Find a happier future at Serene Behavioral Health.
What is a Depressive Disorder?
Having periods of sadness is a normal part of life, but if your mood remains low for months, you may be suffering from a depressive disorder. Depression is defined as persistent sadness, hopelessness, and anhedonia: a loss of interest in activities you once loved. In addition to these psychological struggles, people with depressive disorders may also experience physical symptoms such as a decrease in energy or appetite.
The difference between experiencing sadness and exhibiting symptoms of depression is found in the source of your emotions. Sadness is usually the result of a life event and is a normal human emotion. Losing a job or ending a relationship often bring sadness, but depression is persistent regardless of circumstances. Those who are suffering from a depressive disorder are unable to function successfully and struggle with motivation to complete basic life tasks. Depression sabotages your motivation, eating habits, sleeping schedule, and self-concept.
To determine if you are experiencing a normal period of sadness or exhibiting symptoms of depression, a good starting point is becoming knowledgeable about the diagnostic criteria for depressive disorders.
Common Symptoms of Depression
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) outlines these criteria as necessary for a diagnosis of depression. At least five of these symptoms must be present for a minimum of two weeks, and individuals must exhibit one of the starred items below:
- Depressed mood for a majority of the time, every day*
- Loss of interest, pleasure associated with activities*
- Significant changes to weight, appetite, and sleeping habits
- Moving less, and when you do, it’s noticeably slower than normal
- Feeling fatigued and lacking energy
- Excessive guilt
- Feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness
- Inability to make decisions, concentrate, or think
- Thoughts or plans of suicide
There are other signs that you may be dealing with depression that are not included in the list above. For example, many depressed individuals complain of aches and pains that begin without physical cause. They’re likely to be irritable and self-isolate. If you have depression, you may also be prone to all-encompassing episodes of rumination: a time where you obsessively reflect on past events, especially negative ones.
Depending on your symptoms, you may receive a modifier along with your depression diagnosis. These include “melancholic features” (severe anhedonia), “atypical features” (able to be cheered, increased appetite, and heaviness), “psychotic features” (delusions or hallucinations), “catatonia” (depression that affects body movement), “peripartum onset” (associated with pregnancy), and “seasonal pattern” (related to changes in the seasons).
Additionally, the DSM-5 has added two specifiers to the diagnosis of depression: “with mixed features” (the presence of mild manic features that do not reach the threshold of bipolar disorder) and “with anxious distress” (those with co-occurring anxiety).
Types of Depressive Disorders and Other Sources of Depression
The DSM-5 categorizes depressive disorders based on the symptoms you are exhibiting. It’s important to obtain a proper and specific diagnosis from a medical or mental health professional before depression treatment begins.
DSM-5 Types of Depressive Disorders:
- Major Depressive Disorder
- Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder
- Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
- Substance- or Medication-Induced Depression
- Other medical conditions, including thyroid issues
Other Conditions Linked to Depression:
- Bipolar I and II Disorders
- Sleep disorders
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
If you are concerned about potential sources of or alternative diagnoses for your depressive symptoms, you should consult with a medical or mental health professional.
Depression is treatable.
Treatment for Depression
Developing any mental illness can be distressing, but depression is especially debilitating, since it impacts your motivation and ability to enjoy daily life. If the symptoms above feel familiar, know that treatment is available, and Serene Behavioral Health provides proven, evidence-based treatment options.
Depression treatment addresses the chemical and psychological components of mental health. First, you will meet with a counselor who will assess your symptoms. This evaluation is fully confidential and will serve as a starting point for your sessions. If you require medication (such as an SSRI or SNRI), a private physician or our prescribing medical staff can assist you prior to admission. The Serene Behavioral Health staff will store and administer your medication.
We offer a variety of therapies for depression. Our most popular modality is cognitive-behavioral therapy: a model that empowers clients to foster a more positive attitude by changing their thoughts. We also offer in-depth trauma treatment, dialectical behavioral therapy, and motivational therapy. Using a blend of these approaches, our clinicians can empower you to change your circumstances for the better.
Group therapy is also a powerful piece of our process. Many of our clients report that talking about their depression in a group setting was incredibly liberating. The connections made in group therapy help our clients to overcome the isolating nature of mental illness and helps create a lasting support network for those struggling with mental illness.
It’s Time to Get Better
If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, you’re not alone. Many people assume their persistent lack of energy and low mood are normal parts of everyday life, but there is hope in treatment for depression. Serene Behavioral Health helps you to discover a new life full of promise and excitement. Contact us to learn more about our approach to mental health care.