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Category: Depression

6 Types of Depressive Disorders

Depression is one of the most common types of mental health disorders in the US. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 4.7% of adults had regular feelings of depression in 2022. One reason depression is so common is that there are different types of depressive disorders with a range of symptoms and severity.

What Are the 6 Most Common Types of Depressive Disorders?

Not everyone with depression experiences it the same way. Depressive symptoms vary in severity and presentation as well as the causes of your depression. In other words, different causes of depression lead to different types of depressive disorders.

The following are the six most common types of depression:

#1. Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

According to an article in JAMA Psychiatry, 20.6% of US adults will experience major depressive disorder (MDD) at some point in their lives. Thus, MDD—also called clinical depression or major depression—is the most common type of depression.

Symptoms of MDD include:

  • Difficulty sleeping and fatigue
  • Change in appetite (resulting in weight changes)
  • Overwhelming feelings of sadness, worthlessness, or hopelessness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
  • Thoughts of death and dying
  • Self-harming behaviors
  • Suicidal ideations or actions

Major depression impacts your ability to function in everyday life. For instance, you might stop going to work because you can’t get out of bed. Or, you could have significant relationship problems because you withdraw from spending time with others.

#2. Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)

Persistent depressive disorder—sometimes called dysthymia—isn’t as debilitating as major depression. Because of this, many people with persistent depression don’t seek treatment. However, persistent depression can still have a major impact on your overall quality of life.

Symptoms of persistent depressive disorder include the following:

  • Feeling unhappy or dissatisfied
  • Under- or over-eating
  • Insomnia (or the opposite: sleeping too much)
  • Low self-esteem
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Thoughts of self-harm
  • Feeling tired most of the time

Although your symptoms are usually mild, you could have episodes of major depression—especially when you don’t get treatment. For a diagnosis of persistent depression, your symptoms must last for two or more years. Persistent depression is commonly associated with silent depression or high-functioning depression.

#3. Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression affects women after they give birth. According to PostpartumDepression.org, “Approximately 1 in 10 women will experience postpartum depression after giving birth, with some studies reporting 1 in 7 women.”

Furthermore, symptoms usually last about 3-6 months, and 80% of women with postpartum depression make a full recovery. The symptoms of postpartum depression are similar to major depressive disorder.

Having a new baby causes a lot of changes in your life. You could feel a loss of control and independence or be overwhelmed with newfound responsibility. In addition, you might struggle to sleep while caring for a newborn or have a sudden change in hormones after birth. All of these factors contribute to developing postpartum depression.

#4. Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression)

Bipolar disorder, once called manic depression, is another type of mood disorder characterized by cycles of depression and mania. Due to the cycles of depression, bipolar disorder is often considered a type of depressive disorder.

During the depressive cycle of bipolar disorder, your symptoms will be similar to those of major depression. However, during the manic cycle, you will have an increase in energy, euphoria, insomnia, racing thoughts, and rapid speech. Sometimes, people during the manic phase have psychotic symptoms of hallucinations or delusions.

#5. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) typically affects people during the fall or winter. Some causes of SAD could be a lack of sunlight, being less active during colder weather, and shorter days. Thus, this type of depression is more common in northern regions of the United States.

Symptoms of SAD are similar to major depression, but they are triggered by the onset of fall or winter. Thus, most people with SAD feel better as the spring season begins. Unique treatments like red light therapy can help with SAD.

#6. Depression With Psychotic Features

Another type of depression is depression with psychotic features, sometimes called simply psychotic depression. Psychotic depression is rare, however, it can be very debilitating. This is because, in addition to the symptoms of MDD, you experience hallucinations and delusions.

  • Hallucinations are seeing, feeling, or hearing things that aren’t real. Common examples include hearing voices, feeling bugs crawling on your skin, or seeing people who aren’t there.
  • Delusions are thoughts and beliefs with no basis in reality. Examples include thoughts of being pursued by the government or believing oneself to possess magical powers.

