Updated: Jul 6
Feeling sad or down is a big problem but common problem. These feelings of depression can affect how you handle life problems and how you are able to handle simple tasks such as the energy and motivation to eat, sleep, perform at school or work, and can affect your ability to make decisions and concentrate. As with many mental health disorders, depression is a spectrum disorder. This means that some people may feel the symptoms of being sad or down for a few hours or days whereas others might fall into these symptoms constantly for weeks or longer.
Examples of Depression Types
Depression may develop for different reasons and may present differently for different people. For example, depression after having a baby can range from having relatively mild feelings of anxiousness and feeling sad or down to severe symptoms of depression after having a baby. These extreme feelings may cause difficulty in caring for a new baby and make it difficult for a new mother to care for herself.
Some people develop depression during the winter months when the sun does not shine as long or as strong. This seasonal affective disorder type of depression generally gets better in the spring and summer months when the sunlight is longer in the day and the sun rays are stronger.
Many women struggle with mood changes and irritability along with bloating, menstrual cramps, and fatigue around the time of their periods. More severe forms of irritability and sadness around a female monthly cycle can debilitate a woman in her life activities. This is known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder and is another common type of depression.
Signs and Symptoms of Major Depression
Unfortunately, there are several other examples of how different problems or stressors can cause depression symptoms for individuals throughout their life. Because of this, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression. Some are as follows:
Feeling sad or down
Feelings of hopelessness
Guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
Loss of interest or pleasure in activities you used to find enjoyable
Psycho motor retardation which means that you walk or talk more slowly than you used to
Difficulty concentrating or focusing
Changes in sleep
Changes in weight or appetite
Thoughts of death or just not wanting to be here
Body changes with no associated medical cause
In order for these symptoms to meet diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder, there must be at least 5 of the above list of symptoms present for at least two weeks and occur about every day and last most of the day.
Depression Treatment Approaches
Unfortunately, depression can occur at any time and be precipitated for any reason. It is among the most common mood disorders in the US and is likely caused by a variety of problems including genetics and environment. Fortunately, depression can be successfully treated. As with most disorders, earlier treatment is better. Similar to anxiety, there are different ways in which to treat depression. These ways include counseling with a mental health therapist, medication management, or an integrated approach with counseling therapy and medication management. For those who do not respond to therapy and medicine, there are fortunately other modalities that can help treat more resistant cases.
Mental Health Therapy/Counseling Treatment
Therapy options for depression disorders include treatment such as:
Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Medication Management Treatment
Fortunately, there are a number of different types of medicines that can treat depression. These medication’s are called antidepressants and change how much of a hormone (called a neural transmitter) the brain has available at any given time. Typically antidepressants will take time to take affect. Fortunately, most people will begin to start feeling the effects of antidepressants within a few days and then continue to improve over several months. Typical antidepressants used for major depressive disorders are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) and serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI), among others. The type of medication you are put on will depend on a variety of factors including age, desires for pregnancy, and medication that others in your family may have taken in the past. Once you start on a medication such as an antidepressant, it is a good idea to continue on that medication for at least 6 months. During this time, hopefully environmental stressors lessen and therapy helps you improve the problems you’re dealing with. At this time, you can discuss with your provider the benefits and risks of trying to wean off medications. It is super important to note that abrupt withdrawal of medication can cause unwanted side effects that can be avoided with slowly weaning from the medication.
An often used approach in the treatment of depression disorders is counseling therapy and medication management together. Each separate treatment modality may lead an individual on the path to overcoming depression, but an integrated approach of both medication management and counseling may help you reach your goals quicker. The best way to decide on a treatment approach is to discuss concerns with a trusted provider.
Treatment Resistant Approaches
The good news is that most people will respond positively with medication and counseling therapy management. If you go through therapy and several medications without significant improvement of your symptoms related to your depression, your provider may suggest treatments reserved for people who don’t respond to traditional approaches. Treatment of depression in people that don’t respond to traditional approaches include the following:
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
Trans magnetic brain stimulation (TMS)
Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS)
Treatment For Long-Term Success
At Pine Ridge Mental Healthcare, we’ve found success using a variety of approaches to major depressive disorder. Discussing these approaches with a trusted provider is the first and most important step. Getting your depression under control is a key to improving how you feel.
Our mental health team works to reduce your reliance on medications by educating you about the different tools available and how life situations can affect your mood. In addition, we help keep you on track with regular check-ins to monitor how you are doing.
For more information about if you may have depression, take our simple online depression quiz, or for help managing your health, schedule an appointment online or over the phone at Pine Ridge Mental Healthcare in Owasso, Oklahoma. If you are interested in other services we provide, check out our services page.