Everyone feels sad once in awhile. But the sadness of depression is more intense and lasts longer than is normal. There will be negative thoughts and moods, as well as low energy, difficulty sleeping and functioning overall.
Depression can range from mild to severe. When depression lasts for several weeks, you should see a psychotherapist. You may need help understanding the source of depression, and guidance in getting your life back to normal.
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders and is the result of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.
Depression can happen at any age, including childhood and teenage years — where the primary symptom may be irritability rather than low mood. For many adults, their chronic mood and anxiety disorders can be traced to childhood. Older adults can develop depression along with serious medical problems like cancer, diabetes, heart disease and Parkinson’s. In other cases, medications for these disorders can cause side effects that trigger depression.
Several types of depression are very common. Events in your life can cause depression. Chemical changes in your brain can trigger other types of depression. Even a positive change in your life can trigger stress and symptoms of depression if you feel overwhelmed by the change.
When depression lasts for 2 years or longer, you may have chronic major depression. Symptoms are difficulty sleeping, lack of energy, trouble concentrating, feeling hopeless, and having low self-esteem. People with major depression benefit from psychotherapy, medication, and especially from a combination of the two.
While some women feel the “baby blues,” a mild depression or anxiety after delivery, perinatal depression is much more serious. Women with perinatal depression have full-blown major depression during pregnancy — or the depression may occur in the weeks and months after delivery (postpartum depression). Psychotherapy and antidepressant medications can help.
This form of major depression happens during the winter months when there is little sunlight during the shorter days. Very often, it disappears in the spring and summer. While antidepressants can help with SAD, light therapy is another effective option.
Women with PMDD have depression and other symptoms at the start of their periods. Besides feeling depressed, you may also have mood swings, anxiety, irritability, lack of energy, difficulty sleeping, trouble concentrating. Antidepressants can help, as can oral contraceptives.
Psychotic depression is a form of severe depression and includes symptoms of psychosis. There may be delusions (false beliefs). Some people have hallucinations — hearing or seeing things that aren’t real. Paranoia is often a symptom, with the belief that others are trying to harm you. Antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs can treat psychotic depression, as can electroconvulsive therapy.
Your lifestyle can have a big effect on your emotional health. Research shows that these changes can help relieve depression:
While all these options can help depression, they don’t always work. In that case, doctors may suggest Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) or Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to stimulate specific areas of the brain — which helps your brain control your mood.
It may be difficult to take the first steps toward getting help for depression. But it’s worth the effort to talk with a psychotherapist. When you get the right treatment, you can move on with your life — and enjoy your life more. When your depression has lifted, you will look back and feel grateful that you took those steps.
To find out more about Depressive Disorders Services, contact Leslie Terner’s office located at 5480 Wisconsin Avenue Suite LL8 Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815. Leslie Terner provides Depressive Disorders counseling in Chevy Chase, MD, and its surrounding areas.Book an appointment by calling 301-718-1758
5480 Wisconsin Avenue
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
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I am a Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist in Chevy Chase, Maryland. I have been in private practice since 1999. I help clients to heal and gain insight into why they have developed their behaviors.