Testing And Diagnosis Of Major Depression
If you believe your child suffers from major depression, talk to your childs pediatrician or seek out either a therapist or psychiatrist who specializes in children and adolescents. An accurate diagnosis and early treatment are keys to success in managing major depression. Depression can also occur alongside other behavioral health disorders, such as substance abuse or anxiety disorders. With the level of complexity often involved in diagnosing and treating depression, finding a highly trained professional, such as a pediatrician, licensed clinical social worker, a child psychologist, or a child and adolescent psychiatrist, is important.At Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia, a specialist will perform a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation. The evaluation may assess:
Your child’s age, overall health, and medical history
Extent of your child’s current symptoms, behaviors, and functioning
Expectations for the course of the condition
Family dynamics and environmental stressors
Family psychiatric and medical history
Input from teachers and other care providers
What Is The Difference Between Major Depression And Grief And Sadness
Its common for people to suffer from instances of depression due to life changes and events. If a loved one dies, you may spend a few weeks very upset and withdrawn. You may have a period of time when you are facing difficult life changes, and these symptoms seem to be present.
If youve been diagnosed with depression, you may experience this from time to time. You may also have breaks of time when you feel okay. Its possible for those with a depression diagnosis to suffer from a major depressive disorder single episode like this.
In a person with major depression, these types of episodes occur more chronically. This is a chronic illness, but with treatment, the time between such episodes may lengthen. You may feel better for longer periods of time.
Tips For Preventing A Relapse
These prevention strategies can help to stop depression from returning:
Keeping up with treatment: Finishing the full course of a prescribed medication can significantly reduce the risk of relapse, especially during the critical 6 months after treatment begins.
Mindfulness based therapies: Mindfulness can help a person understand any negative thought patterns and find ways of dealing with them. One study shows that practicing mindfulness three times a week may reduce depression relapse by up to 50% within a year.
Educating friends and family: Telling friends and family what warning signs to look out for might help catch an episode early.
Prepare for a relapse: It may help to make a plan so that, if warning signs do appear, the individual can act upon them quickly. A doctor can help with this.
When worrying symptoms come back during treatment, it might mean that current treatment is not working as it should.
A doctor may recommend changing the treatment style or increasing the medication dosage.
Treatments that can help include:
Talking therapies: Interpersonal therapy , cognitive behavioral therapy , or both may reduce the risk of depression returning.
Medication: or mood stabilizers can help some people. Following the doctors recommendations for taking these drugs can help reduce the risk of a relapse.
Electroconvulsive therapy: In some cases, a doctor may recommend
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So What Are Some Potential Triggers
While many with bipolar disorder have different triggers, there are some common ones for many.
According to a study, published in ScienceDirect, of young adults from ages 18-30 with bipolar disorder, different triggers were more influential for different individuals. However, the more interesting finding was that some triggers were more likely to cause a hypomanic/manic episode, while others were more likely to cause a depressive episode.
For manic/hypomanic episodes some of the triggers include stimulant use, late night partying, vacations, loud music, and even falling in love. For bipolar depression episodes, some of the potential triggers include stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, injuries, and decreases in physical exercise.
If youre on medication, one of the most important things to do is to take it as prescribed, and NEVER make any changes in regards to your medications without speaking to your doctor first. If something is wrong with your medication, let your doctor know as soon as you can. Theyre trained to handle dilemmas with medications, and many times there are plenty of other medications theyll be able to provide you with instead.
What Are The Symptoms Of Depression And How Is It Diagnosed
The NHS recommends that you should see your GP if you experience symptoms of depression for most of the day, every day, for more than 2 weeks.
Doctors make decisions about diagnosis based on manuals. The manual used by NHS doctors is the International Classification of Diseases .
When you see a doctor they will look for the symptoms that are set out in the ICD-10 guidance. You do not have to have all of these to be diagnosed with depression. You might have just experience some of them.
Some symptoms of depression are:
- low mood, feeling sad, irritable or angry,
- having less energy to do certain things,
- losing interest or enjoyment in activities you used to enjoy,
- reduced concentration,
You may also find that with low mood you:
- feel less pleasure from things,
- feel more agitated,
- find your thoughts and movements slow down, and
- have thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
Your doctor should also ask about any possible causes of depression. For example, they may want to find out if youve experienced anything traumatic recently which could be making you feel this way.
There are no physical tests for depression. But the doctors may do some tests to check if you have any physical problems. For example, an underactive thyroid can cause depression.
