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Getting Clarity on Symptoms: Persistent Depressive Disorder

Getting Clarity on Symptoms: Persistent Depressive Disorder

Persistent depressive disorder (PDD) is not ‘just who you are.’ Learn its symptoms so you can manage the condition and live well.

“… been this way, for as long as I can remember.”

If that’s a phrase that’s been echoed in your family while observing symptoms of seeming “down in the dumps” — with physical and mental malaise — these might be traits of persistent depressive disorder (PDD).

The condition is also known as dysthymia (dis-thigh-me-uh), or chronic depression. The primary feature is a depressed mood that occurs for most of the day, for more days than not, for at least 2 years in adults, and at least 1 year for children and teens.

If you have PDD, you might describe your mood as sad or just not being able to “pick myself up.” During periods of depressed mood, symptoms can manifest in the mind and body, taking a toll on overall health.

Persistent depressive disorder can be more harmful to some people than major depression, which happens once in a while, because it lasts longer.

Chronic depression also causes physical signs and symptoms in some people with this disorder.

Poor appetite or overeating

In some people, a sign of PDD is weight loss due to poor appetite or a loss of interest in food. Other folks experience the opposite symptom and gain weight from overeating.

Insomnia or hypersomnia

Sleep changes like insomnia is another sign of persistent depressive disorder. While some people may have trouble sleeping, other people with chronic depression may sleep too much or feel excessively sleepy during the day.

Low energy or fatigue

Disrupted sleep may lead to low energy or chronic fatigue. Some people with PDD may sleep enough or oversleep but still feel tired and drained during the day.

The characteristic symptom of chronic depression is low mood or sadness that lasts for a serious period of time. Some people living with persistent depressive disorder might be more irritable or anxious. If you have this condition, you might also have mental and emotional effects such as:

  • slow response time
  • low self-esteem
  • problems focus or concentrating
  • loss of interest in activities and hobbies
  • feeling hopeless
  • feeling pessimistic


Everyone experiences chronic depression differently. Even though this mental condition is “persistent,” some people may have cycles where depression lets up, then begins again, mildly to moderately.

Co-occurring with other mental health conditions

In some people, chronic depression is the beginning of or leads to another mental health condition. These include:

  • bipolar disorder
  • cyclothymic disorder
  • major depression

Associated features

If you have PDD, you may have also been diagnosed with “associated features” before or while you have this condition. This means that you may have other symptoms or signs of a mental health disorder that are not symptoms of chronic depression but may be linked.

Associated features of PDD include:

  • With anxious distress
  • With mixed features
  • With attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • With seasonal affective disorder
  • With melancholic features
  • With atypical features
  • With mood congruent psychotic features
  • With mood incongruent psychotic features
  • With peripartum onset

Specifiers

Your doctor may also use specifiers when diagnosing chronic depression or other mental health conditions.

Specifiers add detail to symptoms to help accurately diagnose a disorder and rule out others. For example, for persistent depressive disorder, one specifier for depression is that it’s long-lasting.

Some specifiers of chronic depression might also be:

  • with pure dysthymic syndrome – full criteria for a major depressive episode has not been met in the past 2 years
  • with persistent major depressive episode – full criteria for a major depressive episode has been met throughout the past 2 years
  • with intermittent major depressive episodes, with current episode – periods of 8 weeks or more where you might not have met the full criteria for a major depressive episode in the past 2 years, but you do meet the criteria at the present time of reevaluation
  • with intermittent major depressive episodes, without current episode – periods of 8 weeks or more where the person did not meet the full criteria for a major depressive episode in the last 2 years and does not meet the criteria at the present time of reevaluation

Persistent depressive disorder is fairly common and can begin at any age. It is more common in females than in males, but males may not be diagnosed as often.

When this mental health condition begins in childhood, it’s sometimes called pediatric dysthymic disorder.

About 3% of adults in the United States experience chronic depression every year. This number may be higher because many people may not know they have PDD or their condition has not been diagnosed.

A clinical study that looked at 3,720 people who lived in a city found that almost 15.2% may have had this chronic depression.

