they are not experiencing a bout of depression. Yet others find themselves sad, maybe due to something situational such as a loss of job, a loss of a loved one, or some other disruption in their lives. While sad, the disturbance does not interfere with their ability to function normally and eventually goes away.
There is no single known cause of depression. Rather, it likely results from a combination of genetic, biologic, environmental, and psychological factors. Major negative experiences—trauma, loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship, or any stressful situation that overwhelms the ability to cope—may trigger a depressive episode. Subsequent depressive episodes may occur with or without an obvious trigger. Depression is not an inherent consequence of negative life events; research increasingly suggests that it is only when such events set in motion excessive rumination and negative thought patterns, especially about oneself, that mood enters a downward spiral (Psychology Today).
Treatment begins first with scheduling an appointment with your primary care physician to rule out a medical explanation for your symptoms. Next, your physician will then refer you to an outpatient mental health facility that may include a psychiatric appointment if needed. In addition to medication, individual psychotherapy has proven effective in the treatment of depressive disorders.
If you need help managing your depression, your depressive symptoms, please contact us today at 218-722-4880.