How Anxiety Treatment Helps
If you treat your anxiety, you can stop it getting worse and prevent depression developing in the longer term. The gold standard treatment for anxiety is cognitive behavioural therapy , which teaches you to question your underlying beliefs, and think and behave differently so you dont become overwhelmed by anxious thoughts.
For example, if you have health anxiety and worry about having a rare illness, CBT would train you to think more rationally and understand your symptoms are much more likely to be related to something less serious.
CBT doesnt involve lots of delving into your past, but gives you an ongoing strategy to manage anxious thoughts. If you have anxiety and depression, you can treat them both at the same time with a talking therapy, as your underlying beliefs are likely to be the same in the two conditions, says Cain.
You may also be prescribed drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors . They work by building up levels of serotonin, the feel good chemical, in the brain. While CBT is the most appropriate ongoing treatment, if your anxiety is severe, medication is often what you need to tip the balance so you can seek help and commit to therapy.
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What It Feels Like To Live With High
The diagnostic criteria for PDD outline exactly what it means to struggle with high-functioning depression in clinical terms, but this is not necessarily what it feels like to go through it. It may be more useful to consider what it feels like to have this mental illness:
- You feel a little down most of the time. Other people may notice this and refer to you as gloomy, cynical, or a downer.
- Your low mood is almost always present, and it feels like you will never get relief. When you do feel happy, it doesnt last long.
- You may feel tired all the time, even if you get enough or too much sleep.
- It may seem like you are lazy, but you just cant summon the energy to do more than is necessary to function at a normal level.
- You feel bad about yourself, unworthy, and as if you dont deserve to be happy or to be liked by others.
- You do everything youre supposed to do, like go to school, or keep the house clean, but it always seems like a monumental effort.
- You gain or lose weight without meaning to, because you either have no appetite or overeat without thinking about it.
- You may feel hopeless often, or cry a lot without any real, concrete reason.
- You do well enough at work or school, but it is a challenge and focusing on tasks is difficult.
- You have to force yourself to engage in social activities, when you would rather withdraw.
- PDD may cause complications that seem unrelated, like substance abuse, chronic pain, relationship difficulties, and problems at work or school.
Are There Different Kinds Of Depression
Being depressed can mean many things. Sometimes, depression is not visible to other people. The depressed person carries symptoms around like a terribly heavy backpack, but still manages work and relationships. Sometimes, depression is apparent for others and the symptoms make it impossible for the depressed person to manage life in the usual way. The severity of depressive symptoms can be divided into 3 categories: mild, moderate and severe depression. Heres a short explanation:
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Tips For Friends And Family
If you have a friend or loved one dealing with depression, you might be wondering if there are things you should look or listen for. The good news, according to Kevin Gilliland, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist and executive director of Innovation360, is you dont need to have a great understanding of what depression feels like to you, just try to be curious about what depression feels like for them.
His advice? Try to understand it enough so that you stay aware of the symptoms and look for the little things that indicate your loved one is doing well or that they are struggling.
Whats most important is that we are trying to care for them and when we are aware of their struggle, we can check on them and ask what we can do to help, Gilliland says.
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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How Is Major Depression Diagnosed
A health professional — such as your primary care doctor or a psychiatrist — will perform a thorough medical evaluation. You might receive a screening for depression at a regular doctorÃ¢â¬â¢s visit. The professional will ask about your personal and family psychiatric history and ask you questions that screen for the symptoms of major depression.
There is no blood test, X-ray, or other laboratory test that can be used to diagnose major depression. However, your doctor may run blood tests to help detect any other medical problems that have symptoms similar to those of depression. For example, hypothyroidism can cause some of the same symptoms as depression, as can alcohol or drug use and abuse, some medications, and stroke.
How Do I Know If Im Depressed
So, what are the symptoms of depression? People often say things like I feel so depressed or thats depressing, but the truth is that depression is a well defined mental disorder, including nine different symptoms. Worth noting is that its not enough to experience the symptoms to be diagnosed with depression. There are several depression criteria to consider. Keep on reading to get the full picture.
Lets continue with the depression criteria. Its not enough to experience some of the symptoms to receive a diagnosis of depression. The following conditions also apply:
As you can imagine, depression can be tricky to recognise and diagnose because there are so many symptoms and criteria to consider. The next paragraph includes a commonly used online depression test, which can give you an indication of the severity of your depressive symptoms.
