Depression, or major depressive disorder, is a mental health disorder that affects one’s overall mood and brings about a loss of interest in everyday life. Depression incites feelings of sadness, negativity, and discomfort. The disorder interferes with a victim’s daily life by hindering their ability to take on ordinary tasks.
Specific depressive disorders may include persistent depressive disorder, postpartum depression, psychotic depression, seasonal affective disorder, etc.
Depression is a common condition,affecting more than 264 million people of all ages worldwide. Depressive disorder is a leading cause of disability worldwide, contributing to the overall global burden of disease. Some studies suggest more women are affected in depression than men.
Please note: Depressive disorders are not limited to any particular gender, age, or other demographic.
Specialists believe many factors can influence anxious tendencies over time. Those at risk to specific anxiety disorders may have tendencies that correlate to one or more of these triggers:
- Has a genetic predisposal to depression
- Has experienced one or more traumatic events (i.e., physical or emotional abuse, death of a loved one, violence, physical accident, prolonged illness, etc.)
- Has other medical conditions (hyperthyroidism, diabetes, heart disease, alcoholism,drug addiction, asthma, etc.)
- Has experienced general alcohol or drug abuse
Individuals with depression may experience one or more of the following symptoms.
- Emotional (feelings of general discontent, sadness, hopelessness, emptiness, anger,irritability, frustration, tiredness, fatigue, restlessness,etc.)
- Physical (lack of sleep, oversleep,fatigue, changes in appetite, changes in weight, back pain, headaches,body aches,stomach pain, delayed motor skills,etc.)
Please note:Extreme cases of a depressive disorder may inflict thoughts of suicide.
Specific depressive disorders may present unique symptoms.Speak to your primary care physician for an accurate diagnosis based on those symptoms. Common depressive disorders may manifest themselves in these forms:
- Persistent depressive disorder major depressive episodes with along with periods presenting more mild symptoms
- Postpartum depression:depression experienced by expectant mothers during pregnancy or after delivery
- Psychotic depression: depression coupled with psychosis, a condition that may present delusions or hallucinations
- Seasonal affective disorder:depression experienced during seasonal transition periods; most commonly seen during cold, gloomy, and dark winter months
Your primary care physician will guide you through an initial diagnosis. If the primary care physician cannot accomplish this based on the resources available, he or she may refer you to a psychologist or psychiatrist.
A psychologist is a physician skilled in observing, interpreting, and recording a patient’s varied mental states and behaviors. The psychologist will use this information to help diagnose the patient. If the patient is diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, the psychologist will begin appropriate treatment to work through depressive tendencies and thought processes.
A psychiatrist is a physician skilled in psychiatry, a branch of medicine dedicated to mental health. The psychiatrist can diagnose a patient and offer appropriate prescription treatment if the patient is severely affected by one or more depressive disorders.
Based on your unique symptoms and other preexisting medical conditions, a medical expert can diagnose your condition. If diagnosed, you will be provided with more information regarding your specific depressive disorder.
An depressive disorder will likely require some form of treatment. Your physician will recommend appropriate treatment which may include (but is not limited to):
- Therapy (cognitive behavioral therapy or meditation)
- Medication (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors [SSRIs], antidepressants, antipsychotics, etc.)
- Self-care (physical exercise, sobriety, healthy diet, increased water consumption,reduced caffeine consumption, etc.)