There also can’t be a gap in symptoms for more than 2 months at a time during a 2-year period for adults or a 12-month period in younger folks.

Also, to be diagnosed with chronic depression, you must not have had a manic episode, a mixed episode, or a hypomanic episode in the first 2 years.

Persistent depressive disorder symptoms can be mild and long-lasting. For this reason, many people don’t tell their doctor. The chronic depression symptoms have become a part of their daily life.

Your doctor may recognize the signs and ask you clarifying questions about your symptoms before recommending treatment.

You will need to see a mental health professional to be diagnosed with and treated for chronic depression. Talk with your doctor or connect with a psychiatrist if you think you may have signs and symptoms of this mental health condition.

Psychotherapy

Therapy for persistent depressive disorder will frequently include educational, emotional, and social support. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is commonly one-on-one therapy that helps you recognize and open up to change self-critical or harmful thought patterns.

Medication

Prescription medications can also help you manage chronic depression symptoms. Your doctor may recommend antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) like:

  • fluoxetin
  • venlafaxine
  • mirtazapine

These medications can be effective for many people, but they come with a risk of side effects.

Supplements

Some people with PDD may find that supplements also help reduce symptoms. This includes B vitamins to help you beat fatigue and feel more energized.

All kinds of depression have similar symptoms like feeling low, sleep problems, loss of interest, and feeling hopelessness. The main difference between a chronic depression like PDD and major depression is time.

Chronic depression consistently results in depression symptoms that last for at least 1–2 years, usually longer. Also, PDD typically carries mild to moderate symptoms, while major depression can result in severe symptoms.

In some people, PDD can turn into major depression if left untreated.

In many people, chronic depression is not diagnosed until symptoms become more noticeable, which coincides with the condition deepening to major depression.

Like other mental health conditions, chronic depression can get worse or cause disruption in your health and your overall quality of life. Talk with your doctor if you think you have persistent depressive disorder or any kind of depression. There are several treatments that can help.

Our all-inclusive guide to treating persistent depressive disorder offers information on medicine and self-help strategies.


Symptoms of Clinical Depression

Nancy Schimelpfening, MS is the administrator for the non-profit depression support group Depression Sanctuary. Nancy has a lifetime of experience with depression, experiencing firsthand how devastating this illness can be.

Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The two "core" symptoms of depression are low mood and loss of interest in activities. In addition to those, people may also experience changes in appetite, trouble sleeping, tiredness, feelings of guilt, trouble concentrating, or thoughts of death.

While only a qualified medical or mental health provider can diagnose depression, there are certain warning signs that can help you identify whether you or someone you care about may be depressed.

The symptoms of depression may be different in different people. So while one person may struggle to get out of bed, someone else might be able to go to work every day without co-workers noticing anything unusual.

And sometimes symptoms that look like depression aren't really depression. Substance use issues, medical problems, medication side effects, or other mental health conditions may produce symptoms that look similar to depression.


Major Depressive Disorder

Major Depressive Disorder is considered a mood disorder which includes distressing symptoms such as sadness and emptiness, affecting sleep, eating and work functions. Those suffering from major depressive disorder often described themselves as feeling “blah,” and have lost interest and motivation in activities that use to bring pleasure or joy.

To be diagnosed with major depression, the symptoms must be present for at least 2 weeks.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, major depressive disorder is the most common mental disorder with nearly 16 million adults suffering from depression with median onset of 32, although depression symptoms can manifest in adolescents. Depression is more likely in women than men, and according to the World Health Organization, the leading cause of disability among women internationally. (cite Selecting Effective Treatments.)

While a depressive episode can occur only once, most depressive episodes are reoccur throughout a person’s lifetime.

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Types of Depressive Disorders

The two most common depressive disorders are:

Major Depressive Disorder – symptoms are consistent, occurring almost all day and nearly every day for two weeks.

Persistent Depressive Disorder – characterized by depressive episodes occurring nearly every day for at least two years.

