How Is Mild Depression Diagnosed
Its not easy to determine when a person is suffering from dysthymia. There is no blood test or imaging scan that give doctors a definitive clue that the patient has mild depression. The presence of co-occurring disorder can also make getting an accurate diagnosis more difficult. When it comes to diagnosing any depressive disorder, including mild depression, clinicians go by symptoms. The doctor will make a diagnosis based on the length of time symptoms have been present, and also based on whether or not the symptoms are less severe than those present in major clinical depression. Also, doctors must rule-out physical disorders that can mimic the symptoms of mild depression. Those often include hypothyroidism, diabetes, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Usually, blood and urine tests can rule out these conditions.
Research provides professionals with evidence about what works for treating PDD. According to a recent report that reviewed three different studies, a combination of medication and therapy is more effective than medication or therapy on its own for treating PDD. Medication can help to correct some of the chemical imbalances in the brain that can lead to depression, whereas therapy provides an opportunity for people to develop coping skills and healthy ways of responding to stress and learn how to manage symptoms of depression.
Are There Different Types Of Depression
If you are given a diagnosis of depression, you might be told that you have mild, moderate or severe depression. This describes what sort of impact your symptoms are having on you currently, and what sort of treatment you’re likely to be offered. You might move between mild, moderate and severe depression during one episode of depression or across different episodes.
There are also some specific types of depression:
- Seasonal affective disorder depression that occurs at a particular time of year, or during a particular season. See our page on SAD for more information.
- Dysthymia continuous mild depression that lasts for two years or more. Also called persistent depressive disorder or chronic depression.
- Prenatal depression depression that occurs during pregnancy. This is sometimes also called antenatal depression.
- Postnatal depression depression that occurs in the first year after giving birth.
See our page on postnatal depression and perinatal mental health for more information. The PANDAS Foundation also has information and support for anyone experiencing prenatal or postnatal depression.
Is premenstrual dysphoric disorder a type of depression?
PMDD is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome . Many women experience PMS, but for some women their symptoms are severe enough to seriously impact their daily life. This is when you might receive a diagnosis of PMDD.
Life Events And Depression
Research suggests that continuing difficulties, such as long-term unemployment, living in an abusive or uncaring relationship, long-term isolation or loneliness or prolonged exposure to stress at work can increase the risk of depression.
Significant adverse life events, such as losing a job, going through a separation or divorce, or being diagnosed with a serious illness, may also trigger depression, particularly among people who are already at risk because of genetic, developmental or other personal factors.
How Is Depression Syndrome Diagnosed
Everyone may feel sad or down from time to time. However, clinical depression has more intense symptoms that last two weeks or longer.
To determine whether you have clinical depression, your healthcare provider will ask questions. You may complete a questionnaire and provide a family history. Your healthcare provider may also perform an exam or order lab tests to see if you have another medical condition.
How Is Depression Syndrome Treated
Depression can be serious, but its also treatable. Treatment for depression includes:
- Self-help: Regular exercise, getting enough sleep, and spending time with people you care about can improve depression symptoms.
- Counseling: Counseling or psychotherapy is talking with a mental health professional. Your counselor helps you address your problems and develop coping skills. Sometimes brief therapy is all you need. Other people continue therapy longer.
- Alternative medicine: People with mild depression or ongoing symptoms can improve their well-being with complementary therapy. Therapy may include massage, acupuncture, hypnosis and biofeedback.
- Medication: Prescription medicine called antidepressants can help change brain chemistry that causes depression. Antidepressants can take a few weeks to have an effect. Some antidepressants have side effects, which often improve with time. If they dont, talk to your provider. A different medications may work better for you.
- Brain stimulation therapy: Brain stimulation therapy can help people who have severe depression or depression with psychosis. Types of brain stimulation therapy include electroconvulsive therapy , transcranial magnetic stimulation and vagus nerve stimulation .
Mental Health: A Look At Mild Moderate And Severe Depression
What is depression? Everyone has days that are not so great. We all have those cloudy days. We might say we are having the blues, but a depressive disorder is actually something different..
There are many types of depression, including: major depressive disorder, dysthymia, bipolar disorder, psychotic depression, seasonal affective disorder, postpartum depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, endogenous depression and catatonic depression.
Mild depression could be a short period of low spirits. Depression that lasts for many days is considered more severe, and in its most severe forms, can make people feel suicidal.
So lets take a look at mild, moderate and severe depression.
