If your like most people you have experienced depression or know someone that has. Over 17 million adults in the U.S. have had at least one episode of depression in the last year alone. Depression is a mood disorder that causes persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest. Also known as major depressive disorder or clinical depression; it affects how one may feel, think, behave and can lead to emotional and/or physical problems. Though certain people can be more prone to depression, depression itself affects people of all ages, races, ethnic groups and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Depression is not just something you can outwill to go away. It’s more than just a bout of sadness or low mood when you’ve had a rough day. Depression is a serious mental health condition that requires understanding and for some, medical care. Left untreated it can devastate those who suffer from it as well as their families. The upside is that you can do something about it. Many people who suffer from depression have found themselves in a better position through seeking help and making healthy lifestyle choices. Let’s look at
- Understanding Types of Depression
- Symptoms Of Depression
- -in children
- -in teens
- -in adults
- What You Can Do To Help
UNDERSTANDING TYPES OF DEPRESSION
Doctors and mental health professionals use different categories when diagnosing depression and mood disorders. The correlating factor is a depressed mood but how that develops is different according to the type of depression.
For instance, Major Depression is an intense episode of depression that has recently developed and lasted at least two weeks.
Chronic Depression is a milder form of depression that has gradually developed over a course of time and has lasted for at least two years.
Adjustment Disorder is depression that has developed after an unsettling event like a natural disaster or a death in the family.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is when one experiences depressive moods related to their lack of light exposure.
Bipolar Disorder, also known as manic depression, is a condition that includes episodes of major depression and at other times episodes of emotional highs.
Lastly, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder is a pattern of intense, frequent temper tantrums where one over the age of six years old experiences outbursts of anger and aggression as well as constant irritability.
Understanding the different types of depression may help you understand how you are feeling or what someone you love may be going through.
SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION
It’s not abnormal for kids to feel sad, low, irritable or in a bad mood every once in awhile. It’s when those feelings linger and a child can’t seem to come out of it as well as the child’s emotions limiting their ability to function normally in their day to day that depression may be a cause. Symptoms of depression in younger children include (not limited to) persistent emotions such as sadness, irritability, worry, discouragement, inwardly focused on faults, critical of others and self, complaining more than normal, aches and pains, refusing to attend school, abnormal weight loss, loss of appetite, sleep issues, has a hard time concentrating, low energy levels, lack of interest, isolates and shows lack of ambition.
When kids experience depression it’s hard for them to put forth effort even when they’re doing things they used to enjoy. Depression often times makes them feel worthless, rejected, or unlovable. It causes them to see everyday problems as difficult and overbearing. In severe cases, depression can lead kids to think of or attempt self harm or suicide.
Teen depression is a serious mental health problem that affects about 20% of adolescents before they become adults. Peer pressure, academic expectations, athletic expectations and body changes are all things that make teens feel pressured and overwhelmed. Normally these things and others pass with time but for some it can lead to depression. Irritability, sadness, negative feelings, bouts of anger, extreme sensitivity, poor school attendance, feelings of worthlessness, use of recreational drugs and alcohol, loss of interest, overeating, sleeping too much and avoidance of social activities are all symptoms of depression in teens.
Any emotional or behavioral changes that persist over a long period of time are worthy of being paid attention to in your teen. Even excessive body aches and frequent trips to the nurses office can pose a red flag. Understanding your teens personality, current social and academic pressures, brain and body development norms and abnorms as well as being aware of stresses within the home can help shed light on whether your teen may be experiencing depression.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2017, approximately 17.3 million adults in the U.S. have had at least one major depressive episode with the data revealing a greater prevalence among women and in individuals around the ages of 18-25. Major Depressive Disorder is the most common type of depression but is not the only type of depression adults can experience. Some of the common symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder include (but are not limited to) loss of interest in activities, changes in appetite, difficulty sleeping, lack of energy, irritability, hopelessness, difficulty concentrating, unexplained aches and pains ( a common sign among adults), guilt, inadequacy and reoccuring thoughts of death or suicide. Keep in mind that major depression is not a normal part of aging so just because you are getting older doesn’t mean that you should be feeling long bouts of low emotions.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP
Experiencing any type of depression is a serious health issue that shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you are feeling low moods for extended periods of time that you are unable to shake it’s important that you reach out to your doctor who can advise you on what is best suited for you. Here are some helpful tips on what you can do to help yourself or someone you love that may be experiencing depressive moods.
Reach Out– Isolation is the last thing you want to do. Depression feeds off of isolation so reach out to friends, family, loved ones or someone you trust so you can talk about what you are experiencing. Having a face to face conversation can be mood boosting. It’s important to note too, that whoever you reach out to is meant to be a listener, not someone that can fix your problems. Just having someone who will be attentive and not judge you is helpful.
Get Moving– Go for a walk. Run. Ride a bike around the block. Do something that gets you outside in the fresh air and your heart pumping. Depression will tell you that you can’t get out of bed or that you don’t want to, so it can be vital that you do the exact opposite. Your body needs the activity and so does your brain. Regular exercise is known for being a mood booster and even as effective as antidepressants.
Eat healthy foods– Everyone benefits from eating healthy foods. Foods specific to providing you energy and boosting your mood are great places to start when thinking about what you intake. Omega 3 fatty acidic foods like salmon, walnuts and chia seeds are just some examples of mood boosting ingredients. What you put into your body will make a huge difference in how you feel.
Engage With The World– I know you don’t feel like it, but making decisions based on how we feel only gets us so far. It’s time to step out where it feels uncomfortable. Facing the idea of discomfort is what causes it to vanish. Even engaging in places where there are animals can provide the social interaction that you need. Start small. Take baby steps and see how much better you can feel.
Seek Professional Help– If you don’t have a doctor, find one. They have the knowledge, tools and resources that are necessary in finding you the help you need. Seek out a therapist that offers counseling for depression. One of the things they are good at is listening. Remember the first tip? Reach out to others. You need people in your life who will listen to you, take you seriously and be a support to you. There are people out there that want to help you. Let them.
As shared earlier, depression affects a lot of people. Knowing that, we can see that the odds of someone being able to relate to depression is high. Meaning, you are not alone. Understanding this is key for someone who is experiencing unshakable low moods. It’s the first step that can lead to a healthier you.
* If you are feeling suicidal visit suicide.org to find a helpline in your country.