Depression is defined as a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person’s behavior, thoughts, feelings and sense of well-being. It causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Depression is also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, and it affects how you feel, think and behave. It can even lead to a variety of physical problems. It should be known that depression isn’t just having the “blues.” It isn’t a weakness and isn’t something that can just go away on its own.

How Many People Suffer From Depression?

Depression affects more than 15-million American adults, or roughly 6.7 percent of the United States population who are 18 and older, in a given year. While depression can develop at any age, on average it develops in 32-year-olds. Women typically experience depression more than men. While the reasons as to why are still unclear, the hormonal changes, lifestyle changes and responsibilities women face may be connected with depression.

Symptoms and Signs of Depression

Depression may occur only one time during your life, but typically people have multiple episodes of depression. During one of these episodes, symptoms occur most of the day and nearly every day. These symptoms may include:

– Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness

– Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration

– Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports

– Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much

– Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort

– Changes in appetite –– often reduced appetite and weight loss but increased cravings for food and weight gain occur in some instances

– Anxiety, agitation or restlessness

– Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements

– Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that aren’t your responsibility

– Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things

– Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide

– Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

Many people who suffer from depression have symptoms so severe that it causes a noticeable change in their day-to-day lives. Some people feel unhappy and miserable throughout the day without really knowing why.

Types of Depression

There are three major types of depression. People may suffer from major depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder and bipolar disorder.

Major Depressive Disorder: Major depression involves five of the depression systems (listed above) for a two-week period or more. An episode will interfere and disable a person to work, study, eat and sleep. Major depressive episodes can occur once or twice in a lifetime or they can recur frequently throughout a person’s life. Major depressive symptoms and episodes may also take place simultaneously, during or after the death of a loved one, a romantic relationship breakup, a medical illness or another life event.

Persistent Depressive Disorder (PPD): Persistent depressive disorder is a form of depression that continues for roughly two years. It’s less severe than major depressive disorder, but it involves the same symptoms as depression. Someone who suffers from PPD may have low energy, poor appetite or overeating and insomnia or oversleeping. PPD can manifest as stress, irritability and mild anhedonia (the inability to derive pleasure from most activities).

Bipolar Disorder: Once called manic depression, bipolar disorder is when someone experiences a mood cycle that goes from severe highs (mania) or mild highs (hypomania) to severe lows (depression).

During the manic phase, a person may experience abnormal or excessive elation, irritability, a decreased need for sleep, overambitious notions, increased talking, racing thoughts, increased sexual desire, markedly increased energy, poor judgement and inappropriate social behavior.

During the depressive phase, a person may experience the same symptoms as a person who suffers from major depression. Mood swings from manic to depressive are typically gradual but they can occur abruptly.

Lifestyle and Home Remedy Treatments

Depression isn’t typically a disorder that you can treat on your own. But in addition to professional and medicinal help and treatment, these are a few self-care suggestions:

– Don’t skip out on your treatment plan: Don’t skip sessions or appointments with your doctor or therapist. Don’t skip your medications either, even if you’re feeling well.

– Educate yourself about depression: Educate yourself on your condition. It can empower and motivate you to stick with your treatment plan, regardless of the obstacles. Encourage your family to learn about your depression so they can better understand and help you.

– Take notice of warning signs: Discuss with your doctor and therapist what might trigger your depression. Make a plan about what to do if your symptoms get worse. Don’t hesitate to contact your doctor or therapist if you notice any changes in your symptoms or how you feel.

– Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs: It may seem like alcohol and drugs lessen depression symptoms, but in the long run they typically worsen symptoms and can make depression harder to treat.

– Take care of yourself: Eat healthy, be physically active and get plenty of sleep. Walking, jogging, swimming, gardening, or any other activity you enjoy are a few ways to get active. Sleeping is vital to your physical and mental well-being. Contact your doctor if you’re having trouble sleeping.

Depression Treatment and Options In Clearwater and Tampa, Florida

At All Care, we understand that depression does not have a one-size-fits-all solution. We hope to work together to find meaningful and effective treatments to your depression. If you or someone you know is suffering from mild or severe depression, please don’t hesitate to call us or schedule an appointment. We are here to help.