What Are The Symptoms Of Dysthymia
Dysthymia is milder, yet more long lasting than major depression. Each person may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
- Lasting sad, anxious, or empty mood
- Less ability to concentrate, think, and/or make decisions
- Less energy
- Feeling hopeless
- Weight and/or appetite changes due to over- or under-eating
- Changes in sleep patterns, such as fitful sleep, inability to sleep, early morning awakening, or sleeping too much
- Low self-esteem
To diagnose this condition, an adult must have a depressed mood for at least 2 years , along with at least 2 of the above symptoms. The symptoms of this illness may look like other mental health conditions. Always talk with a healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Complementary And Alternative Treatments
There are some alternative remedies that may be helpful for some people who have mild to moderate depression. St. John’s wort, for example, is one herbal supplement that is sometimes used to help alleviate symptoms of mild to moderate depression. While the supplement is not FDA-approved for the treatment of depression, some research suggests that it may help reduce symptoms.
Because St. John’s wort affects serotonin levels in the brain, it can lead to a serious condition known as serotonin syndrome. It can also interact with other medications, including antidepressants. You should always talk to your doctor before trying any complementary treatment such as St. John’s wort.
The Difference Between Mild And Moderate Depression Is Basically The Number Of Symptoms You Have How Long Youve Experienced Them And How Much Theyre Interfering With Your Everyday Life
Kennard says that to meet the conditions for mild depression, you have to have at least one of the core symptoms, and usually no more than four related symptoms, and you have to be experiencing them for two weeks or longer. If depression is identified and addressed at the mild stage, you might be able to recover from it without medication. If you try your own interventions and find them unhelpful, though, then you should definitely consult a mental health expert rather than just hope that the problem will eventually go away.
People with moderate depression, however, usually experience both core symptomsand four or more related symptoms. Moderate depression usually requires some kind of intervention, like therapy, medication, or both.
For both types of depression, the symptoms that sufferers experience might not necessarily be in reaction to a particular cause. For instance, an event like a trauma, the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or a difficult break-up could very easily trigger symptoms like the ones that occur in depression, but in people without depression, these symptoms start to fade away after time. With depression, though either mild or moderate you might find that either the symptoms linger for a long time or the symptoms dont even have a single event that they can be traced back to.
First You Should Be Aware That Depression Isnt Just One Single Thing That You Either Have Or You Dont It Comes In Different Levels
While mental health professionals could go into a lot of detail about the differences, for our purposes well just talk about mild and moderate depression. There is such a thing as a more severe form of depression that can sometimes be accompanied by serious effects , but that form is much less common. There are different labels for the two more common strains some experts use the terms minor depression and major depression , while others use mild and moderate. Well use mild and moderate in this post, but be aware that other experts might use the terms minor and major to express the same thing.
Writing for Health Central, Jerry Kennard explains that there are two core symptoms associated with depression: A persistent low mood/sadness, and A lack of interest in or motivation to do activities that you once wanted to do. While these are the two core symptoms important to a diagnosis, there are lots of other related symptoms that professionals look for when evaluating a person for depression, such as: trouble accomplishing tasks, avoidance of social activities, weight gain or loss of appetite, trouble concentrating, fatigue, sleep problems, feelings of guilt, feelings of worthlessness, and sluggish feelings/motions.
Distinguishing Between Moderate And Severe Depression
While there is no clear consensus on how to rate the severity of depression, one study found that DSM-5 diagnostic criteria could be used to infer the severity of the condition.
Depressed mood along with the presence of somatic symptoms was an indicator of moderate depression.
People with moderate depression are more likely to experience primary symptoms of low mood, sleep difficulties, weight or appetite changes, and increased/slowed psychomotor activity.
Anhedonia along with non-somatic symptoms was an indicator of severe depression. Along with losing interest in things that used to be pleasurable, people with severe depression are more likely to experience symptoms such as feelings of worthlessness and thoughts of death.
Alcohol Tobacco And Other Drugs
Misusing alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs can have both immediate and long-term health effects.
The misuse and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and prescription medications affect the health and well-being of millions of Americans. SAMHSAs 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that approximately 19.3 million people aged 18 or older had a substance use disorder in the past year.
What Is Depression
Depression is a medical condition that affects your mood and ability to function.
Depressive symptoms include feeling sad, anxious or hopeless. The condition can also cause difficulty with thinking, memory, eating and sleeping. A diagnosis of major depressive disorder means you have felt sad, low or worthless most days for at least two weeks while also having other symptoms such as sleep problems, loss of interest in activities, or change in appetite.
Without treatment, depression can get worse and last longer. In severe cases, it can lead to self-harm or death. Fortunately, treatments can be very effective in improving symptoms of depression.
How To Seek Help
When seeking more formalized help for anxiety or depression, start by speaking with your primary care physician.
You can also research local referrals via national organizations including:
Bear in mind that while effective treatment for anxiety or depression need not be a long-term commitment, it is likely to require regular, ongoing appointments at least in the short term . Therefore, it is critical to find a professional you trust and with whom you feel comfortable speaking about your symptoms.