On the NHS website, they have a self-assessment test which can help you to assess whether you are living with depression: www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/clinical-depression/overview/
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Different Types Of Depression
Your doctor may diagnose you with depression and say that its mild, moderate or severe depending on your symptoms and how severe they are. Or you may be diagnosed with a specific type of depression, such as:
- dysthymia mild depression that lasts for several years
- seasonal affective disorder depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern
- postnatal depression depression that many parents experience after having a baby. Some people experience antenatal depression during pregnancy.
What Does Major Depressive Disorder Treatment Look Like
There are numerous things to consider when figuring out what depression treatment looks like for you, including your medical history, your personal symptoms,and whether or not youve been depressed before, according to Dr. Combs.
In general, though, your path forward will likely include some form of therapy, medication, or both. In one 2014 meta-analysis of 92 studies on psychotherapy published in the Journal of Affective Disorders3, 62% of 6,937 people with clinical depression found that just going to therapy helped reduce their symptoms to the point where they no longer met the criteria for a clinical depression diagnosis.
Feeling comfortable with your treatment is crucial , so its important to speak up if you feel hesitant about anything. For example, some people may prefer to try talk therapy alone before committing to a medication. If thats the case for you, make sure you make any concerns clear to your doctor or therapist, as they can answer questions to make you feel more at ease or recommend a different approach first.
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What Is A Major Depressive Episode
A major depressive episode is also known as major depression, major depressive disorder, or clinical depression. It is one of the forms of depression that has the most severe symptoms.
Major depressive disorder in teens can rise in bouts and last for a long period of time. Hence, it significantly affects quality of life in all areas. Furthermore, major depression is marked by significant and pervasive feelings of sadness. And such feelings may be associated with suicidal thoughts.
Therefore, a severe depressive episode impairs a teenagers ability to concentrate or engage in normal activities.
Dangers Of A Depressive Episode
During a depressive episode, most people are very vulnerable. They feel worthless and defeated. You may see yourself not caring about school or work. That can impact your future if it happens often. The more profound effects of depressive episodes affect peoples ability to take care of themselves. You may be at a higher risk of hurting yourself through self-cutting. Others have suicidal thoughts or make attempts to harm themselves. Because of this, major depressive episodes are considered life-threatening events.
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Are There Other Therapies To Treat Symptoms Of Depression
There are other treatments your doctor may consider. Electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT, is a treatment option for people whose symptoms don’t get better with medicine or who have severe depression and need treatment right away.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, involves using a noninvasive device that is held above the head to induce the magnetic field. It targets a specific part of the brain that can trigger depression.
With vagus nerve stimulation, or VMS, a pacemaker-like device is surgically implanted under the collarbone to deliver regular impulses to the brain.
Information For Family Carers And Friends
You can get support if you are a carer, friend or family member of someone living with depression.
Being a carer might mean you can claim certain benefits that might help you and the person you care for. For more information, please see the Mental Health and Money Advice services website:www.mentalhealthandmoneyadvice.org/en/welfare-benefits/what-benefits-are-available-for-mental-health-carers/
You could also get in touch with carer support groups or sibling support groups. You can search for local groups in your area online or ask your GP.
You can ask your local authority for a carers assessment if you need more practical support to help care for someone.
As a carer you should be involved in decisions about care planning. There are rules about information sharing and confidentiality which may make it difficult for you to get all the information you need in some circumstances.
You can find out more information about:
How can I support the person that I care for?
You might find it easier to support someone with depression if you understand their symptoms, treatment and self-management skills. You can use this to support them to get help and stay well.
Below are some initial suggestions for providing practical day to day support to someone with depression.
You can find out more information about:
You can find more information about:
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What Is The Outlook For Someone With Major Depressive Disorder
While someone with MDD can feel hopeless at times, its important to remember that the disorder can be treated successfully. There is hope.
To improve your outlook, its critical to stick with your treatment plan. Dont miss therapy sessions or follow-up appointments with your healthcare professional.
Never stop taking your medications unless your therapist or healthcare professional advises you to.
On days when you feel particularly depressed despite treatment, it can be helpful to call a local crisis or mental health service or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Resources are available.
A friendly, supportive voice could be just what you need to get you through a difficult time.
Recognize The Importance Of Self
Self-care is essential for good physical and mental health. Self-care activities are any actions that help people look after their wellbeing.
Self-care means taking time to relax, recharge, and connect with the self and others. It also means saying no to others when overwhelmed and taking space to calm and soothe oneself.
