In our current age, it’s hard to imagine someone who hasn’t experienced some sort of depressed mood in their life. However, a true episode of depressive disorder is a complicated experience to understand and explain. In today’s blog, we will break down what depression is and how it can be treated:
Depression is the persistent state of feeling down or sad. According to the DSM, a depressive episode lasts at least two weeks, and is the state of feeling down, depressed, or hopeless, plus a list of accompanying features including loss of interest, fatigue/low energy, changes in sleep, changes in appetite, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, changes in concentration, isolation, and sometimes suicidal thoughts. It’s more than just being sad, and it’s more than just a passing feeling or a bad day.
Different people experience depression in different ways. Some people are more withdrawn and apathetic. Others get irritable and angry (especially kids). People can be slowed down, moving as if in a haze. Others are restless and full of irritable energy. Sometimes there’s an event or trigger that sets off the depression. Other times it comes out of nowhere.
We still haven’t fully figured out what causes depression. Is it a chemical imbalance? Too little serotonin? Or is it a genetic condition? Are there neurobiological changes? The research is ongoing. What we do know is that depression is a serious medical condition that needs treatment.
Treatment often includes a combination of therapy, medication management, and lifestyle changes. Proper nutrition, sleep schedule, and structure within the day are all part of the treatment as well. A good social support group is crucial to healing.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, reach out to Saha Psychiatry and get an appointment with Dr. Shaban!