Lifestyle Changes For Depression
Lifestyle changes, such as making art, journaling, exercising more, and practicing yoga or mindfulness, can also alleviate depression and the stress that can heighten it. Alternative treatments like massage, acupuncture, and light therapy may also help.
Diet changes, too, can uplift your mood by reducing inflammation and helping to ensure your brain gets the nutrients it needs to function at its best.
One randomized controlled study, published October 9, 2019, in the journal PLoS One, found that self-reported symptoms of depression dropped significantly in just three weeks in young adults who changed from a highly processed, high-carbohydrate diet to a focused on vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, unsweetened dairy, nuts and seeds, olive oil, and the spices turmeric and cinnamon. In contrast, the depression scores didnt budge in a control group of people who didnt change their diet.
How To Explain Depression To A Child
Explaining depression to a child is a challenge because it requires carefully considering their perspective. Children are often smarter than we give them credit for, but they do have limited, somewhat naive world-views, so introducing something as serious as depression can be difficult. The last thing you want to do is create unnecessary anxiety for them.
Here are some tips:
Speak to them on their level. Kids may not have the same emotional vocabulary as you. To help them understand its useful to use analogies and examples that are relevant to their world. Think about where they may have been exposed to sadness, maybe in cartoons or movies, at school, or through friends.
Be specific. When faced with uncertainty children will pick up on emotional cues from adults. Because you might be feeling down, the child may interpret the situation as negative or wrong and react with fear. Try to be clear about what is going on and what that means for them and most importantly, normalise it. Let them know this is something people go through and thats ok.
Reassure them. After having a somewhat serious conversation with a child, they may be a little confused and scared. Calm them down and let them know that everything is going to be ok, some things might just be changing, as they always do.
Which Types Of Talk Therapy Work Best For Depression
The Society of Clinical Psychology rates several types of psychotherapy as highly effective :
- Behavioral activation therapy The aim of this type of therapy is to reverse the downward spiral of depression by encouraging you to seek out experiences and activities that give you joy.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy CBT focuses on changing specific negative thought patterns so that you are able to better respond to challenging and stressful situations.
- Interpersonal therapy This very structured, time-limited form of therapy focuses on identifying and improving problematic personal relationships and circumstances directly related to your current depressive mood.
- Problem-solving therapy This therapy is a form CBT that teaches take-charge skills that help you solve the real-life problems and stressors, big and small, that contribute to depression.
- Self-management/self-control therapy This type of behavioral therapy trains you to lessen your negative reactions to events and reduce your self-punishing behaviors and thoughts.
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What You Can Do Now
To treat depression effectively, its important that you reach out to your doctor for a diagnosis. They will work with you to determine the right treatment measures. Treatment may include SSRIs, herbal remedies, CBT, or lifestyle adjustments.
Its especially important to contact your doctor in cases of mild to moderate depression, as the symptoms may not be noticeable to others. Though it may take time for treatment to make a noticeable difference, reaching out to your doctor is the first step toward feeling better.
If youre dealing with thoughts of suicide or acts of self-harm, call your local emergency services or a crisis hotline right away. You can try the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
Common Causes And Risk Factors
Depression can be caused by a number of factors. Though a single cause cannot always be found, experts recognize the following as possible causes:
- Genetics: Depression and other mood disorders can run in families, though family history alone does not mean a person will get depression.
- Life events: Major life changes and stressful events may trigger depression. These events include divorce, the death of a loved one, job loss, or financial problems.
- Hormonal changes: Depression and low mood are often
- cultural expectations
- differences in experience
One study of twin brothers and sisters published in The American Journal of Psychiatry found that personality and relationships with others were more likely to play a role in the onset of depression.
In particular, the study stated that marital problems, the relationship with parents, and lack of social support were more likely to cause depression in women than in men.
Neuroticism, or being in a negative emotional state, was also a primary cause of depression in the women studied.
A study in the Journal of Affective Disorders also found that womens symptoms of depression were different. The women studied were more likely to have panic and anxiety disorders in addition to their depression.
Other studies have indicated that women may be more likely to gain weight and have excessive sleepiness than men.
Womens hormone changes may also play a role in how and when depression affects them.
Research on this hormonal link has found:
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Symptoms Of Severe Depression
What are the symptoms of severe depression?
