Everyone experiences periods of glum and gloom, but those feelings usually go away with time. Depression is different. Living with depressive disorder can feel like you are drowning. The overwhelming feelings of sadness, guilt, and hopelessness can cause those suffering from depression to isolate and push their friends and family members away.
Living With Depressive Disorder
Depression is a common but severe mood disorder that impacts a person’s feelings and thoughts and affects their ability to manage daily tasks, such as eating, sleeping, or working. Depression doesn’t discriminate. It can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, culture, education, or how much money they earn. Furthermore, research implies that psychological, genetic, biological, and environmental factors can contribute to depressive disorder.
Signs and Symptoms of Depressive Disorder
Five signs are required to make the diagnosis, and one of the symptoms has to be a depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure. When determining if depression is an accurate diagnosis, inquiries begin regarding sleeping patterns, appetite, and energy levels. A positive response to any of these symptoms will cause additional questioning focused on assessing the presence of symptoms included in the DSM-5 for major depression.
The DSM-5 symptoms for depressive disorder include:
- Depressed mood
- Reduced interest or pleasure in most activities
- Significant weight loss or weight gain
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Psychomotor disturbances
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Guilty feelings or thoughts of worthlessness and hopelessness
- Concentration and attention impairment
- Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
Different Forms of Depression
Symptoms of depressive disorder must be present for at least two weeks to diagnose depression, and different forms can develop under unique conditions. Below are the various forms of depression:
Major depression is one of the most common mental health illnesses in the United States. Symptoms can last up to two weeks, disrupting the ability to work, sleep, study, and eat.
Persistent Depressive Disorder
An individual with persistent depressive disorder, also known as dysthymia, may exhibit episodes of major depression accompanied by periods of less severe symptoms. However, persistent depressive disorder involves severe symptoms of depression that must last at least two years for a diagnosis.
Women with postpartum depression have major depression throughout pregnancy or after delivery. Postpartum depression is more than experiencing the baby blues after childbirth. Extreme feelings of sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion make it challenging for new mothers to finish daily tasks for themselves or their babies.
Psychotic depression occurs when an individual has a type of psychosis and severe depression, such as hallucinations or delusions. The psychotic symptoms typically have depressive characteristics like delusions of guilt.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal affective disorder is depression during the winter season. The lack of natural sunlight causes the onset of the disorder, and depressive symptoms decrease once spring arrives. However, the disorder returns every winter. An individual with seasonal affective disorder would show signs of withdrawal, increased sleep, and weight gain.
Tips for Living With Depression
Life can feel more challenging when dealing with depression, so enhancing your quality of life and learning ways to cope with your symptoms is critical. Below are a few tips for living with depression:
- Build a support system: Knowing you have supportive friends and family members to rely on can significantly impact improving depression.
- Reduce stress levels: Reducing stress can also reduce your risk of becoming depressed.
- Improve sleep routines: Turn off the devices and try journaling, reading a book, or doing night-time yoga stretches before bed. Sleep and mood are closely connected, so you are less likely to feel down if well-rested.
- Improve eating habits: Try eating more fruits and vegetables. The brain requires nutrients to stay healthy; therefore, improving eating habits can reduce depression symptoms.
- Stop procrastinating: This can be challenging when you are experiencing symptoms of depression, but continuing to avoid tasks can result in feeling anxious or worried.
- Learn how to stop negative thoughts: This is often accomplished through therapy with a counselor or self-help resources. Transforming negative thoughts to positive affirmations can enhance your mood.
- Keep your home clean and organized: Messiness can magnify depression symptoms. Take control and clean up your life.
Treatment for Depressive Disorder
Treatment for depressive disorder usually includes psychotherapy, medication, or both.
Psychotherapy instills new ways of thinking and behaving while helping to change habits that contribute to depression. Two effective psychotherapies to treat depression are cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT).
Antidepressants are medications customarily used to treat depression. Most medicines for depressive disorder can take approximately four to eight weeks to show signs of improvement. Still, once they begin to work, symptoms such as problems sleeping, lack of appetite, or concentration often improve before the individual’s mood increases. It is imperative to allow medication time to enter the body system before deciding if it works.
Seeking Help for Depressive Disorder
It can feel overwhelming when searching for help with mental health disorders. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator to help find mental health services in your area. In addition, you can find helpful information about treatment facilities that provide specialty care by using SAMHSA’s Early Serious Mental Illness Treatment Locator.
There should be no shame in seeking help for those struggling with mental health disorders. You are not alone. Depressive disorder is one of the most common mental health disorders in the United States. If you or a loved one is ready to start your journey to recovery, we want to help. Crownview Co-Occurring Institute in Oceanside, CA, provides psychiatric treatment for many levels of mental disorders. We understand that each client is unique, so we offer individualized treatment plans to ensure quality care is provided with positive results in recovery. We will support you from crisis to independence by providing a healing environment with a considerate team of professionals ready to help you regain control of your life. Let CCI help you with evidence-based treatments for a successful long-term recovery. Call us today at (760) 477-4754 to learn more about our treatment services.