Websites run by organizations like the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) provide copious background information as well as updates on clinical trials. Grassroots groups like the National Alliance on Mental Illness connect you with support and services, offer education, and let you know that you are not alone. Personal blogs share the struggle and the wisdom of lived experience. And numerous online depression tests can help those who aren’t sure whether or not they need help get started on the pathway to a healthier life.
It is important to remember that many of these symptoms can occur with illnesses such as brain injury or stroke or even less serious problems like a cold or flu, but may not indicate depression. Even if you have trouble sleeping, lack of appetite and problems concentrating, there is no reason to be concerned about a separate mental health condition unless you also feel sad most of the time or rarely find enjoyment in life.
^ Schuch FB, Vancampfort D, Firth J, Rosenbaum S, Ward PB, Silva ES, Hallgren M, Ponce De Leon A, Dunn AL, Deslandes AC, Fleck MP, Carvalho AF, Stubbs B (July 2018). "Physical Activity and Incident Depression: A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies". The American Journal of Psychiatry. 175 (7): 631–648. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2018.17111194. PMID 29690792.
Therapists and physicians generally attempt to treat antenatal depression with non-medication methods first, as there is evidence that antidepressants may pose a risk to fetuses. For women with severe antenatal depression, however, antidepressants may be essential. Women need to educate themselves and work with their physicians to balance the risks and the benefits to both themselves and their infants.

Bipolar Disorder: Formerly known as Manic Depression or Manic Depressive Disorder. While different from depression, bipolar disorder is often included in discussions around depressive disorders as it involves episodes of extreme lows similar to major depression. Someone with bipolar disorder, however, will swing in the opposite direction towards mania or extreme highs.

Can depression actually be successfully treated? The short answer is yes. According to the National Institute of Mental Health and countless research studies over the past six decades, clinical depression is readily treated with short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy and modern antidepressant medications. For most people, a combination of the two works best and is usually what is recommended. Psychotherapy approaches scientifically proven to work with depression include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy, and psychodynamic therapy (Gelenberg et al., 2010). Psychotherapy is one of the most effective treatments for all types of depression and has very few side effects (and is a covered treatment by all insurers).
A type of mild to severe depression that typically sets in as the hours of daylight wane in the fall, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) afflicts as many as 6 percent of Americans. Women are particularly at risk, experiencing SAD four times more often than men, as are people who have a relative with depression. People who live far from the equator tend to experience SAD in greater numbers — 9 percent of Alaskans versus 1 percent of Floridians, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
Antidepressant medications are not habit-forming, so there need not be concern about that. However, as is the case with any type of medication prescribed for more than a few days, physicians must carefully monitor antidepressant use to ensure that the patient is getting the correct dosage. The doctor will want to check the dosage and its effectiveness regularly.
Another potential complication is that chronic high-functioning anxiety and depression can lead to a variety of other medical and mental health issues when left untreated. Research has shown a correlation between mental health disorder and chronic illness. Evidence points toward changes in the way certain body systems function when mental health disorders are present. Some changes include fluctuations in heart rate and circulation, increased inflammation in the body, metabolic changes, and irregularities with stress hormones. There are also increased risks of diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and substance abuse. Getting treatment quickly can help prevent high-functioning anxiety and depression from getting worse, or developing into additional medical and mental health issues.
McLean Hospital offers comprehensive mental health services to help children and adults living with mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. We utilize evidence-based treatment and therapy models informed by cutting-edge research conducted at McLean and around the world. By incorporating various approaches, treatment can be customized for each individual to help ensure recovery.
Certain medications used for a variety of medical conditions are more likely than others to cause depression as a side effect. Specifically, some medications that treat high blood pressure, cancer, seizures, extreme pain, and to achieve contraception can result in depression. Even some psychiatric medications, like some sleep aids and medications to treat alcoholism and anxiety, can contribute to the development of depression.
Another type of depression is bipolar disorder, which encompasses a group of mood disorders formerly called manic-depressive illness or manic depression. These conditions often show a particular pattern of inheritance. Not nearly as common as the other types of depressive illnesses, bipolar disorders involve cycles of mood that include at least one episode of mania or hypomania and may include episodes of depression, as well. Bipolar disorders are often chronic and recurring. Sometimes, the mood switches are dramatic and rapid, but most often they are gradual, in that they usually take place over several days, weeks, or longer.
Depression can affect anybody; young or old, rich or poor, man or woman. While depression can affect anyone, at anytime, it does seem to strike most often when a person is going through changes. Changes can be negative life changes such as the loss of a loved one or a job, regular life changes such as starting university or a big move, or physical changes such as hormonal changes or the onset of an illness. Because depression can be linked to change, certain groups of people are at risk more often than others:

But with all three of these treatments, there is the promise of alternative medications to treat depression that might help people feel better — sometimes faster — and hopefully with fewer troubling side effects. No one treatment is right for everyone (that’s why we made our iPhone app called Start, to help people figure out if their antidepressant works), so better research into safe alternatives is important.
Much work remains to help determine the best treatment options for different types of patients. We also need to better understand the impact that treating depression and anxiety has on headache. Remember, it is extremely important to obtain best treatment for each disorder: the depression or anxiety and the headache disorder. Safe and effective drug and behavioral therapies are available, so talk with your provider about any symptoms that you have.
Depressive signs and symptoms not only include negative thoughts, moods, and behaviors but also by specific changes in bodily functions (for example, excessive crying spells, body aches, low energy or libido, as well as problems with eating, weight, or sleeping). Neurovegetative signs are the changes in functioning associated with clinical depression. This means that the nervous system changes in the brain are thought to cause many physical symptoms that result in a decreased or increased activity level and other problems with functioning.

If you have have experienced depression and bipolar disorder, you will be able to track your progress, share information, ask questions, and evaluate your treatments. How? Become a participant in the MoodNetwork. Participants will also be contributing to the largest pool of data ever collected about mood disorders, which will lead to evaluating treatments and helping to set priorities for future research studies.
Panic Disorder is when a person has panic attacks. These are intense feelings of anxiety along with the kind of physical symptoms and overwhelming sensations you would have if you were in great danger, like a pounding heart, feeling faint, sweating, shaky limbs, nausea, chest pains, breathing discomfort and feelings of losing control. The symptoms rise and peak rapidly. The effects can be so severe that people experiencing panic attacks can believe they are dying. Despite being frightening and very uncomfortable they are not life threatening. 

Adjustment Disorder with Depressed Mood is diagnosed when symptoms of depression are triggered within 3 months of onset of a stressor. The stressor usually involves a change of some kind in the life of the individual which he/she finds stressful. Sometimes the stressor can even be a positive event such as a new job, marriage, or baby which is nevertheless stressful for the individual. The distress is typically out of proportion to the expected reaction and the symptoms cause significant distress and impairment in functioning. The symptoms typically resolve within 6 months when the person begins to cope and adapt to the stressor or the stressor is removed. Treatment tends to be time limited and relatively simple since some additional support during the stressful period helps the person recover and adapt.


Antidepressants take time – usually 2 to 4 weeks – to work, and often, symptoms such as sleep, appetite, and concentration problems improve before mood lifts, so it is important to give medication a chance before reaching a conclusion about its effectiveness. If you begin taking antidepressants, do not stop taking them without the help of a doctor. Sometimes people taking antidepressants feel better and then stop taking the medication on their own, and the depression returns. When you and your doctor have decided it is time to stop the medication, usually after a course of 6 to 12 months, the doctor will help you slowly and safely decrease your dose. Stopping them abruptly can cause withdrawal symptoms.

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