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People will feel sad from time to time and many get over it within a day or two. Yet, those who have depression will find it much more difficult to move past feelings of sadness, guilt, agitation and hopelessness. Those with depression face a variety of symptoms and emotions which can consume their life.

Depression is a mental health illness that has varying levels of intensity and manifestations. The different forms of depression can have unique effects on a person and those in their life. Those with depression may avoid social activity with family and friends. In many cases, depression will cause them to lash out at loved ones or hurt them emotionally.

There is no single treatment method for depression and it is important to be properly diagnosed before treatment. Many feel alone when struggling with depression and they do not have to be. Depression is an illness with treatment available to those who seek it.

Symptoms

Symptoms of depression may vary according to what type of depression a person is dealing with. Some of the common symptoms of depression include

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Episodes of profound sadness
  • Feelings of despair and helplessness
  • Poor concentration
  • Weight fluctuation and changes in diet
  • Anhedonia: occurs when previously enjoyable activities have lost all stimuli
  • Suicidal thoughts

Besides the type of depression, there are other factors that can also affect what symptoms a person with depression exhibits such as age and gender. Teenagers with a depressive illness may show more anger and anxiety than adults; whereas younger children feel hopelessness and sadness. Similarly, depression is common among women, more so than in men. The National Institute on Mental Health has found that the physiological, biological, life cycle and hormonal factors contribute to why women are more susceptible to feelings of sadness, worthlessness and strong guilt. They have also found that men are more likely to experience fatigue, irritability and loss of pleasure in once-loved activities.

Forms of Depression

Depression isn’t just one blanket disorder. It can take on many different forms. Some forms of depression can include the following:

Major depression: characterized by anhedonia, weight changes, fatigue etc. Symptoms of major depression are diagnosed if the individual has them on most days for two weeks or longer

Persistent depressive disorder: Normally last for two years or longer. Also known as dysthymia, this form of depression causes fatigue, low self-esteem, trouble concentration and hopelessness

Bipolar disorder: Also called manic depression, bipolar depression causes a person to experience mood episoders that will range from highs of extreme energy to lows with depressive moods

Psychotic depression: Psychotic depression is characterized by the presence of psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions and paranoia

Some of these forms can completely control a person’s life. They will have intense episodes of sadness that interfere with work, school, study, sleep, eat and social activities. They can also experience a rollercoaster of emotions from depression to intense happiness or bouts of rage. Sometimes, the period of depression can continue for several months to a few years.

Causes

Depression is usually caused by genetic, biological, psychological or environmental factors. In some cases, depression could be an effect of one or more of these causes. Any form of depression is a mental illness that affects the areas of the brain in control of eating, sleeping, behavior and mood.

Depression can be caused by genetics or it can be a factor of an emotional environment. Depression can be brought on by having gone through a recent trauma or loss of a loved one. In other cases, it may be difficult to find a single cause for the depression. Some medications can also lead to depression such as sleeping pills.

In other cases, substance abuse can be a cause or factor of depression. Those who are depressed may turn to a substance for comfort and in other cases the abuse of alcohol or illicit substances can be the cause of the mental illness’ development.

Getting help for depression

There is no single form of treatment for depression. In many cases, treatment for a depressive disorder will involve a mix of medication and therapy. Treatment is unique for each individual, depending on who they are and the form of depression they have.

Whatever the type or cause, depression should not be ignored. If you or your loved one is dealing with depression please call the Depression Treatment Helpline of Colorado. We will connect you with a treatment provider who can help you with your exact situation. For more information on treatment for depression see our treatment options page or call the Depression Treatment Helpline of Colorado.