- Loss of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable
- Persistent thoughts of something bad happening
- Thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts
- In very severe cases, psychotic symptoms
- Inability to take care of oneself, such as eating, bathing, or fulfilling family or work responsibilities
Although you might feel that there’s no hope, talk to your doctor about treatment options. Even severe depression symptoms can be treated.
What Time Of Day Should I Use Light Treatment
Future treatment may benefit from extensive contrasts including sequential and tipped techniques to relentless depression. Consistent depression will call for a mix of antidepressant medication and also high-quality, organized psychotherapy to attain excellent lasting results. A collaborative what does severe depression feel like method including both a psychoanalyst and scientific psychologist or CBT specialist in the treatment of the same patient is vital for distribution of reliable therapy. One space forthcoming is the concurrent or sequential indicator for medication as well as psychological treatment.
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Feeling Heavy Or Weighed Down
You may feel as though your ankles have anchors attached to them or that your limbs are filled with lead. Maybe it feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders.
These physical sensations can also play into how fatigued you feel.
Being weighed down slows you down even when your mind wants you to move or work or talk more quickly. This internal vs. external battle between body and mind can be exhausting and anguishing.
For some, this feeling leaves them rather sloth-like and can make getting things done very difficult.
How Is Depression Diagnosed
To be diagnosed with depression, an individual must have five depression symptoms every day, nearly all day, for at least 2 weeks. One of the symptoms must be a depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in almost all activities. Children and adolescents may be irritable rather than sad.
If you think you may have depression, talk to your health care provider. Primary care providers routinely diagnose and treat depression and refer individuals to mental health professionals, such as psychologists or psychiatrists.
During the visit, your provider may ask when your symptoms began, how long they last, how often they occur, and if they keep you from going out or doing your usual activities. It may help to make some notes about your symptoms before your visit. Certain medications and some medical conditions, such as viruses or a thyroid disorder, can cause the same depression symptoms. Your provider can rule out these possibilities by doing a physical exam, interview, and lab tests.
Read NIMHs Tips for Talking With Your Health Care Provider to help prepare for and get the most out of your visit. For additional resources, visit the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website.
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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.
Other Ways To Help Include:
- Offering him support, understanding, patience, and encouragement
- Listening carefully and talking with him
- Never ignoring comments about suicide, and alerting his therapist or doctor
- Helping him increase his level of physical and social activity by inviting him out for hikes, games, and other events. If he says, no, keep trying, but don’t push him to take on too much too soon.
- Encouraging him to report any concerns about medications to his health care provider
- Ensuring that he gets to his doctor’s appointments
- Reminding him that with time and treatment, the depression will lift
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How Is Depression Treated
Depression treatment typically involves medication, psychotherapy, or both. If these treatments do not reduce symptoms, brain stimulation therapy may be another treatment option. In milder cases of depression, treatment might begin with psychotherapy alone, and medication added if the individual continues to experience symptoms. For moderate or severe depression, many mental health professionals recommend a combination of medication and therapy at the start of treatment.
Choosing the right treatment plan should be based on a persons individual needs and medical situation under a providers care. It may take some trial and error to find the treatment that works best for you. You can learn more about the different types of treatment, including psychotherapy, medication, and brain stimulation therapies on the NIMH’s depression webpage. For information on finding a mental health professional and questions to ask when considering therapy, visit NIMHs psychotherapies webpage.
What Are The Different Types Of Depression
Since depression is such a complex disorder, it can be difficult to define and diagnose with just one set of generalized criteria. Because of this, other categories define different types of depression.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the two most common forms of depression are major or clinical depression and persistent depressive disorder.
Major depression is the most commonly diagnosed form of depression characterized as having symptoms of depression most of the day, nearly every day for at least two weeks that interferes with your ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy life.
Persistent depressive disorder dysthymia is diagnosed after a person has symptoms of depression that last for at least two years.
Other forms of depression include:
- Perinatal or prepartum depression, which occurs during pregnancy.
- Postpartum depression, which after pregnancy and childbirth.
- Seasonal affective disorder , which features depressive episodes that come and go with the seasons.
- Psychotic depression, which co-occurs with one other form of psychosis.
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder , which is a severe extension of premenstrual syndrome.
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The Next Step: Getting Help
If you notice any of these serious depression symptoms in yourself or someone you love, reach out and get help. In most people, even major depression is a very treatable disorder, with a wide range of medications and therapies that have been proven to work, according to the APA.
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When To See A Doctor
Those who are experiencing symptoms of depression should seek medical assistance. Depression can worsen without treatment and affect a persons quality of life.
A family doctor or mental health professional will discuss treatment options to help the person manage their depression and carry on with daily life.
In severe cases, depression can lead to thoughts of suicide or physically harming oneself.
Any suicidal thoughts or statements about not wanting to live should be taken seriously. In times of crisis, a person should seek help from a hospital emergency department.
Help is also available from the National Suicide Prevention Helpline by calling 1-800-273-TALK , or visiting the Helplines website.
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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.
Postpartum And Perinatal Depression
One treatment one-of-a-kind to SAD is called light therapy, which provides an antidepressant device by exposing the retina to light. Nitschke recommends those battling with SAD to obtain a pleased light of 10,000 lux, which is quickly accessible, as well as begin turning it on for a minimum of 30 minutes a day as early as September. Efficient methods of treating SAD arent very different from treating clinical depression, Nitschke stated. Among the best what does severe depression feel like ways to fight SAD as well as various other kinds of depression is exercise and also physical activity, but these may be tough to initiate as a result of lack of inspiration and also the chilly temperatures in the winter months. Nitschke deals with his patients to create an exercise plan and continue with it throughout the winter season, also if that suggests adjusting to the climate.
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How Can I Help A Loved One Who Is Depressed
If someone you know has depression, help them see a health care provider or mental health professional. You also can:
- Offer support, understanding, patience, and encouragement.
- Invite them out for walks, outings, and other activities.
- Help them stick to their treatment plan, such as setting reminders to take prescribed medications.
- Make sure they have transportation to therapy appointments.
- Remind them that, with time and treatment, the depression will lift.
Take comments about suicide seriously, and report them to your loved ones health care provider or therapist. If they are in immediate distress or thinking about hurting themselves, call 911 for emergency services or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
How Symptoms Of Depression Vary By Gender And Age
Anyone can experience depression. This means you are never too young to have clinical depression.
- Over 3% of American children aged 3-17 years had current depression
- Over 7% had anxiety
- Close to 7.5% had a current behavioral/conduct problem
But girls are more likely to be diagnosed with depression and boys are more likely to be diagnosed with a behavioral or conduct .
There are many studies that when taken together demonstrate these rather stereotypical differences in major depression diagnoses, and that gender differences in depression symptoms emerge earlier in life than previously thought but peak in adolescence.
Larger gender differences in major depression have been found in nations with greater gender equity and in more recent studies.
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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.
Most Common Depression Diagnosis Scales
Some of the most popular scales used to help clinicians diagnose depression include:
- Beck Depression Inventory
- Clinically Useful Depression Outcome Scale
- Geriatric Depression Scale
- Patient Health Questionnaire-9 and adolescent PHQ-9
- Plutchik-Van Praag Self-Report Depression Scale
- Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology
- Rome Depression Inventory
- Zung Self-Rating Depression Scales
Some scales, such as the Beck Depression Inventory, are copyright protected and not available outside of a doctors office or mental health clinic . There are inventories, scales, and questionnaires that are in the public domain and, therefore, more accessible.
The PHQ, for example, is available for free online and in over 30 languages. It can be downloaded as a PDF or accessed as an interactive quiz on several reputable mental health websites.
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Depression: Recognizing Unusual Symptoms
One reason depression can be hard to identify is that its signs can vary widely from person to person and sometimes be masked by atypical symptoms. For example, some people who are depressed may show it by acting disgruntled, resentful, or irritable. In fact, aggression including outright acts of violence can be indicative of hidden depression, according to a February 28, 2017, report in Psychiatric Times. Depression masquerading as anger may seem surprising at first, but not when you consider that several underlying factors, including alcohol or substance abuse and childhood trauma, have been linked to both.
Similarly, although its not clear why, a person who experiences anxiety is at high risk for developing depression, and vice versa. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that as many as 60 percent of people with anxiety will also have symptoms of depression the same goes for people with depression having . Experts say there is often a genetic predisposition for these co-occurring disorders.
Depression may also manifest psychosomatically, meaning that instead of presenting first and foremost as a mood disorder, the dominant symptom may be things like vague aches, dizziness, headaches, , or , according to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. Complicating matters is that its often hard to know whether depression is causing the physical symptoms, or if the physical symptoms are causing depression.