Due to the ongoing pandemic, there has been a significant increase in people experiencing mental health issues. According to a recent study, 4 out of 10 adults in the United States may have experienced emerging episodes of anxiety or depression. The quarantine measures limit access to appropriate treatment and therapy services.
Depression is a mental health disorder that causes episodes of loneliness and disinterest in doing activities. For some people, depression can be managed and might go away with lifestyle changes. But for others, depression can disrupt daily routine and cause long-term difficulties.
But before tending to you any form of therapy or medication, your healthcare provider will first determine the severity of your depression. Here are two significant differences your physician can use to assess the seriousness of your condition.
A regular depression may include symptoms of both mild and moderate depression. Some of these signs and symptoms include:
- Persistent irritability or angry mood
- Difficulty concentrating at home or work
- Body pains that have no apparent cause
- Anxiety or excessive worrying
- Trouble sleeping or insomnia
- Sudden interest in habits such as substance abuse
- Feeling of tiredness or fatigue during the day
- Having sudden changes in diet and appetite
- Being more sensitive to others
Although regular depression is considerably more manageable, it is much more difficult to diagnose than a severe one. Symptoms for regular depression are harder to notice. Sometimes, they seem too common, and they can sometimes root from another cause.
Meanwhile, severe depression includes signs and symptoms that are more noticeable. More often than not, they are more debilitating. It ranges from aggravations both physically and socially, and it usually lasts longer compared to the regular one.
Severe depression may cause the following:
- Unwanted hallucinations
- Becoming delusional on some occasions
- Arising suicidal thoughts and suicidal tendencies
Aside from the symptoms, a person can also see major differences between the two from medications used to aid with the condition.
For regular (mild or moderate) depression, simple lifestyle or diet changes are the best recommendations. These activities may include improving sleep schedule, balancing meal plans and vitamin-rich diet, or having a low-intensity exercise every day. Most of the time, meditation can also help in alleviating depressive symptoms.
Alternative treatments such as melatonin supplements are prescribed as remedies. Antidepressants and talk therapies are also effective for some people with moderate depression.
Meanwhile, severe depression requires more stringent and urgent medical treatment. Your primary healthcare provider will recommend you Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Aside from medications, you can also try talk therapies to help with suicidal thoughts or concentration problems.
To know more about the differences between regular and severe depression, here is a handy FAQ to guide you further:
What are the 4 types of depression?
There are many types of depression; however, only 4 main types help us classify depression. First is Major depression, where you are experiencing five or more symptoms of depression for a period of at least two weeks. Then there is chronic, where it occurs for a period of six months to a year—manic depression or also known as bipolar disorder. Finally, we have seasonal depression that happens from time to time for a certain period of time.
What is the #1 cause of depression?
There is no one main cause for depression. The cause for a person’s depression will be a personal thing, and it can be unique for everyone who experiences it. Different people have different causes or triggers that can lead them to a depression diagnosis. The main causes for depression are death or loss of a loved one, health issues or illness, trauma or abuse, and family history.
Biologically speaking. However, chemical imbalances and other biological issues can cause a person to become depressed. So make sure to consult with a doctor to get the right treatment that is best for you.
Is being depressed and suicidal the same thing?
Suicidal tendencies or thoughts are a symptom of depression. Although these two concepts are related, however, they are not the same. It does not necessarily mean a person is suicidal when they are depressed, but there are cases where suicidal tendencies are directly linked to a person’s depression. The best thing to do is educate yourself on these two concepts also to educate other people.
Does depression make your brain shrink?
Yes, depression can shrink your brain. Three areas in your brain are most affected by depression. The hippocampus is a part of your brain that produces the hormone known as cortisol. Of course, if produced in the right amounts, it can be healthy for us. If produced in excessive amounts, it can actually cause multiple issues in our bodies. Still, it can also cause other areas of our brain to shrink, which is why people with depression lose their focus, and they can tend to forget portions of their past.
Does depression age your brain?
Depression is a complex condition that has taken us years and years to understand fully. According to a study published by Yale University, depression can actually change a person’s brain physically, which will quicken the brain’s aging process. Once this starts to happen, we are now more likely to be infected with illnesses that are more commonly found in older people. Also, a group of researchers has found that when a person is depressed, they are more likely to experience a greater decrease in their cognitive functions.
