Depression is a common mental illness characterized by deep and extended feelings of sadness and hopelessness. About 7% of adults in the U.S. experience depression every year, and 1 in 6 adults will experience it sometime in their life. In order to fully understand depression, it is important to know the different types of depression and how it can affect people. In this blog, we will discuss what depression is, the different types of depression, and treatments that are available.
What Is Depression?
Depression is a mental health condition in which you feel like you’re in a low mood and find it hard to function in your daily life. Regardless of the type of depression, those with the mental health condition will experience some or all of the following symptoms:
- Feeling helpless, sad, worthless, low self-worth
- Lost interest for activities you used to enjoy
- Withdrawing from social activities
- Difficulty sleeping or falling asleep
- Problems concentrating
- Significant changes in appetite, like over- or undereating
Depression affects both men and women, although it is more common among women. In addition, while it can affect people of any age or background, it is most common in people ages 18-25.
Causes of depression can vary, but in general include major life events, genetics, imbalance in brain chemicals, side effects of medications, and as a secondary symptom of another medical condition.
Types of Depression
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
This type of depression is said to occur when someone experiences some or all of the symptoms listed above in a way that is intense and unmanageable and lasts for more than two weeks. This type of depression is sudden and debilitating, causing people to miss work and social functions because their symptoms are so overpowering.
Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)
People with PDD experience some or all of the symptoms above but in a way that is less intense than MDD. However, these symptoms can persist for two or more years, which can be disruptive to the individual’s life.
People who experience bipolar depression have also been diagnosed with bipolar disorder as their primary mental health condition. Bipolar disorder is a condition in which people experience periods of high energy followed by periods of low energy or mood. During these low periods, they experience depressive symptoms like having low energy or feeling hopeless.
Psychotic depression is when a person experiences depressive symptoms in addition to hallucinations or delusions. Hallucinations and delusions are when you sense things that are not there, like seeing people or hearing voices that are not real.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Do you tend to feel better after spending time in the sun? That’s because sunlight helps regulate the levels of the hormone serotonin in your body, one of the “happy hormones.” During the winter months, the days are shorter and colder, so people get less sunlight exposure, which can disrupt the levels of serotonin in their body and lead to depression.
Perinatal and Postpartum Depression
During pregnancy, childbirth, and in the weeks following childbirth, a woman’s hormone levels change quickly and dramatically. During this time, it is normal for new mothers to experience the “baby blues,” or minor stress, sadness, or worry surrounding pregnancy and being a new mother. However, some mothers experience very intense levels of these emotions during pregnancy, called perinatal depression, or after childbirth, called postpartum depression. Women who experience postpartum depression may even have trouble connecting emotionally with their newborn because of this.
Treatments for Depression
Treatment for depression varies based on the type of depression you have. In general, the following strategies are used to treat depression:
Diet, exercise, and sleep habits are strongly linked to mental health. Incorporating more fruits and vegetables in your diet, exercising regularly, and going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day can all improve your mood.
Psychological counseling and talk therapy are highly effective at treating depression. Two kinds of talk therapy are commonly used: cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). In CBT, a therapist will help you identify beliefs you have about yourself and others that may be inaccurate perceptions, which helps to reduce anxious and depressive thoughts. In DBT, your therapist will teach you how to practice mindfulness, which can help you accept and move on from intense emotions.
Antidepressants are commonly used to treat depression. Not everyone who is depressed needs medication, but it can be an effective tool that actually improves the effectiveness of counseling. This is because antidepressants stabilize hormone levels, like serotonin, so you feel more stable and have more energy to dedicate to therapy.
If you have bipolar or psychotic depression, antipsychotic drugs can be helpful, as well, because they treat bipolar disorder, which can help lessen bipolar depressive episodes.
Depression Treatment Near Me
There are many different types of depression, and each one is treatable. At Atlanta Specialized Care, our licensed professional counselors have years of experience treating each type of depression and helping patients regulate their emotions to bring joy back into their lives.
We take a holistic approach, considering the biological, mental, and social factors contributing to a patient’s depression. We then work with our advanced practice psychiatric nurse practitioner to determine if a patient needs medication. By teaching patients coping skills, addressing traumatic experiences if any have occurred, and teaching patients how to regulate their own behavior, we not only treat depression but give patients the tools to prevent further depressive episodes in their lives going forward.
To arrange an appointment with us, call our friendly staff at (770) 815-6853, or fill out our appointment request form.
We care deeply about your mental health and look forward to getting you on the path to a happier and healthier life!