Other additional types of depressive disorders include:

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PDD) – is a severe form of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) that happens during the menstruation cycle. PMD can cause extreme mood changes and severe physical symptoms that can affect work and others activities. ‘

Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD) – is a childhood mood disorder characterized by severe and recurrent temper tantrums, anger and irritability that is disproportionate to a situation or circumstance. The average onset of DMDD is around 10-years-old and requires a diagnosis by a licensed psychiatrist or mental health therapist to rule out other a differential diagnosis such as ADHD, anxiety or oppositional defiant disorder.

Causes of Major Depressive Disorder

While they are no definitive causes of depression, there are several factors that can trigger depressive disorders. Those include:

Genetics – The causes of depressive disorders aren’t fully understood, but studies have found that depression is common in people whose first-degree relatives – parents, siblings – also have the illness.

Brain structure – Recent studies have shown that those who suffer from depressive disorders appears to have changes in brain structure. While more research is needed, finding may help with determine the cause of the disorder.

Hormones – Changing hormones may play a role in depressive symptoms, particularly in women who undergo hormone changes before and after pregnancy, as well as during menopause.

These factors may increase your risk of developing a depressive disorder:

Trauma – Those who experienced a traumatic event, including sexual abuse, violence or the death of a loved one.

Genetics – Those with first-degree relatives who suffer from depressive disorders are at a great risk of having the illness.

Personality traits – Those who struggle with low self-worth and self-confidence are at a greater risk of symptoms.

Substance or alcohol abuse – Those who are abusing alcohol or drugs, as well as those are struggling with rehab or recovery.

LGBTQ – Those who have identified as LGBTQ or are struggling with their sexual identity and lack a support system are at greater risk for depression.

Signs and Symptoms

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), a reference manual used by health care professionals as the authoritative guide to the diagnosis of mental disorders, the signs and symptoms of major depressive disorder includes:

  • Depressed or low mood for most of the day, nearly every day for at least two weeks
  • Little to no interest in activities or tasks
  • Decrease in appetite and/or weight
  • Trouble sleeping or desire to sleep all the time
  • Lack of energy
  • Feelings of low self-worth
  • Lack of concentration or focus
  • Recurrent thoughts of suicide or death with plans or attempts

Please note that if you are experiencing manic episodes—drastic changes in one’s mood and energy states— then you may be suffering from Bipolar Disorder, formerly known a manic depression. In any case, our trained psychiatrists and therapists will help you find your diagnosis and proper treatment.

Children and Depression

Children and teens can be diagnosed with major depressive disorder, and exhibit the same symptoms as adults, however, additional symptoms include anger and irritability.

Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD) is also a childhood depressive disorder that is characterized by several temper tantrums, as well as extreme anger and irritability. These symptoms are persistent and occur nearly every day for 12 months or more.

Assessment for Major Depressive Disorder

A diagnosis of major depressive disorder or other depressive disorders requires an evaluation and diagnosis by a licensed clinician such as a psychiatrist or psychologist who specializes in depressive disorders. At Clarity Clinic, we specialize in depressive disorder assessments and treatment for children, teens, and adults aimed at understanding the severity, length and frequency of the symptoms, including ruling out a differential diagnosis, to determine the best treatment options.

Treatment for Major Depressive Disorder

Both medication and psychotherapy in conjunction have been shown to be effective in helping reduce symptoms of major depressive disorders. At Clarity Clinic our experienced clinicians guide clients towards the proper treatments, including pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions.

Our psychiatrists ensure a proper diagnosis and take care in specialized medication management for clients treating depressive disorders through pharmacological treatment.

Medication Management

Medication management coupled with psychotherapy has proven to be an effective treatment in reducing symptoms of depressive disorders and improve overall functioning.
Medications to treat depression

At Clarity Clinic, we have highly trained staff who specialize in diagnosing and treating depressive disorders. To schedule an appointment, click on one of the specialists below to schedule an initial evaluation to and discuss assessment, diagnosis and treatment options.

Additional Resources

For more information on depressive disorders, below are several additional resources to help learn more:


No one knows the exact causes of depressive disorders in children, but a variety of factors seem to contribute, including genetics and chemical imbalances in the brain. Past trauma, sexual abuse, poor childhood relationships with parents, and a history of a personality disorder can also trigger depression, especially if there's a family history.

