Add your Email To get the latest on new treatments
Today's Recommend Product
Stop Panic Attacks!
How to recognizing Major Depressive Disorder
What the public normally thinks of as clinical depression is more accurately named major depressive disorder (to distinguish it from depression that stems from other illnesses), yet the populace still uses the more familiar term. They're quite able to make that distinction, though, understanding that this type of depression is the kind that takes over one's life, rather than merely being a matter of "being a bit down" for awhile. With regard to clinical depression, the symptoms include physical signs like low sex drive, weight gain, sleep problems and lethargy, as well as emotional symptoms like lack of self-esteem, low concentration, negativity and sadness, or even thoughts of suicide and self-harm.
Things we tend to think of separately, like post partum depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD), are actually sub-categories of major depressive disorder. One of the distinguishing features of all the categories is that the pervasive low mood lasts for at least two weeks or even longer, and the patient experiences at least five of the typical clinical depression symptoms. That's the point where it's clear that this is more than simply being "a bit down," and therapy and treatment become necessary.
Treatments usually recommended for major depressive disorder are medication, psychotherapy, or even electroconvulsive therapy in severe cases. However, many new treatments have been put forward in recent years, some of which haven't yet gained complete legitimacy in the eyes of the public or in the estimation of physicians. One that has done so, though, is light therapy, now used to treat SAD. But other natural treatments, like the herb St. John's Wort or the Chinese practice of acupuncture, have both proponents and critics undecided.
Getting treatment of some sort, though, is crucial. Whether it's alternative, psychiatric or medical treatments, the person usually needs help to overcome or manage the illness. It is helpful if they can find a therapist who can make a thorough assessment of potential physical causes (genetic tendencies, or some other disease throwing the system out of balance), emotional triggers like bereavement, or a past history of trauma. When everything from alcohol to lack of sunlight to prior sexual abuse can swirl around the major depressive disorder, the sufferer is most fortunate if their doctor is part therapist and part sleuth, and can discover the right causes and recommend the right treatments.
Related topics about major depressive disorder
Manic Depressive Disorder
The illness known as manic depressive disorder is more a collection of similar and related illnesses, mostly characterized by swings between greatly elevated moods (the "manic" side) and severely depressed ones. Because the manifestations of the disorder can vary a lot (for example, rapid cycling between moods versus slower), it's very challenging to find the best and most effective treatments. One of the best ways to start working on treatment is probably to find a depression treatment center and a therapist who is very knowledgeable about the illness.
It's only been in recent years that the psychiatric profession has even recognized that there could be bipolar children. The accepted wisdom was always that bipolar disorder, or manic depression, only developed in adults. This was despite evidence from early researchers that some adult symptoms had in fact emerged before they were ten years old.
Many people confuse depression treatment with menopause treatment, but they are not the same things, even if they address some similar symptoms. The mood alterations during menopause and peri-menopause stem normally from fluctuations in hormones, and rather than requiring depression therapy, these can often be alleviated with diet or hormone therapy. This means that drug products that might normally be prescribed for depression might bypass the root cause of the problem even while bringing some measure of relief.