Much like similar disorders such as anxiety; depression covers a wide spectrum of conditions. In general someone that suffers from depression experiences long periods of low moods, has no interest in taking part in activities, feels worthless, has a lack of energy, and has no concentration. That said there are different types of depression, and the symptoms for each of these vary. In general to feel depressed is to feel sad or upset about something. In order to be diagnosed with depression, you would have to experience these feelings for a substantial amount of time.
Types of depression that can be diagnosed based on your symptoms:
- Mild depression – This doesn’t usually stop you from taking part in every day tasks and only has a smaller effect on your day to day life. It can seem doing normal every day tasks more of a challenge and seem less worth while to do.
- Moderate depression – Similar to the above however it has more of an impact on your every day life and the tasks you undertake.
- Severe depression – This is where you experience extreme depressive symptoms. With severe depression you have no motivation to do ordinary tasks. You may also suffer from fatigue and a loss of appetite.
- Dysthymia – mild depression which is then classed as chronic as it lasts at least 2 years.
- Bipolar affective disorder – Also known as manic depression this causes its sufferer to have extreme mood swings.
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – Usually experienced during winter months. Seasons of the year affect a person’s general mood. People who live in places that are cold and dark all year round could suffer with this condition at anytime.
- Postpartum depression – Experienced by some women after childbirth.
Although there are a number of types of depression the symptoms experienced across these are generic. A sufferer may experience just one, some or all of the symptoms and this will vary depending on how severe your depression is.
Common Depression Symptoms include:
- continuous low mood which may be worse in the mornings
- feeling irritable
- crying a lot
- loss of interest or pleasure in activities normally enjoyed
- loss of self-confidence
- lack of energy, tiredness, and poor concentration
- difficulty in making decisions
- feeling helpless or hopeless
- feeling guilty
- feeling restless or agitated
- thoughts about suicide
Physical symptoms of depression include:
- a loss of sex drive (libido)
- trouble sleeping - possibly taking one or two hours to go to sleep or waking up earlier than usual
- disturbed eating patterns - either loss of appetite or eating too much
- unexplained aches and pains
As with any illness or condition the treatment that you are given depends largely on how severe the illness is.
Common depression treatments include:
- Self-help - Exercise is a great way to help fight mild depression. This could either be by taking part in regular sports or a brisk walk. Things like taking care of your self, watching what you eat and avoiding alcohol can also help. Do things that make you feel good about who you are.
- In some cases your doctor may subscribe antidepressants. There are a number different antidepressants that be prescribed. Many people find that the first type they try doesn’t work for them and they may need to change medication a number of times before they find the best mix for them.
Antidepressants used to combat depression symptoms
- SSRIs (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors) such as fluoxetine (Prozac) and paroxetine (Seroxat). These are the most common antidepressant available and will probably be the first ones your doctor tries. They help raise the level of serotonin in your brain which helps lift your mood.
- Tricyclics are as effective as SSRIs, but have different side-effects. These side effects can be quite extreme so this is why they are used less then the SSRI alternatives. Tricyclics available include Dosulepin (Prothiaden) and clomipramine (Anafranil) are examples of tricyclics.
- MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors) such as phenelzine (Nardil). These are used less than Tricyclics and SSRI’s because when mixed with certain foods can cause bad reactions.
Those are the 3 most common antidepressant types available. However if these don’t work for you or you experience bad side effects other alternatives include venlafaxine (Efexor), and mirtazapine (Zispin).
Alternative therapies for depression
These work better for some people than they do others. You should always make sure that you seek medical advice before trying them.
- St John's wort (hyperatum) is set to have many positive effects on those suffering from mild depression.
- Counseling - Talking to a trained professional can also help. They can help you get to the bottom of what triggered your feelings of depression and in turn help you discover how to improve your depression symptoms.
These are just some of the main forms of treatment that is used for depression symptoms. As the condition affects people differently it will be down to you and your doctor to decide the best course of action if you start to suffer from depression. The great news is that symptoms of depression can be managed and in many cases even cured with the right treatment. You should always seek medical advice if you start to experience of the depression symptoms listed.