If you think your child may have a depressive disorder (or any other mental health issue), schedule an appointment with your child's pediatrician. The physician may run several blood tests to rule out any health conditions (such as infectious mononucleosis, thyroid disorders, drug use, etc.) that can cause or mimic symptoms of depression and refer you to a mental health treatment provider for a complete evaluation. There isn’t a lab test that diagnosis depressive disorders.

During your visit, it's important to offer as much information as you can about your child's mental health background and current symptoms, including mood, sleep patterns, energy levels, and behavior. This will allow the doctor to make an informed diagnosis.


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Getting Clarity on Symptoms: Persistent Depressive Disorder - Psychology

264 million people worldwide live with depression.* Our World Data

In 2017, around 17.3 million adults age 18 or older in the U.S. had experienced at least one major depressive episode in the last year (6.7% of adults in the U.S.). * (National Institute of Mental Health)

Losing a loved one, getting fired from a job, going through a divorce, and other difficult situations can lead a person to feel sad, lonely and scared. These feelings are normal reactions to life's stressors. Most people feel low and sad at times. However, in the case of individuals who are diagnosed with depression as a psychiatric disorder, the manifestations of the low mood are much more severe and they tend to persist.

Depression occurs more often in women than men. Some differences in the manner in which the depressed mood manifests have been found based on sex and age. In men it manifests often as tiredness, irritability and anger. They may show more reckless behavior and abuse drugs and alcohol. They also tend to not recognize that they are depressed and fail to seek help. In women depression tends to manifest as sadness, worthlessness, and guilt. In younger children depression is more likely to manifest as school refusal, anxiety when separated from parents, and worry about parents dying. Depressed teenagers tend to be irritable, sulky, and get into trouble in school. They also frequently have co-morbid anxiety, eating disorders, or substance abuse. In older adults depression may manifest more subtly as they tend to be less likely to admit to feelings of sadness or grief and medical illnesses which are more common in this population also contributes or causes the depression.

Types of Depression

There are different types of depressive disorders, and while there are many similarities among them, each depressive disorder has its own unique set of symptoms.

The most commonly diagnosed form of depression is Major Depressive Disorder. In 2017, around 17.3 million aged 18 years or older in the U.S. had experienced at least one major depressive episode in the last year, which represented 6.7 percent of all American adults. Depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States among people ages 15-44. View the SAMSHA website for statistics from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Major depression is characterized by having at least five nine common symptoms. One of the symptoms must be either an overwhelming feeling of sadness or a loss of interest and pleasure in most usual activities. The other symptoms that are associated with major depression include decrease or increase in appetite, insomnia or hypersomnia, psychomotor agitation or retardation, constant fatigue, feelings of worthlessness or excessive and inappropriate guilt, recurrent thoughts of death and suicidal ideation with or without specific plans for committing suicide, and cognitive difficulties, such as, diminished ability to think, concentrate and take decisions. The symptoms must persist for two weeks or longer and represent a significant change from previous functioning. Social, occupational, educational, or other important functioning are impacted by major depressive disorder. For instance, the person may start missing work or school, or stop going to classes or their usual social activities.

Another type of depression is called Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia). The essential feature of this mood disorder is a low, dark or sad mood that is persistently present for most of the day and on most days, for at least 2 years (children and adolescents may experience predominantly irritability and the mood persist for at least 1 year). For the individual to receive the diagnosis of persistent depressive disorder they should also have two of the diagnostic symptoms which include poor appetite or overeating, insomnia or hypersomnia, low energy or fatigue, low self-esteem, poor concentration, difficulty making decisions, or feelings of hopelessness. During this period, any symptom-free intervals last no longer than two months. The symptoms are not as severe as with major depression. Major depression may precede persistent depressive disorder, and major depressive episodes may also occur during persistent depressive disorder.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is another manifestation of depression which is a severe and sometimes disabling extension of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Although regular PMS and Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) both have physical and emotional symptoms, the mood changes in PMDD are much more severe and can disrupt social, occupational, and other important areas of functioning. In both PMDD and PMS, symptoms usually begin seven to 10 days before the start of a menstrual period and continue for the first few days of the period. Both PMDD and PMS may also cause breast tenderness, bloating, fatigue, and changes in sleep and eating habits. PMDD is characterized by emotional and behavioral symptoms that are more severe, such as sadness or hopelessness, anxiety or tension, extreme moodiness, irritability or anger.

