Depressive disorders are a range of mood disorders that are characterized by persistent and intense sadness, feelings of worthlessness, and the inability to seek pleasure for extended periods.
Depression is not a period of the blues or sadness but rather a mental health disorder that significantly interferes with daily functioning. It not only disrupts relationships and sleep patterns, but it also disrupts the way an individual’s brain processes information, emotions, and complex problems.
According to the National Institutes of Health, each year, more than 16 million adults in the United States experience at least one episode of major depression. The likelihood that a person will develop depression at some point in life is approximately 10 percent.
Signs and Symptoms
- Feelings of sadness & irritability most of the day, nearly every day
- Loss of interest in most activities once enjoyed
- Weight loss or gain or changes in appetite
- Trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or want to sleep more than usual
- Feelings of restlessness, experiencing tremors or meaningless movements
- Feeling unusually tired and a lack of energy
- Feeling of worthlessness or guilt
- Difficulty in concentrating, thinking, or making decisions
- Thoughts of harming oneself or committing suicide
Depressive Disorder Treatment Plan
The goal of AKUA’s psychotherapy approach is to recognize any underlying triggers associated with depression and to develop positive coping skills to avoid and overcome depressive symptoms. Other goals of psychotherapy include learning to adjust to a crisis or stressful situation, improving communication and interpersonal relationships, replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts, improving self-esteem, and regaining a sense of satisfaction and control. The following are common types of psychotherapy used to help treat symptoms of depression:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Interpersonal therapy
- Problem-solving therapy
- Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
Daily lifestyle changes that are known to improve mood include eating a balanced diet, adopting a healthy sleep regimen, avoiding alcohol and other substances, and moving your body.
Treating Depression at Akua Mind and Body
AKUA Mind and Body is a full-service treatment program that offers a wide range of “east meets west” treatment modalities for many different populations struggling with anxiety and other mental health and substance use disorders. We offer both intensive inpatient programs as well as outpatient treatment. AKUA Mind & Body works diligently with each client and their family to ensure that their depressive disorder treatment plan is specifically tailored to their needs, and not just their disorder.
Various types of Depression
- Major depressive disorder (clinical depression)
- Persistent depressive disorder
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
- Psychotic depression
- Postpartum depression
- Seasonal affective disorder
Clinical depression, formally referred to as major depressive disorder, is the most common type of depression and one of the most common mental health disorders in the United States.
To be diagnosed with clinical depression, you must exhibit five or more of the above symptoms and experience them once a day for more than two weeks. Women are more prone to clinical depression compared to men. Major depressive disorder can be triggered by substance use disorders, certain medical conditions include low thyroid and cancer, and certain medications, specifically long-term steroids.
Seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a type of depression that is associated with seasons, particularly late fall and the entire winter seasons. Shorter days, colder temperatures and less exposure to light have shown to change our sleep/wake patterns and throw off our “internal clocks” affecting our levels of melatonin, serotonin, and vitamin D.
Individuals with seasonal depression must meet the criteria for major depressive disorder with symptoms coinciding with the specific seasons and lasting for at least two years.
Individuals who live further from the Equator are more at risk for developing seasonal depression compared to individuals who live closer to the Equator. One percent of individuals who live in Florida have SAD, whereas nine percent of individuals who live in Alaska have SAD. Females are more at risk of developing SAD compared to males, and individuals who have a history of depression or bipolar disorder are also at an increased risk for developing SAD.