Is My Loved One Always Going to Be Depressed?

Is My Loved One Always Going to Be Depressed?

Whether it’s mild and “functional” or severe and disabling, depression is characterized by a persistent low mood that causes ongoing feelings of disinterest, hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness, sadness, guilt, and irritability. These feelings may trigger appetite changes, sleep difficulties, fatigue, cognitive interference, and suicidal ideation.    

Perhaps the only thing more challenging than dealing with depression yourself is watching a loved one struggle with its effects — with no relief in sight. Here, our expert team at EXIS Recovery, Inc. discusses different forms of depression and explains how the right treatment approach can help alleviate long-term symptoms. 

Understanding chronic depression

As one of the most common mental health conditions, depression affects people of all ages and from all walks of life. If your loved one struggles with this serious mood disorder, they’re not alone — about 21 million adults and 5 million adolescents in the United States experienced a major depressive episode in 2021.  

You may think of depression as a singular condition with varying degrees of severity, but that’s a simplistic view of this complex mood disorder. In reality, depression can manifest in several ways, each with distinguishing characteristics that help inform the best treatment approach. 

If your loved one has struggled with depression for a long time, it could be one of the following types.

Major depressive disorder

Also known as clinical depression, major depressive disorder is one of the most severe and common forms of this mood disorder. Someone may be diagnosed with major depression after feeling sad, hopeless, or disinterested most days for at least two weeks. Also, other typical depression symptoms like insomnia, loss of appetite, low energy, or difficulty concentrating must accompany these feelings. 

Persistent depressive disorder 

Less severe than major depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder (PDD) is a mild to moderate form of depression that endures for at least two years. PDD is when someone has a sad, dark, or low mood, plus at least two other symptoms of depression, that manifests most of the day, on most days, over a lengthy period. 

Most people with PDD have an episode of major depression at some point in time; when this occurs, it’s known as “double depression.”  

Atypical depression 

Atypical depression is major depression with atypical features. Someone with this form of depression regularly experiences a temporary mood boost in response to positive events. While typical major depression usually causes insomnia and a reduced appetite, atypical depression is often associated with increased appetite and excessive sleepiness, despite sleeping enough or too much. 

Treatment-resistant depression 

Treatment-resistant depression (TRD) is when someone with major depression takes an adequate dosage of at least two front-line anti-depressants for the prescribed period (at least six to eight weeks) without attaining symptom relief. TRD is common, affecting nearly one in three people with major depression who try medication.  

Breakthrough depression 

Breakthrough depression refers to depressive symptoms that re-emerge while you’re taking an antidepressant that has effectively controlled these symptoms in the past.

Seasonal affective disorder

Also known as seasonal depression, this major depressive disorder usually emerges during the darker, shorter days of the fall and winter and disappears when longer, brighter days return in the spring and summer.     

Depression induced by a medical condition

Sometimes, physical and mental changes induced by another health condition cause depression. Hypothyroidism, heart disease, cancer, chronic pain, and Parkinson’s disease are a few medical problems that can lead to depression. 

Finding the right treatment approach 

As persistent as depression can be, it’s also highly treatable. Even treatment-resistant depression is treatable — it just requires a different approach. Many people who suffer from depression for years are untreated; in such cases, the first step is an accurate diagnosis. This includes considering any underlying medical conditions that may be directly responsible or contributing to the problem.   

Most forms of depression respond well to a combination of antidepressants — either selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) — and individual psychotherapy or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Other options include:

Treatment adherence is essential to attaining symptom relief. When depression treatment isn’t as effective as desired with proper adherence, an adjusted approach is often all it takes to make progress and lift the weight of depression. 

Loosening the tight grip of depression  

Depression doesn’t have to be a life sentence; we can help your loved one overcome their symptoms. To learn more about the depression treatment approach at EXIS Recovery in West Los Angeles, California, call 424-832-0848 today, or click online to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced mental health experts any time.

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