Some medical conditions can trigger depressive symptoms in individuals. This is called depressive disorder due to another medical condition. Endocrine and reproductive system disorders are commonly associated with depressive symptoms. For example, people with low levels of the thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) often experience fatigue, weight gain, irritability, memory loss, and low mood. When the hypothyroidism is treated it usually reduces the depression. Cushing's syndrome is another hormonal disorder caused by high levels of the hormone cortisol which can also cause depressive symptoms. Other conditions that have been found to cause depression include conditions such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes, strokes, Parkinson’s disease etc.

Adjustment Disorder with Depressed Mood is diagnosed when symptoms of depression are triggered within 3 months of onset of a stressor. The stressor usually involves a change of some kind in the life of the individual which he/she finds stressful. Sometimes the stressor can even be a positive event such as a new job, marriage, or baby which is nevertheless stressful for the individual. The distress is typically out of proportion to the expected reaction and the symptoms cause significant distress and impairment in functioning. The symptoms typically resolve within 6 months when the person begins to cope and adapt to the stressor, or when the stressor is removed. Treatment tends to be time limited and relatively simple since some additional support during the stressful period helps the person recover and adapt.

Another type of depression is related to changes in the length of days or seasonality. This type of depression is called Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). People with SAD suffer the symptoms of a Major Depressive Disorder only during a specific time of year, usually winter. This appears to be related to the shorter days of winter, and the lack of sunlight in many parts of the country.

Depression and Anxiety Disorders: Not the Same

Depression and anxiety disorders are different, but people with depression often experience symptoms similar to those of an anxiety disorder, such as nervousness, irritability, and problems sleeping and concentrating. But each disorder has its own causes and its own emotional and behavioral symptoms.

Many people who develop depression have a history of an anxiety disorder earlier in life. There is no evidence one disorder causes the other, but there is clear evidence that many people suffer from both disorders.

Sleep and Anxiety and Depression

Sources:

1. NIMH: Depression Basics
2. View the NIMH website for statistics from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health
3. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
4. Sadock, B. J., Sadock, V. A., & Ruiz, P. (2009). Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry (Ninth edition.) Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer.


Understanding Dysthymia

If someone mentioned that they have depression, most people would likely have some idea of what that means. They might imagine a person feeling tired, gloomy or empty. They might even know some of the accompanying symptoms such as changes in weight or sleep patterns. But what many people don&rsquot know is that there are actually different types of depression.

The most common form is major depressive disorder, which affects about 16 million adults in the U.S. This is what most people associate with the term &ldquodepression.&rdquo Other forms include depression with a seasonal pattern, which usually occurs in late fall and winter postpartum depression, affecting women after childbirth and dysthymia, which is a long-term form of depression that lasts for years.

All forms of depression have similar symptoms: issues with sleep, low energy, low self-esteem, poor concentration, difficulty making decisions, feelings of hopelessness. What distinguishes them is timing and consistency of symptoms. And the primary distinction with dysthymia (also known as persistent depressive disorder) is that it&rsquos the only depressive disorder where symptoms are present for at least two years, and typically longer.

What is Dysthymia Like?

While someone with major depressive disorder will typically &ldquocycle&rdquo through episodes of feeling severely depressed and then be symptom-free for periods of time, dysthymia presents with persistent symptoms for years.

An episode of depression usually represents a break from someone&rsquos normal life and outlook, while dysthymia is often embedded into a person&rsquos life and outlook because they experience symptoms for such prolonged periods of time. In fact, an adult must experience depression for at least a two-year period to receive a diagnosis (one year for children and teenagers).

