According to the ADAA, over 14 million Americans suffer from depression every year. Statistics show that women are twice as likely as men to suffer from the disease but it is possible that it is underreported by men. At Cady Wellness Institute in Newburgh, IN, we believe men should have the courage to overcome perceived stigma and seek depression help when necessary.
Today, we’re talking about what happens during a depressive episode so you can recognize one in yourself or a loved one. Specifically, we are discussing the warning signs of major depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder, and seasonal affective disorder. Depressive episodes are not to be taken lightly; if you notice warning signs in a loved one, encourage them to seek help. You may just save a life.
What Happens During Depression?
Depression is a mentally debilitating disease that affects everyone in different ways. The symptoms of the disease can even change over time, causing unintended weight gain in one individual one year and causing unintended weight loss in the same individual another year. Here’s a closer look at the symptoms of the three most common types of depressive disorders.
The Most Common Characteristics of Major Depressive Disorder
There are many symptoms associated with major depressive disorder. Most commonly, this condition can affect an individual’s mood, behavior, sleep, physical body, cognition and weight. Here’s a closer look at how the disease may affect each aspect of someone’s life.
Major depressive disorder most commonly affects the mood of an individual suffering from the disease. The most common changes in mood people with major depressive disorder experience are apathy, general discontent, hopelessness and sadness. However, other mood shifts can occur, including guilt and anxiety.
There are several ways major depressive disorder can affect your behavior. Most commonly, this disorder leads to excessive crying and social isolation. However, it can also lead to agitation, irritability and restlessness. It is important to note that you may experience all five of these changes in behavior throughout a given week or you may experience a couple one year and others the next year.
We take into account all symptoms to diagnose you accurately so we can develop the most effective treatment plan for you. If you think you suffer from a depressive disorder, keep a journal of your symptoms if you can. This will be of immense help when you come in for a diagnosis.
The two most common ways major depressive disorder affects your sleep are excess sleepiness and restless sleep. However, people with this condition may also find that they suffer from insomnia, struggling to fall asleep, waking up repeatedly throughout the night and waking up early in the morning. If you find yourself sleeping more poorly than you did in the past, you may suffer from a depressive disorder.
There are also several ways major depressive disorder affects your physical body. Besides the physical side effects of insomnia and chronic sleep deprivation, major depressive disorder can cause fatigue and excessive hunger or loss of appetite. We will explore this in further depth in a minute.
Many of the symptoms associated with major depressive disorder are also symptoms of persistent depressive disorder. Therefore, diagnosing the type of depressive disorder an individual suffers from is sometimes difficult. However, suicidal ideation is unique to major depressive disorder. Considering your mortality is normal and not something to worry about.
What you should seek immediate help for is having a detailed plan of how, when and where you will end your life. Only 5 to 8% of people who attempt suicide are successful. The 92 to 95% of unsuccessful attempts have damaging consequences, from the financial consequences of being put into a psych ward if you are caught to permanent damage to your body. Things may feel hopeless now but suicide is not the solution to your problems.
The final sign that you suffer from a depressive disease is an unintended significant shift in your weight. As stated previously, a depressive disorder can cause a seemingly insatiable appetite or a complete lack of appetite. Both of these symptoms are dangerous. If you put on an unhealthy amount of weight because your sadness makes you hungry or your insomnia throws your hormones out of balance, you increase your risk of serious medical conditions.
Similarly, if you stop eating because you have no appetite and only want to sleep all the time, you may find yourself underweight. This leads to its own risk of medical conditions. For example, when you don’t consume enough nutrients because you’re barely eating at all, you may develop osteoporosis or other bone disorders. Furthermore, your immune system weakens and you are more susceptible to illnesses. Finally, a lack of nutrients may exacerbate your disease.
The Most Common Characteristics of Persistent Depressive Disorder
Formerly known as dysthymia, people who suffer from persistent depressive disorder (PDD) may find their mood, sleep and cognition affected, among other symptoms. Here is a closer look at some of the symptoms you may have that indicate you suffer from PDD.
