Depression: Types, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
A very common-sense definition of depression is anger turned inward. This is often because at the root, most loss, grief-work, abuse or other major causes have unfinished anger somewhere. But clinically speaking, there are several types of depression.
- Major Depression
- Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia) [long-term (2 yrs or more) mild to moderate depression]
- Bipolar Disorder (Manic-Depression, very cyclical)
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) (Atmosphere related, sensory)
- Psychotic Depression (including a break from reality)
- Situational Depression (relative to a situation)
- Atypical Depression (very specific focused)
- Postpartum Depression
- Premenopausal Depression
If you or someone you know has active depression, the following might well be some of the key symptoms. If at least four out of the eight below are present, you might want to consider getting help soon.
- Loss of interest or pleasure in your activities
- Progressive weight loss or gain
- Trouble getting to sleep or most often, go to sleep easily but then wake up and regularly can’t go back to sleep, leading to being sleepy during the day
- Feeling restless and agitated, or else very sluggish and slowed down physically or mentally
- Being tired and without energy
- Feeling worthless/hopeless or guilty/shame
- Trouble concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of suicide
Looking at the root of things is often much more helpful than simply plucking the fruit. The main causes of depression are often one or more of the following.
- Abuse – past physical, sexual, mental/emotional, or spiritual abuse can definitely increase the vulnerability to clinical depression later in life;Certain medications – some drugs have side effects that directly increase the chance of depression, such as drugs used to treat anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure, heart problems, cholesterol lowering, menopausal symptoms, and especially birth control pills;
- Conflict – probably should go without saying, but most folks get so used to dealing with everyday conflict they don’t realize how it directly contributes to depression over time;
- Death or loss of a loved one, though oftentimes natural, is nevertheless necessarily depression inducing;
- Genetics are not simple or straightforward and depression is a very complex trait. Family history may definitely increase the risk;
- Major events – even good events can lead to depression. Things such as starting a new job, transitioning, graduating, getting married, getting divorced, retiring, empty nest or mid-life time. The syndrome of clinical depression is never just a “normal” response to stressful life events;
- Other personal problems – such as isolation or being cast out of a family or social group can seriously contribute to depression;
- Serious illnesses – often co-exist with a major illness or may be triggered by another medical condition;
- Substance abuse – nearly 30% of people with substance abuse problems also have some form of clinical depression.
Of all the different forms of possible treatment, it is considered by most any trained people-helper that psychotherapy, professional life coaching and/or pastoral counseling are all the very best (and most necessary) treatment options. These are first, with exercise being second, by all proven research. Looking at medicinal options certainly need a separate section unto themselves, but a commonly used list is below.
- SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are the most often prescribed type of antidepressant: Celexa, Lexapro, Luvox, Paxil, Zoloft and not so much but still sometimes Prozac;
- SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) also affecting the brain circuitry: Cymbalta, Effexor, Pritiq, and Fetzima;
- Tricyclic antidepressants are an older type of drug but still used;
- MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors) are also older types but they do tend to work when others don’t. One thing to remember is that with these, one must avoid certain foods like cheese and aged meats, for them to be beneficial: Nardil, Parnate, Marplan & Emsam;
There are five most often used screening instruments that measure the presence and severity of depression symptoms.
- The Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9)
- Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) (21 questions)
- Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale
- Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D)
- Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD)
There is a relatively new treatment that is a much better alternative to ECT (electro-convulsive shock therapy), called TMS. It’s basically a gentle magnetic pulse that targets certain areas of the brain.
Easy ways to really help
Foods that can help deal with depression when ingested consist of turkey, carrots brazil nuts, clams/mussels, leafy greens, salmon, almond milk, and to decrease alcohol, sweets, salt, smoking, coffee, and carbohydrates.
Most significantly is the need to decrease Facebook time. Not only does the constant visual acuity strain upset brain balance, but the withdrawal from intimate connections with family and friends can most certainly lead to increased depression.
Common, everyday things that will absolutely have an impact on a person’s level of depression are:
- Exercise with a friend
- Take time with your pet
- Get enough sleep
- Creatively explore a favorite hobby, passion, interest
- Prayer and meditation (taking time to be mindful and thankful)
- Worship and enjoying music
- Contribute actively to a cause
- Be connected with healthy friends and family
- Be consistent and open for help
- Absolutely remember your value, preciousness and genuine worth
- Connect to the Lord and find out what He truly says about you, in His Word
- Be absolutely relentless with hunger for your healing, and being set free
- Remember to…refuse to settle for less…as you enter His rest!