Dysthymia often has an early and subtle onset during childhood, adolescence or early adulthood. However, it can be challenging to detect because its less severe and lingering nature can make the condition feel &ldquonormal&rdquo for that person.

Also making it a challenge to diagnose is the fact that about 75% of people with dysthymia will also experience a major depressive episode. This is referred to as &ldquodouble depression.&rdquo After the major episode ends, most people will return to their usual dysthymia symptoms and feelings, rather than feel symptom-free.

What Can I Do?

If you think you may have dysthymia, it&rsquos essential to seek help. Seeing a mental health professional is the first step to recovery. Taking the time to go to therapy is an investment in your health and well-being the condition will not go away on its own. Typically, a combination of both psychotherapy and medication leads to the best outcomes.

Further, according to a study that followed people experiencing dysthymia for nine years, one of the most important factors of recovery is having confidence in your health care providers. This may mean trying out different therapists and psychiatrists until you find one that best fits your needs.

The study also notes that participants who recovered felt like they gained &ldquotools to handle life,&rdquo including understanding themselves and their condition, having self-acceptance and self-compassion and focusing on solving problems that create distress.

Learning these tools and preparing yourself to handle difficult symptoms requires patience. It can be challenging to have hope for recovery when depression is your norm&mdashwhen feeling good seems more like a memory than a possibility. But recovery is possible. It takes effort and commitment, but you deserve to feel better.


Symptoms of Persistent Depressive Disorder:

Some of the most common symptoms of persistent depressive disorder include:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness
  • Feeling of pressure and guilt
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Hopelessness
  • Excessive or decreased appetite
  • Fatigue / Lack of energy
  • Losing interest and feeling of pleasure in life
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor mood
  • Irritable mood
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Loss of productivity
  • Social anxiety
  • Irritable mood

At First Light Psychological Services in Farmingdale, NY & Kew Gardens, NY our experienced professionals are providing excellent symptom assessment and differential diagnosis to help you identify your symptoms of persistent depressive disorder, hence improving the quality of life.


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Depression is a severe mood disorder that affects over 16 million people in The United States. Some common side effects of depression are difficulties functioning, maintaining social relationships and loss of interest in normal daily activities. Depression, major depressive disorder, and other related mental disorders impact a person&rsquos ability to participate in day-to-day activities such as eating, sleeping, or going to work.

For a person to have depression, a major depressive disorder, or related diagnosis, they must exhibit signs depression symptoms for at least two weeks. There are several forms of depression and they are distinguished by their symptoms. Before you seek treatment, it&rsquos important to recognize the signs of depression.

Signs of Depression

The following are some common symptoms of depression:

  • A consistent feeling of sadness and low mood
  • A sense of hopelessness
  • Persistent guilt or feelings of worthlessness
  • Irritability
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Decreased or increased appetite
  • Lack of pleasure in activities a person once enjoyed
  • Moving or speaking slowly
  • Thoughts of suicide or an active plan to end one&rsquos life

If you&rsquore experiencing any thoughts of harming yourself, don&rsquot wait to get help. Visit the nearest emergency room or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

If you exhibit the symptoms of depression on the above list for two weeks or more, you could be suffering from depression. It&rsquos crucial to seek the help of a mental health professional so you can get treatment. Depression is treatable with the right care, and a therapist can support you to get the help you need and start feeling better. They can help you learn about how depression affects your body and mind, and find ways to cope with your mental health condition. When you know how to deal with depression, it&rsquos possible to live a great life.

Depression At-a-Glance

A mental health professional can help you diagnose what type of depression you have. It&rsquos important to report your exact symptoms to your provider so they can make an accurate diagnosis. Withholding information could prolong your suffering, and make it harder for them to help. Be honest about what you&rsquore experiencing so your therapist or doctor can make an accurate diagnosis and give you the best treatment options.

If you&rsquore ever experiencing suicidal thoughts related to severe depression, get help immediately! Visit your nearest emergency room or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) to speak with a specialist 24-hours a day. The following is a list of depression, major depressive disorder, and mental health topics related to this chronic illness.

