Depression affects millions of people worldwide. Here are the signs and symptoms

Depression is by far the most common mental disorder in the United States. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that over 16 million adults are struggling, or have struggled, with depression in the United States.

The Symptoms

The fact that depression affects so many doesn’t make it any easier to overcome. Its symptoms can significantly alter a person’s mood, personality and physical health.

  • Sadness, anxiety and emotional emptiness
  • Apathy and hopelessness
  • Anger and irritability
  • Intense guilt and shame
  • Insomnia or general lack of energy
  • Indecision and recklessness
  • Difficulty concentrating or lack of motivation
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Thoughts of self harm, including suicide

Sufferers may experience a single symptom, or a combination. In order to be officially diagnosed, symptoms must persist for at least two weeks.

Types of Depression

There are several types of depression, each with their own definition and preferred treatments:

Persistent Depressive Disorder  –  This is a chronic case of depression that lasts more than two years. Symptoms may cycle in severity, but are always present in some form when a person is suffering from persistent depressive disorder.

Perinatal Depression  –  Women who are pregnant, or who have recently given birth, may experience this form or depression. Also referred to as postpartum depression when the symptoms occur after delivery, perinatal depression causes extreme anxiety and  exhaustion in new mothers.

Psychotic Depression  –  Severe depression coupled with psychotic behaviors such as delusions or hallucinations is referred to as psychotic depression.

Seasonal Affective Disorder  –  Seasonal Affective Disorder is defined as depression that is brought on by the onset of the winter months.

Treatments

Depression is always treatable. Even if a case is too severe to be fully cured, symptoms can be controlled and behaviors can be moderated.

Effective treatment options include therapy, lifestyle changes and antidepressant medications. Newer techniques like brain stimulation, including transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) are are growing in popularity, having shown to be effective in recent years.

Still, as the number of depression diagnoses increases, the need for better options persists. This is why clinical trials, which test investigational therapies for disorders like depression before they become available to the public, are so important. If you are interested in learning for about our clinical trials, please visit the link below. Your participation could make all the difference.