How to manage depression is a concern that crosses many people’s minds. We all experience days when we feel particularly low or “down”, but some of us go through periods of feeling persistently sad for weeks or months at a time. Depression – or major depressive disorder – is a serious mental health condition that affects the way people think, feel, and act.
Despite the fact that depression is a serious and common medical condition, it is still perceived by many as being “trivial” or not a life-affecting illness. These people could not be more wrong. Depression can lead to a range of emotional and physical issues, a loss of interest in activities that were previously enjoyed, and decreased ability to perform tasks at work and at home. Essentially, it affects people’s quality of life in a severe manner.
Fortunately, with effective treatment and support, it is possible to make a full recovery from depression. If you are concerned that you or a loved one is exhibiting the signs of depression, then contact HPA/LiveWell in Albany, New York, as we can provide you with the information and support that you need.
Signs of Depression
The signs of depression tend to vary according to the specific type; therefore, how to manage depression best can differ from person to person. Having an awareness of the more common signs of depression may help you to communicate your difficulties with your doctor or medical professional.
The symptoms of depression can range from mild to severe, and typically include feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness, low affect, and loss of enjoyment in activities that were once pleasurable. Many people with depression tend to experience extreme worry or anxiety.
The symptoms of depression aren’t just mental – common physical signs include constant fatigue, insomnia, oversleeping, loss of appetite, loss of sex drive, as well as various physical aches and pains. More severe forms of depression may include suicidal thoughts or an attitude that life “isn’t worth living.”
Depression in any form can affect your home, social, and work-life. If you’re wondering about how to manage your depression at work, then our previous article on depression in the workplace might help.
Types of Depression
Clinical or Major Depression
Clinical depression means that a doctor has given you a diagnosis of depression. This form of depression is relatively common. In the U.S. alone, approximately 16.2 million adults have experienced depression . The symptoms tend to be severe and people tend to experience symptoms for most of the day, almost every day. Symptoms of clinical or major depression include despondency, gloom, over or under-sleeping, fatigue, over or under-eating, anxiety, loss of interest in enjoyable activities, feelings of worthlessness, difficulty concentrating, and suicidal ideation.
Dysthymia or Persistent Depression
Also known as “chronic depression,” this form of depression tends to last for more than two years. The symptoms of dysthymia are similar to major depression, but they might not be quite as intense.
Manic Depression/Bipolar Disorder
People with this disorder tend to experience periods of extreme highs and depressive lows. The low episodes tend to look very similar to depressive periods and share many of the same symptoms.
Depressive episodes that are accompanied by hallucinations or delusions are called “psychotic depression” or “depressive psychosis.” Hallucinations might manifest as hearing, seeing, tasting, or feeling things that are not real. Delusions involve typically believing in things that are inaccurate or untrue.
Pre- or Postnatal Depression
Antenatal (or prenatal) depression occurs during pregnancy. Postnatal depression occurs after giving birth and can affect both men and women. These forms of depression are often attributable to hormonal changes during pregnancy and childbirth, as well as a lack of sleep after having the child.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
This form of depression tends to be seasonal or occurs during certain types of weather. People with SAD typically notice a reduction in their energy, mood, and sleeping patterns when the weather turns cold (or, in some instances, warm). SAD is more common in the winter.
Other forms of depression include premenstrual syndrome, situational depression, cyclothymia, and atypical depression.
If you are wondering how to manage depression, then you might be considering the most appropriate form of treatment for your symptoms. Remember, the best form of treatment for you will depend on the form of depression that you have. However, it is important that you discuss your options with your doctor or medical professional.
Mild depression can often be helped through establishing healthier lifestyle habits, such as eating a nutrient-rich diet, exercising, and meditation. There is also a range of mental health apps that can guide people through their symptoms or episodes.
Moderate or severe depression requires a different approach to mild depression, however, as the symptoms may be more severe or well-established. If you are experiencing more severe signs of depression, then your doctor may discuss the option of medication with you as it is often necessary to get the symptoms of the illness under control.
Talking therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Psychodynamic Therapy are effective ways of gaining an understanding of the cycle of how your thoughts affect your feelings, and your feelings affect your actions. Although often present-focused, these forms of therapy help people to understand how their past has shaped how they view their current world. Through this, they can learn useful ways to overcome their persistent negative thoughts and change their outlook on their life. There is a range of different talking therapies which may suit the different forms of depression.
A combination approach to managing mental health works well for many people. This approach involves both medication and therapy to help get the more severe symptoms of depression under control, as well as aid people in understanding why they are experiencing them in the first place.
If you wish to know more about how to manage depression or the other mental health services provided at HPA/LiveWell in Albany, New York, contact us at 518-218-1188.
With our new online therapy capabilities, HPA/LiveWell can now offer mental health services to anyone within not only the Capital Region, the Hudson Valley region – Poughkeepsie, Rhinebeck, Newburgh, White Plains, Kingston, and surrounding New York cities, but we can offer mental health services and eating disorder treatment to anyone throughout New York state.