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Depression may feel overwhelming and isolating. For individuals experiencing depression, it may seem as if everyone else is “normal” while they struggle with complicated feelings. When depression feels normal, it can be hard to distinguish between feeling sad and being clinically depressed. However, you are not alone in seeking depression self help or counseling.
Depression is common, affecting nearly 1 in 10 adults in the US in 2022.
Although common signs and symptoms may help you determine if you have depression, there are many types of diagnosable depression, and everyone’s experience may differ but consulting a depression doctor can help you better understand your unique experience.
This variance in treatment options may make finding how to deal with depression challenging for some. However, with the right tools and support from a mental health professional, you may be able to manage depression and its symptoms effectively.
Is Depression Treatable?
Depression is considered manageable with a wide variety of methods. One of the most effective methods is considered to be a combination of regular psychotherapy sessions and anti-depressant medications. Consider keeping an open mind and communicating with your doctor or mental health professional to determine the best strategy for your situation.
Like with many mental health conditions, symptoms of depression may worsen if left untreated. These symptoms can range from feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and baseless guilt to experiencing sleeplessness or difficulty concentrating. Untreated depression can also lead to potentially dangerous symptoms such as high-risk behaviors and self-harm. Therefore, consider seeing a mental health professional as soon as possible if you’re experiencing depression symptoms.
Types Of Depression
There are many types of depression, and it may be helpful to know about them when trying to determine whether you have a diagnosable form of depression.
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
The most common type of depression is major depressive disorder (MDD), also known as clinical depression. Adults with MDD often experience intense symptoms lasting longer than two weeks that interfere with daily life. Symptoms may include:
Lasting feelings of sadness
Feeling worthless or hopeless
Sleeping often or not enough
Changes in schedule and routine
Changes in diet, struggling to eat a healthy diet
Difficulty socializing with family members and friends due to lack of energy or sad emotions
Feeling isolated or alone
Struggling with hygiene or self-care
For those concerned about MDD, seeking counseling, participating in support groups, or attending family therapy sessions can be beneficial. Identifying the signs of mental illness early and engaging in self-help activities can aid in the recovery process, promoting a healthy lifestyle free from alcohol and drugs.
Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)
Also known as dysthymia, persistent depressive disorder is another common form of depression. Symptoms of PDD are often less severe than major depression, but they may last for two or more years.
Bipolar depression may be marked by periods of “low moods,” where an individual has intense feelings of sadness and lacks energy, at times alternating with excessively high-energy periods called “mania.” This type of depression is often diagnosed alongside bipolar disorder (type one or two).
Individuals with psychotic depression may experience symptoms of depression accompanied by delusions characterized by beliefs that are not based on reality. Psychotic depression symptoms may also include sensory hallucinations, where a patient may see or hear things that aren’t there.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Also called seasonal depression, seasonal affective disorder often begins in the fall or winter and may end during the spring or summer. It may consist of symptoms of depression brought on by the weather. A lack of sunlight may be the cause of this condition. However, some individuals experience seasonal depression during sunny or hot months as well.
Perinatal Depression (Post-Partum Depression)
Most often known as post-partum depression, perinatal depression may begin during pregnancy or a year or more after birth. This type of depression may be experienced by birth parents, adoptive parents, and fathers. It is not limited to gender or parental experience.
Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder is a severe form of PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome). This condition may impact individuals during the days or weeks leading up to their menstrual period. For example, someone may experience depression and other distressing symptoms two and a half weeks before their period.
Talk therapy (psychotherapy) often involves discussing symptoms, feelings, and related experiences with a mental health professional to treat depression or other mental health issues. Talk therapy could be defined by many different therapy techniques, including the following.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive-behavioral therapy often works to recognize and change the thoughts, beliefs, and resulting behaviors associated with mental health issues like depression. CBT is often used to help develop strategies for the patient to use in daily life for coping with their symptoms.
Interpersonal therapy often addresses issues around relationships that may contribute to depression. These may include the loss of a loved one, the ending of a romantic relationship, or interpersonal conflicts (relationship issues).
Problem-solving therapy is a potential depression treatment that may help you learn to cope better with difficult, stressful, or tragic life events. This technique often involves creating a step-by-step process for realistically dealing with depression which is a challenging situation.
How To Choose The Right Treatment For You
Choosing the right depression therapy for you may come down to factors related to your unique situation. For instance, traditional therapy might be effective in helping you improve your symptoms of depression. Online counseling for depression may be more comfortable, affordable, or doable with your life circumstances or needs.
Studies show that the results of online therapy are positive for most individuals who try it. Online therapy may be a valuable option if you struggle to leave home, can’t afford traditional therapy, or want to try a new treatment method. Many individuals who try this form reach out to a counselor on online counseling for depression platforms such as BetterHelp, which matches you to a therapist specializing in your area of concern.
If you think you may have depression and want to know how to treat it, connecting with a mental healthcare provider is one step towards managing it. You may also choose to try a coping skill listed above. If you’re ready to try therapy, consider reaching out to a counselor for support.
Frequently Asked Questions
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