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) - Is a long-term and debilitating form of depression where people experience persistent feelings of loss of interest and can have trouble participating in normal daily life. MDD is also referred to as Clinical Depression by some licensed professionals.

Bipolar Disorder (BPD) - Bipolar Disorder is also a long-term form of depression that was formerly known as &ldquomanic depressive disorder.&rdquo People experiencing BPD have intense mood swings that vacillate back and forth between extremely high, to extremely low.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) - A form of temporary depression where loss of interest in activities and socializing occurs. It can affect both older adults and young people. The distinguishing trait is that it occurs at specific times of the year. This is normally related to seasonal changes - like when people experience feeling lonely or anxious around the holidays.

Postpartum Depression - Postpartum Depression is a temporary form of depression that occurs in women who have recently given birth. Research shows that new fathers can experience postpartum depression too (for similar reasons, such as exhaustion due to lack of sleep, complex new emotions from parenthood, etc.). Symptoms of postpartum depression include - loss of interest in everyday activities, suicidal thoughts, and trouble making decisions or thinking clearly.

Psychotic Depression - Psychotic Depression is a form of major depressive disorder or MDD that is aggravated by the presence of one or more psychotic symptoms. These symptoms include hallucinations, hearing voices, or any other serious break from reality.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) - PTSD is an aggravated form of mental illness that can present itself individually or in conjunction with other mental problems like depression. Experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event can leave an imprint on the brain and cause PTSD. PTSD is related to people experiencing high-levels of anxiety long after the triggering event has passed.

Where to get help for Depression

All forms of major depression, major depressive disorder, and related mental health problems require mental health services management and treatment to heal. Talk to your doctor if you&rsquove experienced a combination of any of these symptoms for longer than a few weeks. If you don&rsquot have a regular doctor, reach out to your local department of health for mental health information including resources and referrals. Your local health department can provide you with health care related information and services for managing substance abuse and mental health issues.

American Psychiatric Association (APA) - is an American-based health and human services organization. The APA provides resources and treatments for people who experience depression and suffer from other common mental disorders. The APA provides solutions and referrals for integrative health, brain stimulation therapies, disease control, and prevention mental health related medical conditions.

Get the latest information on the newest clinical trials and treatments for managing anxiety and depression by visiting the APA&rsquos website.

  1. Women&rsquos health
  2. How to manage depressive episodes
  3. Coping strategies for people with depression
  4. Living with atypical depression
  5. Food and Drug Administration Statistics
  6. Dealing with depression in men

Mental Health America (MHA) - Another prominent health and human services organization that specializes in providing information, support, and resources for mental health related conditions. MHA also operates a crisis line for people who are experiencing the following.

  • Issues with drug abuse
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Strategies for dealing with treatment resistant depression
  • Sleep disturbances and related sleep problems
  • How to prevent depression
  • Dealing with the loss of a loved one
  • Managing depression in children

Centers for Disease Control - Learn what effects Integrative health have had on treating depression including new medications, treatments, and advances taken to prevent depression in relation to the experience of stressful events.

Department of Health and Mental Health - Your local public health care resources can assist people suffering from depression by making referrals for human services, mental health care services, and finding healthy living resources. A public mental health professional can assist patients with finding treatments providers for cognitive behavioral therapy and brain stimulation therapy.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health - Provides information and referral on non-mainstream practices for curing depression. Non-main stream treatments for depression include managing loss of interest in older adults, brain stimulation therapies, and herbal medication management to promote healthy living.

BetterHelp.com 100% Online Counseling Services - When people experience worthlessness or guilt related to alcohol or drug abuse, this could make depression worse. The licensed professionals at Betterhelp.com help clients to mitigate the mental aches and pains associated with depression and to diminish the symptoms of depression including feelings of worthlessness.

All of the above reference sites have a built-in services locator that helps clients find treatment for depression including cornerstone content that point clients to important services, administration resources, and social media contacts. Visiting mental health websites can provide help for people experiencing depression with new insights and healthy living strategies to cope with depression.

