Online Therapy for Depression
On the United We Care mental health platform, you can find licensed depression counselors and therapists who are specialized in assessing, diagnosing and treating depression and the symptoms of depressive disorder.
What is Depression?
Everyone feels sad or low at times - it is a part of every day life. However, when it doesn’t go away, begins to affect your day-to-day functioning or starts leading to other problems, you might be suffering from depression. Depression is a mood disorder that makes you feel persistent sadness or lack of interest in life.
Types of Depression
There are 6 types of depression:
Major Depressive Disorder
Major depression (also called major depressive disorder, clinical depression, unipolar depression or simply depression) is a mood disorder characterized by a number of key features such as feeling low, lack of interest in activities normally enjoyed, changes in weight, changes in sleep patterns, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, difficulty in concentration and thoughts of death or committing suicide.
Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)
Initially known as Dysthymia, PDD refers to a type of chronic depression in which the patient feels low for a period of at least 2 years, along with two other symptoms of depression.
Bipolar Disorder was formerly known as manic depression. It is a form of major affective disorder or mood disorder which is defined by manic or hypomanic episodes (changes from one's normal mood followed by an elevated mood).
Pregnancy can bring about significant hormonal shifts that can affect a woman’s mood. A feeling of sadness along with crying that follow childbirth are known as baby blues. Baby blues are quite common amongst women and tends to decrease within a week or two. This type of sadness is often attributed to dramatic hormonal changes that follow childbirth.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression in which symptoms of depression are caused by a change in season. The most common form of SAD is depression that starts in winter and subsides when the season ends.
People with psychotic depression have the symptoms of major depression along with psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren't there), and delusions (false beliefs), paranoia (wrongly believing that others are trying to harm you).
Signs and Symptoms of Depression
The symptoms of depression include:
- Loss of interest and pleasure in activities one liked to participate in the past
- Reduced levels of energy without any physical exertion
- Loss of concentration and attention
- Loss of self-esteem and self-confidence
- Feeling over-whelmed and always out of control
- Feeling of unworthiness and self-loathing
- Disturbance in sleep and appetite leading to extreme weight loss or weight gain
- Pessimistic view of the future
- Recurrent thoughts of self-harm and suicide attempts
Causes of Depression
The root causes of depression can be classified into:
Depression has been linked with imbalance in neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. Depression is genetically vulnerable as scientists believe that 40% of the depressive symptoms are hereditary.
Individuals experiencing negative emotional reactions for every circumstance could be at risk of depression, as it might lead to depressive episodes in response to stressful life events. Extreme childhood experiences like physical/sexual/verbal abuse or major life-changing events (for example, loss of parents) might also lead to depression.
Stressful circumstances like a high-pressure work environment, unemployment, divorce, marriage or relocation are also recognized causes of depressive episodes.
Other Medical Causes
Substance abuse, anxiety and borderline personality disorder are among the most common modifiers of depression. Chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, morbid obesity and cardiovascular disease may also increase the risk of inducing depressive episodes.
Effects of Depression
Depression may interfere with daily work, resulting in lost time and lower productivity. It can also influence relationships and lead to chronic health conditions.
Do I Have Depression? | Online Depression Screening Test
You can take a free online depression screening and assessment test to find out if you have depression or major depressive disorder.
Treatment for Depression
When you are depressed, it might seem difficult to come out of dark shadows. But, even the most severe cases of depression are treatable.
The key factor for depression is to stay connected with family and friends. Don't consider the act of seeking help a sign of weakness. Although the simple act of talking to someone face-to-face might take some strength, it is a much better option.
A therapist will diagnose whether your underlying symptoms point towards a medical condition. If that is the case, then it will be treated first by the specialist. So, it is very important for the therapist to learn as much about your symptoms as possible. If there is no underlying medical condition, then there are many types of therapies available to control the depressive symptoms.
The most commonly-used therapies for depression are cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy and psychodynamic therapy.
Depending on the condition, medicine is prescribed by the specialist which may help in relieving symptoms of moderate and severe depression. Since depression is not a chemical imbalance, medication doesn't cure the underlying condition and is not a long term solution.
The combination of medication, lifestyle changes and therapy helps in speedy recovery and also provide skills to prevent a recurrence of depression.
Natural Depression Remedies | How to Treat Depression without Medicine
Although counseling and medication is recommended for depression treatment, there are a number of alternative natural treatment methods for depression:
Art Therapy - Mandala Art
Coloring mandalas helps in bringing your focus to what you are doing in the present, and therefore, helps you keep depressive thoughts at bay. It works as a tool to relax the mind and coping in a healthier manner. Take a mandala coloring book, sit down in a quiet place, and start coloring every time you feel low. The beautiful colors will help uplift your mood and also help your mind focus on all things positive.
Breathing exercises like pranayama can help in decreasing stress levels. The technique known as Naadi Shodhan Pranayam involves inhalation for 5 seconds, holding the breath for 5 seconds and exhalation for 5 seconds. Doing this for 1 minute can relieve stress, thus helping calm the mind
Exercising helps in boosting dopamine levels in your body which make us feel good. That is the reason why experts recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise daily for a healthy body & mind.
Mindful Focus Exercises
Find any object around you and focus on that object. Try to keep your attention on the object as long as you can. Track your mind and notice when your mind is moving into thought. Then, try to bring your attention to the object. The more time you can spend focusing on the object, the more your mindfulness will increase, thus making you stronger & capable of living in the present.
Musical Stimuli Exercises
Put on your favorite song and notice how it makes you feel. What emotions are coming up? Are there any memories attached to that song? Engaging in understanding these emotions can be a powerful tool to increase mindfulness as well.
Blogs About Depression | Expert Advice
Hereditary Depression: The Role of Genetics in Depression
Although medical science understands the diagnosis and treatment of the symptoms of depression, the origin of depression is relatively unknown.
Is your spouse going through post-partum depression? Here’s a guide to deal with post pregnancy depression for husbands.
Feeling lonely, not talking to anyone, a change in eating habits, or going on a food eating binge – all these might be signs of depression.