Due to the psychotic features—i.e., losing touch with reality—this type of depression can be distressing for family members and loved ones to witness.

How Can Treatment Help Me With My Depression?

Mental health treatment can help you with your depression in several ways.

For one thing, treatment can help to reduce your symptoms of depression. Psychotherapy and psychiatry are the first lines of treatment for depression. Psychiatric medications called anti-depressants restore chemical imbalances believed to cause depression.

In addition, antipsychotic medications and mood stabilizers can help with psychotic depression and bipolar disorder, respectively.

Treatment can also help you with your depression by learning more about the causes of your symptoms. Oftentimes, significant life events and stress trigger depressive symptoms, which can lead to depressive disorders when left unaddressed. During therapy, you can learn more about the causes of depression as well as coping skills to help you manage symptoms.

Lastly, it’s no secret that a healthy lifestyle can also reduce depressive symptoms. That is why mental health treatment programs also focus on holistic approaches. These approaches treat the whole person—including your physical, emotional, social, and spiritual health.

Get Help For Your Depression Today

Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders among US adults. North Atlanta Behavioral Health has solutions for all types of depressive disorders. Our comprehensive treatment programs can help you overcome your symptoms to free yourself of depression.

Contact us to get help for your depressive symptoms today.

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Is Silent Depression Real? Here’s What You Need to Know

Depression is one of the most common types of mental health disorders in the US, affecting millions of adults each year. But can you have depression and not even know it? If you notice a negative change in your overall mood, energy levels, and attitude, you might have silent depression.

North Atlanta Behavioral Health is here to help you or your loved one struggling with depression. We offer outpatient mental health programs that use evidence-based therapies and client-centered approaches for the best outcomes in treating depression.

Can Someone Be Depressed Without Knowing It?

Yes, you can be depressed without knowing it. Depressive symptoms can be subtle. Your symptoms might be at a low level for years (sometimes called “high-functioning depression“). Furthermore, your symptoms can come on—and worsen—gradually.

In fact, your symptoms can worsen so gradually that you don’t even notice it. Instead, your loved ones might be the first to see the changes in your mood and demeanor. When you suffer from depression and are unaware of it, this is known as silent depression.

What is Silent Depression?

Silent depression is when you have depressive symptoms, but either aren’t aware of it or aren’t acknowledging it. Thus, you struggle silently with your symptoms, either keeping them to yourself, denying them, minimizing symptoms, or lacking any awareness of the issue at all.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 4.7% of US adults age 18 and older have regular feelings of depression. But this only counts the people aware of their depression. Therefore, it is important to know the signs of silent depression.

10 Signs of Silent Depression

Silent depression can sneak up on you. But, if you know what to look for, you can recognize depression before it gets out of control.

The following are ten signs of silent depression:

#1. Lack of Energy

Everyone has good days and bad days. However, if you consistently feel drained at the end of every day or fatigued most of the time, you could be depressed.

#2. Sleeping Problems

Sleeping problems go hand in hand with a lack of energy. People with depression often struggle to fall asleep due to ruminating thoughts of guilt, shame, or anxiety. Because of this, you might stay in bed longer than usual to catch up on your rest.

#3. Change in Appetite

A change in appetite without a physical cause could be a sign of psychological distress. Stress, anxiety, guilt, and shame—feelings that accompany depression—can suppress your appetite. On the other hand, you might overeat as an unhealthy coping mechanism for underlying depression.

#4. Isolating and Social Withdrawal

Do you find yourself saying “no” to social activities more frequently? Are you spending more time alone than usual? Oftentimes, people with depression withdraw from friends and family due to low energy or feeling unworthy. Thus, if you find yourself spending more and more time alone, you could be feeling depressed.

#5. Drug and Alcohol Abuse

One of the most common causes of drug and alcohol abuse is an underlying mental health issue. If you are drinking or using drugs to elevate your mood or to cope with negative emotions, you most likely have an underlying mental health issue like depression.

#6. Loss of Interest in Hobbies

Depression isn’t just about feeling sad. Instead, it’s a lack of feeling anything—especially pleasure, joy, and satisfaction. You might not be as engaged in hobbies or other pleasurable activities anymore if you are depressed.

#7. Overworking

When you have silent depression, you could be in denial of your feelings. Or, you might fear facing what’s troubling you. As a result, you could be distracting yourself by spending more time at work, bringing work home with you, or using work as an excuse for your low mood and irritability.

#8. Low Self-Esteem

It’s hard to feel good about yourself when you don’t feel good about anything. More often than not, low self-esteem accompanies depression.

#9. Negative Thoughts and Attitude

Do you find that your thoughts constantly drift to the worst-case scenario? Are you expressing a pessimistic attitude to friends, family, and co-workers? Depression can alter your outlook on life toward pessimism and negativity.

#10. Mood Swings

If you have depression, you could have mood swings from low to high. Or you might be easily triggered by stressors and appear irritable to others. Silent depression could also be a sign of other mood disorders, like bipolar disorder.

How is Depression Treated?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to treating depression. Depression is treated with a combination of psychiatric medications, psychotherapy, and holistic approaches, like exercise, mindfulness, and nutrition. That way, you can find your own pathway to recovery from depression.

If you have signs of suffering from silent depression, talk to your healthcare provider today to begin treatment.

Get Help for Depression Today

Depression is among the most common mental health disorders in the US. Some people suffer and don’t even realize what they are going through—or that things can get better. But, depression is treatable, and there is hope for you or your loved one struggling with silent depression symptoms.

Contact North Atlanta Behavioral Health today to get help for depression today.

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11 Signs of High-Functioning Depression

High-functioning depression is often left untreated and undiagnosed. When your life appears fine on the outside, it can be hard to accept that you feel unhappy and unfulfilled beneath the surface. In turn, this can lead to guilt or shame—and even worsening depressive symptoms.

North Atlanta Behavioral Health offers outpatient solutions to treat depression—including higher-functioning forms of this common mental health disorder.

11 of the Most Common Signs of High-Functioning Depression

High-functioning depression can be hard to spot. For one thing, you probably appear fine to family and friends. In addition, things in your life are probably going pretty well, so you could deny that you feel depressed on the inside.

Here are some of the top signs that you could have high-functioning depression:

#1. You feel a little down most of the time. Anytime that you do feel a glimmer of happiness, it doesn’t last long. Overall, you almost always have a low mood that you cannot seem to shake.

#2. You are tired most of the time. While you do the things that you are supposed to do—like go to work, do household chores, spend time with your kids, etc.—it all feels like a huge effort.

#3. You might appear lazy to others or think of yourself as lazy. In truth, all your energy is spent just getting through the day and keeping up the appearance of being happy.

#4. You feel bad about yourself. People with high-functioning depression often feel unworthy of happiness and fulfillment.

#5. You feel like an imposter. Since your life generally looks good from the outside, feeling unhappy on the inside feels like you aren’t authentic and are faking it through life.

#6. You’re a harsh self-critic. It might even be hard for you to receive a compliment from others. Oftentimes, you downplay your achievements.

#7. You lose or gain weight without intending to do so. Changes in appetite are a common sign of depression. This can result in either a loss of appetite or overeating as a maladaptive coping mechanism.

#8. You cry without any clear reason. Everyone feels sad from time to time due to certain life events, like grieving over a loved one or going through a breakup. However, if you find yourself overwhelmed and crying for no reason, you might have high-functioning depression.

#9. You perform well at work, school, or other activities—but it is difficult for you to focus. Depression can cause you to struggle with your ability to concentrate and make decisions.

#10. You force yourself to socialize. Most things for you—even fun activities—can feel taxing. Oftentimes, you would rather withdraw from others and be alone.

#11. You have other issues that crop up. For instance, you might abuse drugs or alcohol to improve your mood. You could also have chronic pain and headaches or problems in relationships.

Essentially, your inner life doesn’t line up with your outer life. You have a lot of good things going for you, yet you struggle to feel happy. And unlike severe depression, you are able to do all the things that you need to do.