Did you know that you&rsquore more likely to develop depression symptoms if a close family member already has depression? Risk factors for developing depression include a family history of depression, especially if a close family member has been suffering from major depression. Find out how your family history can affect your response to brain stimulation therapy and learn healthy living strategies for managing depression by using one of these reliable resources.

Dysthymia or Persistent Depressive Disorder

Dysthymia, otherwise known as Persistent Depressive Disorder, characterizes a person who has a depressed mood for at least two years. An individual who has Dysthymia may have a period of mild depression followed by an episode of major depression. People who have Persistent Depressive Disorder can get through the day, but it&rsquos not easy.

They struggle to cope with their emotions, and it hurts them to face their pain however, they can manage their symptoms if they know what they are. The key to getting the right diagnosis is noticing that the symptoms have lasted over two years. Once that determination has been made, it&rsquos possible that the individual has Dysthymia.

Depression and Isolation

A tricky part of depression is that the person experiencing it tends to isolate from their loved ones. If you&rsquore depressed, you may not want to see people that you care about because you&rsquore not feeling well emotionally. That is why it&rsquos imperative to seek treatment.

People who are suffering from depression need to get help. If left untreated, it can lead to severe consequences, including suicide. There is hope if the individual receives treatment, and one of the best forms of treatment is seeing a therapist or counselor.

Depression Symptoms and Signs

Promote suicide prevention by knowing the warning signs and symptoms of depression, major depressive disorder, postpartum depression, and anxiety. According to the National Institute of Mental Health the following are common signs and symptoms of depressive disorders.

  1. Unexplained weight gain
  2. Extreme weight loss
  3. Chronic pain
  4. Feelings of sadness

Feeling sad, a previous history of depression, and anxiety often go hand in hand. Untreated depression and anxiety can result in aggravated medical issues like heart disease. Older adults need to take special care to get immediate treatment for depression to avoid aggravating heart disease related conditions.

The most obvious outward sign of depression is the loss of interest in daily activities that have previously been a normal part of your everyday life. For example, a person experiencing depression major depressive disorder or postpartum depression may have unexplained weight gain when they were previously focused on healthy living and weight consciousness.

***Important Note: If you are struggling with bouts of depression and have thoughts of death or suicidal thoughts - reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 immediately to speak with a counselor 24-hours a day.

Counseling Helps Depression

One of the most effective types of treatment for depression is counseling. Talking to a therapist about your feelings is invaluable. You will be able to express what you are struggling with and get the treatment you need. Depression can feel incredibly overwhelming, weighing you down, but a counselor is trained to recognize the symptoms and help you work through them. They will teach you coping skills, and you will learn to manage depression without feeling hopeless.

One of the hardest things about getting help when you are depressed is believing you can get better. When you work with a counselor, they will show you that there is hope, and you can heal.

Online Therapy

One form of therapy that can help you with your mental health issues is online counseling. If you&rsquove come to the realization that you or someone you know is dealing with depression, and you'd like assistance from a licensed therapist we would love to help. With more than 8,000 licensed counselors interested in and able to help with the treatment, signs, and symptoms of depression, our team of therapists can be of assistance today.

Our online platform here at BetterHelp.com is designed to provide the (more than) one million people that have benefited from our services with the professional help they need online at a time that is convenient for them.


Treatment may include one or a combination of the following:

  • Medicine. Many different medicines are available to treat depression. It often takes 4 to 6 weeks for anti-depressants to have a full effect. It&rsquos important to keep taking the medicine, even if it doesn&rsquot seem to be working at first. It&rsquos also important to talk to your healthcare provider before stopping. Some people have to switch medicines or add medicines to get results.
  • Therapy. This is most often cognitive behavioral or interpersonal therapy. It focuses on changing distorted views of yourself and your environment. It also works to improve relationship skills, and identify and manage stressors.

Because this condition usually last for longer than 5 years, long-term treatment may be needed.

If you have depression, there are things you can do to help yourself. Depression can make you feel exhausted, worthless, helpless, and hopeless. Such negative thoughts and feelings may make you feel like giving up. It is important to realize that these negative views are part of the depression and may not reflect reality. Negative thinking fades as treatment begins to take effect. Meanwhile, consider the following: