Depression is more than “the blues.” The common but serious mood disorder also known as major or clinical depression causes severe symptoms that deeply influence how you feel, think and function.
Symptoms of depression vary but may include persistent feelings of hopeless, sadness, anxiety or worthlessness, irritability, fatigue, low energy, difficulty concentrating, restlessness, lost interest in usually pleasurable activities and thoughts of death or suicide. You may also experience physical symptoms such as headaches, digestion problems and cramps. If symptoms carry on for 2 weeks or longer you could be diagnosed with depression.
There are numerous types of depression differentiated by factors such as how long or severely you experience symptoms or when they occur. These types include:
Bipolar disorder isn’t technically a form of depression but it can cause episodes called bipolar depression in which you experience severely low moods that meet the depression criteria. Bipolar disorder may also cause extreme, euphoric highs known as mania or more moderate highs called hypomania.
The latest research findings suggest that a combination of biological, environmental and psychological factors cause depression. Depression can also co-occur with other illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, eating disorders and heart disease. Certain medications, family history of depression, trauma, stress and major life changes can also be contributing factors.
All types and severities of depression can be treated. Commonly effective options involve antidepressants, psychotherapy or both. Contemporary Care provides these treatments and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, or TMS, which uses a magnetic field to stimulate brain areas that control moods and which may be under-active in depressed individuals. If an underlying cause is at play such as an eating disorder, treatment for that condition will also likely improve your depressive symptoms.