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What Are The Dangers Of Untreated Severe Depression
Self-harm is the first word that comes to mind at the mention of depression. However, it has other consequences.
1. Physical Health
First of all, untreated clinical depression takes a toll on a persons physical well-being. This study reflects that patients who suffered strokes have a high propensity for post-stroke depression. They also find it hard to make health-care choices or follow their doctors instructions.
2. Sleep Disruption
A person with depression will also experience a change in his or her sleep patterns. If you have it, you may have insomnia , which includes these signs:
- Fatigue during the day
- A constant feeling of insufficient rest
- Inability to fall asleep
- Staying awake all night
- Waking up before the alarm rings
Sleep disorders are a core symptom of depression, as this study proves. It is troubling and typically hard to treat. Patients with depression who also find sleeping a task will need steps to manage it successfully.
Patients with a severe form of depression may also become addicted to drugs or alcohol. Addiction has the following signs:
- Difficulty in maintaining personal relationships
- Secretive drug or alcohol use
- Defensiveness when discussing drugs or alcohol
4. A Disability
Depression isnt a psychological condition that a person can get over. If left untreated, severe depression can render him or her unproductive. It can hinder him or her at work, and disrupt his or her social life. At its worst, it leads to suicide.
The 10 Symptoms Of Depression
But what exactly are the symptoms of depression? To diagnose depression, psychotherapists and doctors usually use the ICD-10, a classification system for diseases published by the World Health Organization . In the US a different manual is used, called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders . It works the same way. Both manuals distinguish between so-called core and additional symptoms of depression, which can exhibit themselves in different combinations.
Depression in two different people can look very different because not every depressive episode exhibits the same combination of symptoms. These many individual variations are one of the reasons why depression often goes unrecognized.
There are three core symptoms characteristic of depression:
- Depressed mood
- Loss of interest and joy in things
- Loss of drive, lack of energy
This dejection, very common to depression, can go so far that the mood of those affected by it does not even brighten up with positive events. Attempts of friends and family to comfort or cheer up people with depression often only create more tension and feelings of guilt. This can also burden relationships quite a bit. Some feel like they cant cry anymore, others cry a lot more than usual.
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Suicidal Thoughts And Behaviors
Strong signs of suicidality include talking about wanting to die, making plans, or attempting to take ones own life. Warning signs of suicidal intention include:
- Acquiring the means to commit suicide
- Changes in eating or sleeping habits
- Engaging in risky or self-destructive behavior
- Extreme agitation or anxiety
- Getting one’s affairs in order
- Increased use of substances such as drugs and alcohol
- Intense changes in mood/mood swings
- Saying goodbye to friends and family as though for the last time
- Feeling trapped or hopeless in ones situation
- Talking a lot about death, dying, and violence
- Talking about suicide or wishing that one hadn’t been born
- Withdrawal from friends or family
Different Types Of Depression
There are different types of depression, and there are some conditions where depression is a symptom. These conditions include:
- Bipolar disorder people with bipolar disorder, which is also known as “manic depression”, experience times of depression, where the symptoms are similar to clinical depression. They also go through phases when they have excessively high moods . Bouts of mania can include harmful behaviour like unsafe sex, spending sprees and gambling.
- Seasonal affective disorder is also called “winter depression”. It’s depression that is related to weather, usually winter, so it happens seasonally.
- Postnatal depression happens to some women after they’ve had a baby. It’s treated similarly to other types of depression, with antidepressant medication and talking therapy.
Learn more about how depression is diagnosed here.
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It Affects Your Friendships Deeplyfor Better And Worse
Depression is a tough illness to face. Many people who suffer from it will lose friends along the way. However, sometimes its also a time when someone really special steps forward, and we develop a lifelong friendship with them:
Its hard to be friends with someone whos depressed. I get that. Most of my friends kind of drifted away.
Before I was depressed I had so many friends. Afterwards, I had just one true friend. But one true friend is worth more than a thousand friends who drop away when things get hard.
I hope this helps you understand or explain this difficult illness just a little better. Youre a good friend for caring enough to read this far. Good luck.
These quotes all come from people who are currently suffering from or have recovered from depression and who have shared their experiences with Dr Pooky Knightsmith. All people quoted have given their permission for their words to be shared anonymously.