It is equally important to make sure that you find a clinician that you can afford. Before making the commitment to ongoing care, you may want to meet with a couple of providers to get a feel for their therapeutic styles and their treatment recommendations. You can then use this information to determine which path forward feels best to you.
Classification Of Depression In This Guideline And The Depression Guideline Update
The depression classification system adopted for this guideline and the depression guideline update had to meet a number of criteria, notably the use of:
- a system that reflects the non-categorical, multidimensional nature of depression
- a system that makes best use of the available evidence on both efficacy and effectiveness
- a system that could be distilled for practical day-to-day use in healthcare settings without potentially harmful over-simplification or distortion
- terms that can be easily understood and are not open to misinterpretation by a wide range of healthcare staff and service users
- a system that would facilitate the generation of clinical recommendations.
These criteria led the GDGs to adopt a classificatory system for depression based on DSMIV criteria. When assessing an individual it is important to assess three dimensions to diagnose a depressive disorder severity , duration, and course as linked, but separate, factors . In addition, there was recognition that a single dimension of severity was insufficient to fully capture its multidimensional nature.
As discussed above, the following depressive symptoms require assessment to determine the presence of major depression. The symptoms need to be experienced to a sufficient degree of severity and persistence to be counted as definitely present. At least one core symptom is required both core symptoms would be expected in moderate and severe major depression.
What Is Mild Depression
World Health Organization , there are approximately 280 million people worldwide who have depression. Of the millions of individuals living with this condition, each persons experience can vary in both symptoms and intensity.
Mild depression refers to the level of the conditions severity rather than a specific depression type. Many people with mild depression are able to function in everyday life but may have a lower energy reserve or deal with chronic feelings of melancholy.
Shagoon Maurya, a counseling psychologist and psychotherapist in Adelaide, Australia, explains that a person with mild depression experiences irritability, tiredness, hopelessness, and sadness with the other symptoms of depression, but with less intensity.
Because these emotions arent extreme or can be brushed aside, you might not even realize that you have depression.
Maurya lists common symptoms of depression as:
- handle daily activities, like sleeping, eating, or working
Other types of depression may also present with mild symptoms. If you think you may have depression, regardless of the type or severity of symptoms, consider talking to your doctor as a first step.
Life Expectancy And The Risk Of Suicide
Depressed individuals have a shorter life expectancy than those without depression, in part because people who are depressed are at risk of dying of suicide. Up to 60% of people who die of suicide have a mood disorder such as major depression, and the risk is especially high if a person has a marked sense of hopelessness or has both depression and borderline personality disorder. About 2â8% of adults with major depression die by suicide, and about 50% of people who die by suicide had depression or another mood disorder. The lifetime risk of suicide associated with a diagnosis of major depression in the US is estimated at 3.4%, which averages two highly disparate figures of almost 7% for men and 1% for women . The estimate is substantially lower than a previously accepted figure of 15%, which had been derived from older studies of people who were hospitalized.
Depressed people have a higher rate of dying from other causes. There is a 1.5- to 2-fold increased risk of cardiovascular disease, independent of other known risk factors, and is itself linked directly or indirectly to risk factors such as smoking and obesity. People with major depression are less likely to follow medical recommendations for treating and preventing cardiovascular disorders, further increasing their risk of medical complications.Cardiologists may not recognize underlying depression that complicates a cardiovascular problem under their care.
Classification In Relation To Depression Rating Scales And Questionnaires
Depression rating scales and questionnaires give ranges that are proposed to describe different severities of depression. Some of these were described in of the first NICE depression guideline. In reconsidering this for this guideline and the guideline update, it quickly became apparent not only that there is no consensus for the proposed ranges but also that the ranges in different rating scales and questionnaires do not correspond with each other. In addition, there a variable degree of correlation between different scales, which indicates that the they do not measure precisely the same aspects of depression. When these factors are added to the need to consider more than symptoms in determining severity, and more than severity in considering diagnosis, the GDG was concerned not to perpetuate a spurious precision in relating scores in depression rating scales and questionnaires to the diagnosis or severity of depression, which must in the end be a clinical judgement.
How To Tell If You Have Depression
Depression affects people in different ways and can cause a wide variety of symptoms.
They range from lasting feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness, to losing interest in the things you used to enjoy and feeling very tearful. Many people with depression also have symptoms of anxiety.
There can be physical symptoms too, such as feeling constantly tired, sleeping badly, having no appetite or sex drive, and various aches and pains.
The symptoms of depression range from mild to severe. At its mildest, you may simply feel persistently low in spirit, while severe depression can make you feel suicidal, that life is no longer worth living.
Most people experience feelings of stress, anxiety or low mood during difficult times. A low mood may improve after a short period of time, rather than being a sign of depression.