This is the biggest problem with having high-functioning depression. Your depressive symptoms are so mild that they can be ignored for long enough to get through the day. But even mild depression can worsen over time when left untreated.

What is Mild Depression?

Depressive symptoms occur on a spectrum from mild to severe. If you have high-functioning depression, this means that your symptoms are relatively mild. Mild depression is also called persistent depressive disorder or dysthymia.

According to StatPearls, about 3% of the US population has persistent depressive disorder. Furthermore, this form of mild depression can occur along with episodes of major depressive disorder.

Thus, with high-functioning depression, you could function well for long periods of time and then crash into a more severe depressive episode. So, you might go back and forth between high- and low-functioning depression. However, your baseline mood is still somewhat low—characteristic of mild depression.

How is High-Functioning Depression Treated?

The treatment options for depression are similar whether your symptoms are mild or severe. The first step is talking to a healthcare professional about your symptoms. You can talk to your primary care physician first since they can rule out any medical reasons for your symptoms.

If you get a diagnosis of mild depression, your treatment options may include the following:

  • Psychiatric medications. Psychiatrists can prescribe anti-depressants to treat mild symptoms of depression. These medications restore balance to brain chemicals responsible for your symptoms.
  • Psychotherapy. Talking to a mental health professional about your depression can help you find healthy ways to cope with symptoms. You can also attend group therapy to gain further insight from others with similar disorders.
  • Support groups. While support groups are not run by professionals, they can offer additional coping skills and support. Many people benefit from sharing and hearing others share their experiences. This can help you feel less alone in your struggle with depression.
  • Holistic approaches. Depression affects all aspects of your health and well-being. By taking your whole-self into consideration—mind, body, and soul—you can find new avenues for treatment. Some common holistic approaches include yoga, mindfulness, breathwork, and exercise.

Heal from High-Functioning Depression Today

Mild depression can make you feel hopeless and even undeserving of treatment. But there is hope for healing from every type of depression—including high-functioning depression. North Atlanta Behavioral Health offers treatment options that can help you find long-lasting joy and fulfillment in life.

Contact us today to start a life free of mild depression.

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Signs Your Antidepressant Dose is Too High

Antidepressants, combined with therapy, can be life-changing for people with mental health disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and depression. However, it takes some time to work with your psychiatrist to find the right medication and dose. That is why it is important to understand the signs that your antidepressant dose is too high.

If you’re taking an antidepressant, it could take some time to notice the effects and to get the balance just right. In addition, over time, you might find that medications are not as effective as they had been in the past. North Atlanta Behavioral Health can help you find the right medication and dose to treat your mental health disorder.

Before you can know if your antidepressant dose is too high, you need to know how your antidepressant is supposed to work.

What Is an Antidepressant?

In addition to depression, antidepressants also treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Common symptoms among these disorders include difficulty regulating mood and managing stress. Antidepressants alleviate these symptoms, which in turn, helps you engage in treatment programs more effectively.

How Do Antidepressants Work?

Antidepressants work by balancing chemicals in your brain called neurotransmitters. More specifically, they target neurotransmitters linked to emotional regulation and mood. The two main neurotransmitters targeted are serotonin and norepinephrine (also called noradrenaline).

  • Serotonin: This neurotransmitter regulates nearly every human behavior including sleep, appetite, sexual drive, and mood. When you don’t have enough serotonin, you could have insomnia or oversleep, eat too much or not enough, experience a low sex drive, and feel low or down. All of these are symptoms of depression and other mental health disorders.
  • Norepinephrine: Some mental health disorders are caused by either too much or too little norepinephrine. This neurotransmitter increases your blood pressure and heart rate, helps you focus, and gives you energy. Too much norepinephrine can cause insomnia, irritability, and anxiety. On the other hand, too little can cause a lack of focus, low energy, and depression.

In short, a lack of or an excess of these neurotransmitters can cause symptoms of depression, OCD, anxiety, and PTSD. Therefore, antidepressants work by restoring a natural balance of these chemicals.