Most commonly, people with persistent depressive disorder find that they experience sadness, anger and guilt. However, they may also experience frequent feelings of hopelessness, discontent with life in general and a loss of interest in things that used to bring them joy. These symptoms are fairly similar to the symptoms of MDD so it is important to evaluate other symptoms you have to determine if you probably have this disease.
There are a couple of ways that persistent depressive disorder can affect your sleep. Most commonly, this form of depressive period leads to excessive sleepiness. Some people sleep through their alarms, arriving late for work and crawl into bed shortly after they come home. Other people who suffer from this disease suffer from insomnia. Unfortunately, even if you can’t get your mind to quiet enough to fall asleep, your body will eventually shut down. People with insomnia
People with persistent depressive disorder often find that they can’t concentrate. This can cause difficulties at work, particularly if the same mistakes are made repeatedly. A supervisor may think he or she does not care about accuracy, disciplining the individual many times over. This may even put the job in jeopardy. PDD may also cause slowness in activity. If you struggle with deadlines at work or in your personal life, you may need PDD treatment to function.
Like its effect on sleep, PDD can affect the body in many ways. Some people with PDD may feel hungry nearly all the time, increasing their body weight by 5% in a month. Others may rarely have an appetite and lose a significant amount of weight because they don’t have the motivation to make themselves eat.
People with PDD may also find themselves fatigued. This can also affect work performance and may put a job in jeopardy. If you have PDD and get it diagnosed, you can be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. With this protection, the scope of your work will be modified to accommodate your disability until you can find an effective treatment for your disease.
The Most Common Characteristics of Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal affective disorder is a depressive disorder that occurs seasonally. While persistent depressive disorder is a constant burden, people only suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) during the winter when there is less sunlight every day. Similar to other types of depressive disorders, the exact causes of SAD are unknown. However, medication, talk therapy and phototherapy can help treat the condition until the days lengthen once more.
The most common characteristics of SAD are fatigue, hopelessness and social withdrawal. Although it may feel futile, we strongly recommend that you reach out to friends for emotional support. Your true friends will pick up the phone and talk to you. We also recommend journaling about things you’re grateful for when you’re feeling hopeless. Just because one situation feels hopeless doesn’t mean that everything in your life is hopeless.
The Importance of Sunlight During the Winter
While phototherapy is an effective treatment for seasonal affective disorder, we cannot stress enough the importance of spending as much time as you can in the sunlight. While you can get vitamin D3 through a healthy diet and nutritional supplements, the vitamin D3 you get from the sun’s UVB rays is much more bioavailable.
This is important because vitamin D3 plays several critical roles in your brain’s receptors. A deficiency in this essential micronutrient can lead to a depressive episode, suicidal ideation, brain fog, difficulty forming short-term memories and more. While getting this vitamin from the sun may not treat your SAD completely, it may ease your symptoms more than you dared to hope.
Why You Should Seek Help for a Depressive Disorder
The most compelling reason that you should seek depression help is that nobody deserves to struggle through life like people with mood disorders struggle. With a vast array of treatment options to choose from, there is a method that will work for you. It may take several months to find the appropriate medication and dose for your needs but if you trust the process and take your medicine as instructed, you can find something that works for you.
Why You Should Encourage a Loved One To Seek Help for a Depressive Disorder
You should encourage your loved ones to seek depression help because major depressive disorder often leads to suicide. In 2018, suicide was the fourth leading cause of death in America, behind heart disease, malignant neoplasms, chronic lower respiratory disease and accidental drug overdoses. It claimed 102.3 lives for every million Americans aged five and up.
However, these statistics only begin to explain the effect of depressive disorders and suicide on our society. Approximately 60% of people who commit suicide suffer from a depressive disorder and 1.4 million people attempted suicide in 2018. In other words, roughly 840,000 people with a depressive disorder attempted suicide compared to only 560,000 people who attempted suicide who were not experiencing a depressive episode.
Learn How You Can Get Depression Help Today
Depression affects everyone uniquely but it always makes life difficult. It can even make life feel so hopeless that nearly a million people with a depressive disorder attempt suicide every year and over 18,000 succeed. However, there is hope. Contact the mental health experts at Cady Wellness Institute in Newburgh, IN today to schedule an appointment and learn how we can help you restore your quality of life.