How does depression affect synapse?
Our brain goes through a lot of changes when we are experiencing depression. From memory loss to difficulties in focusing, there will be a significant change in our brain’s functions during the depression. What happens is our brain will experience a reduction in the sizes of certain brain regions where mood and cognitive functions are regulated. While this is happening, there will also be a reduction in neuronal synapses in the most affected areas by depression.
What is the biological cause of depression?
A basic explanation for this is that chemical imbalances in our brains cause it. This, however, does not fully capture and explain to us how truly complex depression is. Depression is not caused by simply not having enough of a certain chemical in our brain, but it is caused by many more brain faults such as faulty mood regulation. Our genetics can also cause it since 80 percent of cases of depression are caused by family history and genetics.
There are many different chemicals at play in this process that can complicate depression which is why we see two people with the same symptoms, but these people will have varying problems internally. This is why there will be different ways of treatment for different people.
How does serotonin affect depression?
Serotonin is a hormone that your brain releases that makes you feel happier and your moods become elevated. Lower levels of serotonin in your brain are a direct link to a person’s symptoms of depression. This can include frustration, anger, and a generally lower mood than usual. With high serotonin levels in your brain, you are more likely to become happier, and overall, your mood will be higher as well. So make sure to do many things that make you happy to boost your serotonin levels to avoid depression in the long run.
Does depression age your face?
Depression can do a lot of things for us. It can make us feel sad; it can make us withdrawn, making us lose our energy. Although it does not age your face, It can cause depression to tense up facial muscles caused by negative facial expressions such as frowning. When we frown, it starts to strain our muscles, and in a way, it can start to seem as if our muscles are forming into a frown. This will eventually lead to the formation of fine lines and wrinkles that give us the look of aging.
What causes long-term depression?
There can be several different reasons for a person to experience long-term depression. Reasons such as traumatic experiences such as abuse or accidents, maybe a loss of a loved one or losing your job causing financial instability or drain. Negative personality traits such as low self-esteem, being overly dependent, and being too self-critical can also cause this. Your family’s history can also affect this and pre-existing mental conditions such as personality disorders.
What are general methods used to treat depression?
There is no one way to treat depression because depression is a complex condition that can affect different people in different ways. Symptoms may manifest in the same ways, but depression can be different internally. So, there are different ways of treating depression. So if one person is effectively treated by medication, another may not be as lucky. Generally, depression can be treated through medication, therapy, counseling, and just surrounded by a supportive group of people.
How do you know if your brain is chemically imbalanced?
There is a way to test and measure neurotransmitters in our brain to the brains to test whether chemically imbalanced or not ho. However, it is likely unreliable as it would not be as accurate as we want it to be. This is because not all neurotransmitters are made in our brain. So generally, there is no reliable test available right now that could help us identify whether or not a person has a chemical imbalance in their brain or not.
What part of the brain causes depression?
Three parts of our brain are most affected when we are going through a depression. Our hippocampus, responsible for memories and the production of cortisol. Our amygdala, responsible for emotion regulation. Our prefrontal cortex, which deals with emotions in general. During the depression, our brain goes crazy with the number of different chemicals produced or the chemicals that can also be running too low. Eventually, parts of our brain begin to shrink, causing issues with memory and cognitive functions.
What is the new treatment for depression?
Over the years, many treatments for depression have been discovered to be effective in their own right. We use medications, counseling, and different therapy forms, such as light therapy or talk therapy. Although all of these are quite effective, scientists and researchers have not stopped to look for more ways to help with depression.
The newest treatment for depression is known as neuromodulation. In this treatment, we try to alter nerve activities by targeting a stimulus specifically targeting certain areas of our brain. Basically, we try to electrify certain areas in certain patterns to change our brain cells’ activity.
Getting rid of depression and its symptoms begins with an accurate and urgent diagnosis. Do not self-medicate and do not guess your condition based on the facts you see online. While they may be correct and valid, advice from a legitimate doctor or psychiatrist is the best way to go.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please seek medical attention immediately. You may reach out to your local emergency hotlines.
Also, cooperating with your healthcare provider is crucial in your progress. Your condition may persist, and you might have to stay in therapy longer if you lie to your therapist or physician. Establishing a healthy relationship with your primary care provider leads to better results, so make sure to choose your therapist based on your preferences.