Basic self-care activities include eating a healthful diet, engaging in creative activities, and taking a soothing bath. But any action that enhances mental, emotional, and physical health can be considered a self-care activity.
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Feelings Of Guilt Or Worthlessness
Depressed people may have feelings of guilt that go beyond a normal level or are delusional. These feelings of guilt and/or worthlessness are excessive and inappropriate. Major depressive episodes are notable for a significant, often unrealistic, drop in self-esteem. The guilt and worthlessness experienced in a major depressive episode can range from subtle feelings of guilt to frank delusions or to shame and humiliation. Additionally, self-loathing is common in clinical depression, and can lead to a downward spiral when combined with other symptoms.
Spotting The Early Warning Signs Of A Bipolar Mood Episode
You may be able to short-circuit a developing mood episode through early intervention, but to do so, you must first be able to identify the early warning signs. In this post, I point out some common early warning signs of an oncoming bipolar mood episode and ask you to share your early warning signs.
One of the most challenging aspects of bipolar disorder is that those who have it often lack insight, meaning that in the midst of a major mood episode, their mood radar stops working. Consider teaming up with a loved one you trust to provide the objective insight you need. Remember: The earlier you intervene, the better chance you have of keeping a full-blown mood episode at bay.
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When Should I Seek Help
If your symptoms of depression are causing problems with relationships, work, or your family — and there isn’t a clear solution — you should see a professional.
Talking with a mental health counselor or doctor can help prevent things from getting worse, especially if your symptoms stay for any length of time.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts or feelings, get help right away.
It’s important to understand that feeling depressed doesn’t mean you have depression. That condition involves not only changes in mood, but also changes in sleep, energy, appetite, concentration, and motivation.
If you have physical symptoms like these and find yourself feeling depressed much of the time for days or weeks, see your doctor.
The Low Side Of Bipolar Disorder
Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
In order for a diagnosis of bipolar disorder to be made, there must also be a history of or a current manic or hypomanic episode. In bipolar I disorder, there doesn’t need to be a depressive episode, although most there is. In bipolar 2, there needs to be the presence of a hypomanic and a major depressive episode over the course of the illness. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders contains a list of specific symptoms that may be present and specifies several rules about those symptoms.
For a diagnosis of a major depressive episode in bipolar disorder, the symptoms have to be continuous for at least two weeks . In addition, at least one of the first two symptoms listed below must be present at least five or more of all the symptoms listed must be present.
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Signs Of Irritable & Angry Bipolar Depression
Beyond Treatment: Things You Can Do
Here are other tips that may help you or a loved one during treatment for depression:
- Try to be active and exercise.
- Set realistic goals for yourself.
- Try to spend time with other people and confide in a trusted friend or relative.
- Try not to isolate yourself, and let others help you.
- Expect your mood to improve gradually, not immediately.
- Postpone important decisions, such as getting married or divorced, or changing jobs until you feel better. Discuss decisions with others who know you well and have a more objective view of your situation.
- Continue to educate yourself about depression.
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Risk Factors For Manic Symptoms
Risk factors for manic symptoms are unclear, but are likely are age, history of psychosis, head injury, substance abuse, and certain psychiatric disorders.
There are several factors that can increase the risk of developing mania symptoms including things that affect brain chemistry.
If you are experiencing manic symptoms, its important to seek medical attention. So the treatment starts as soon as possible. There are no tests that can diagnose someone with mania because there are no fast-acting screening tools that take into account mood state.
What Is The Treatment For A Depressive Episode
How do you get out of a depressive episode? Treatment is always customized based on what your mental health needs are at that time.
If youre facing an emergency situation such as having thoughts of hurting yourself, call 911 right away. Do not wait for anyone else to be available.
Your doctor will be able to help you as an initial step. If youve never been diagnosed with depression before, this generally will include an exam, lab tests, and a psychiatric evaluation. During this exam, your doctors and therapists determine if you have the symptoms for the classification of depression or a major depressive episode. They also determine what type of depression you have.
Treatment for an episode depends on whats occurring. You may need to begin taking antidepressant medications. These medications can help to balance hormones and chemicals in the brain to ensure you have fewer episodes. Getting the right treatment can take some time.
Most people also benefit from psychotherapy. This includes talking to a therapist about whats happening and developing strategies for dealing with triggers in your life. A key goal is to identify the negative beliefs you have and working through your feelings. Youll also learn how to set realistic goals, develop a higher level of tolerance for distress and work to improve relationships.
Some people also benefit from holistic therapy as a complement to psychotherapy. This may include nutrition counseling and yoga, for example.
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