Take Care Of Yourself
You can also improve symptoms of depression by taking care of yourself. This includes getting plenty of sleep, eating a healthy diet, avoiding negative people, and participating in enjoyable activities.
Sometimes depression doesnt respond to medication. Your healthcare professional may recommend other treatment options if your symptoms dont improve.
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What Does Depression Physically Feel Like
For people with depression, it can be a truly difficult task to explain their condition. Because it is a disease that is more commonly associated with mental symptoms not outward, physical ones those on the outside are often curious about what depression feels like. And it certainly feels like something: In general, the worse the painful physical symptoms, the more severe the depression, researchers wrote in an overview of depression and physical symptoms in the Journal of Clinical Psychology. Symptoms have been found to increase the duration of depressed mood.
In fact, patients often first complain of physical symptoms to a primary care physician, making depression more apt to be misdiagnosed.
Thats what makes discussions about the physical experience of being depressed all the more important. In this regard, look no further than forums on Reddit, in which those who have struggled can commune over the truly all-encompassing physical reality of their illness.
We chose a few of their honest descriptions and illustrated them in an attempt to gain some insight into the experience.
When Im on my lows, my girlfriend says its like Im on autopilot.
Physically to me, it feels like someone with an army boot is pressing down on my chest.
I always likened it to trying to run up a hill made of mud, every bit of progress you seem to make, you just slide right back down.
I dont remember that last time I didnt feel like a tiny black hole.
Depression And Drugs And Alcohol
“Drowning your sorrows” is actually a bad idea when it comes to depression. Alcohol is categorised as a “strong depressant” which can make depression worse, and drinking or taking drugs to cope can lead to a downward spiral by having a negative affect on other parts of your life.
There’s evidence that cannabis can cause depression, particularly in teenagers, even if it helps you relax.
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And Sometimes You Put On A Brave Face And Everyone Thinks Its Okay
It can be pretty easy to fool everyone if you want to:
Before I leave the house, I check Ive got my wallet, my keys, and my fake smile. If Ive got those three things, Im set.
After a while, you teach yourself how to act normal. It stops people getting upset and worried. It means that all day, every day is a lie and its kind of tiring but it does stop people from worrying so much.
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.
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Who Is At Risk For Depression
Depression can affect anyone, no matter their age, gender or circumstances. About 16 million Americans experience depression each year.
Women may experience depression more often than men. And your genetics or other health conditions can increase the likelihood that youll have at least one depressive episode in your lifetime.
What Are The Causes Of Depression
People usually associate depression with trauma. However, adverse events arent its only cause. It has other triggers.
First of all, studies have linked genes to depression, though the inheritance pattern isnt well-defined. That said, they prove that people who have parents with depression have twice the risk of developing the condition than those who dont.
2. Imbalance of brain chemistry
Depression occurs when the neurotransmitters involved in mood regulation become imbalanced. Neurotransmitters are chemical substances that help different areas of the brain communicate with each other. When certain neurotransmitters are in short supply, this may lead to the symptoms we recognize as clinical depression.
These neurotransmitters are chemical substances that enable different parts of the brain to communicate. Depression sets in when they are lacking.
3. Female Sex Hormones
Many studies, including this one, document that twice as many women suffer from depression as men. They are prone to it because their hormones are in constant flux, particularly during their menstrual cycles. Moreover, their risk of depression declines after they go through menopause.
4. Circadian Rhythm Disturbance
Also, a form of depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder happens because of a disruption in the bodys circadian rhythm.
5. Poor Nutrition
6. Poor Physical Health
9. Grief and Loss
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Ask A Mental Health Professional: Is It Depression Bipolar Disorder A Major Depressive Disorder
Only you and your mental health care provider can determine whether or not youre experiencing bipolar disorder or if this is just what depression feels like when you come out of it.
Bipolar disorder is depression plus mania. Thats why its also called manic depression or manic depressive disorder. When you have bipolar disorder, you can experience periods of depression and periods of mania but some people may be more prone to the depression side of bipolar disorder or to the mania side of bipolar disorder.
Bipolar stereotypes make it seem like people swing from one extreme to the next, when really, mania can be a lot less dramatic and even so mild that it goes unnoticed. Experiencing any level of mania after depression can also feel like such a gift that the person doesnt dare question it.