However, your psychiatrist won’t know exactly which antidepressants and dosage will work until you try them out. You and your psychiatrist will work together to find the right type of antidepressant and dosage for your symptoms. The goal is to find the right dose and medication for you to have a therapeutic level in your system.

What Is a Therapeutic Level of Antidepressants?

The therapeutic level of any medication refers to the amount of medication in your system needed for the intended effects. Therapeutic levels of antidepressants will be different for each person due to things like body weight, overall health, and metabolism. It will also vary based on the type of antidepressant that you take as well as any drug interactions from other prescriptions.

The goal of finding a therapeutic level of antidepressants is ensuring that the amount of medication in your system is within a certain range. However, the therapeutic level of antidepressants, unlike other psychotropic medications, isn’t monitored by lab testing. Instead, you and your psychiatrist work together to find the appropriate dose to maintain therapeutic levels based on your mood, behaviors, and symptoms.

How Will My Psychiatrist Find the Right Dose for Me?

Your psychiatrist will start you off at a lower dose and increase from there. This is the best way to ensure that you work your way up to a therapeutic level while monitoring side effects. Furthermore, it will take about 4 to 6 weeks for most antidepressants to have any effect as it builds up in your system.

After about 6 weeks, if you don’t notice any changes, then this is a sign that your antidepressant dose is too low. As a result, your psychiatrist will most likely increase your dosage as long as you aren’t experiencing too many adverse side effects. Following this, you will need to monitor symptoms and side effects to make sure your dose isn’t too high.

What Are the Signs That Your Antidepressant Dose Is Too High?

Overall, the purpose of antidepressants is to balance the chemicals in your brain so that you can engage in other therapeutic activities. Oftentimes, people with depression or other disorders struggle to attend therapy or follow a treatment plan consistently. Antidepressants help to improve your sleep habits and appetite, reduce anxiety, and improve your mood.

However, when your antidepressant dose is too high, you will have adverse effects, such as:

  • Feeling numb or a lack of pleasure
  • Significant changes in weight
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Drowsiness, fatigue, and low energy
  • Increased irritability and anxiety
  • Worsening depression
  • Excessive energy or mania

It is also critical to monitor symptoms over time for signs that your antidepressant dose is too high or too low. Sometimes, medications lose their effectiveness as you become accustomed to them. On the other hand, bodily changes as you get older can change how you respond to certain types of antidepressants. Thus, you must find other ways to treat your symptoms rather than relying on medications alone.

What Else Can I Do to Improve My Mental Health?

The best way to treat mental health disorders is by combining medications with therapeutic activities. The types of therapy that work for you depend on your disorder, severity of symptoms, and personal preferences. The best mental health treatment programs provide options for you to find your own path to recovery.

At North Atlanta Behavioral Health, we offer the following therapies for mental health disorders in addition to psychiatry:

  • Talk therapy: Traditional therapy includes talk therapy. However, talk therapy varies based on which modality will work best for you and your symptoms. Common types of therapy include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).
  • Brainspotting: This is a specific type of therapy that involves finding spots in your visual field that activate trauma responses. Brainspotting can help you heal from traumatic experiences and PTSD.
  • Red Light Therapy: Treating symptoms of mental health disorders can also include alternative approaches like red light therapy. Red light therapy can improve sleep quality and mental clarity as well as reduce stress.
  • Holistic Therapy: Our holistic approach to treatment includes nutritional support, exercise, meditation, and exercise. Holistic therapy can improve physical health, which in turn improves your mental well-being.

Find Mental Health Services in Atlanta Today

If you notice signs that your antidepressant dose is too high or too low, you need to reevaluate your medication. In addition, you could benefit from adding multiple approaches to your treatment plan, such as brainspotting or red light therapy. At North Atlanta Behavioral Health, we can help you find a mental health treatment plan that will work for you.

Contact us today to begin mental health treatment in Atlanta, Georgia.

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