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Trading Chanakya Group

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Owen Phillips
Owen Phillips

Mild Depression Causes

Nancy Schimelpfening, MS is the administrator for the non-profit depression support group Depression Sanctuary. Nancy has a lifetime of experience with depression, experiencing firsthand how devastating this illness can be.

mild depression causes

Dysthymia was previously listed separately from chronic major depression in the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders," but the disorders have since been combined as of the fifth edition, as no scientifically meaningful difference was found between them.

Many people with mild depression can manage these distressing symptoms, but they may have a minor effect on their social and work life. Although other people may not notice symptoms of mild depression in an individual, they can take a toll on the person experiencing them.

The exact classification is based on many factors. These include the types of symptoms you experience, their severity, and how often they occur. Certain types of depression can also cause a temporary spike in the severity of symptoms.

Despite the challenges in diagnosis, mild depression is the easiest to treat. Certain lifestyle changes can go a long way in boosting serotonin levels in the brain, which can help fight depressive symptoms.

A class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be used in some cases. However, these tend to be more effective in people with more severe forms of depression. Recurrent depression tends to respond better to lifestyle changes and forms of talk therapy, such as psychotherapy, than medication.

SSRIs, such as sertraline (Zoloft) or paroxetine (Paxil), may be prescribed. These medications can take up to six weeks to take full effect. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is also used in some cases of moderate depression.

But some new moms experience a more severe, long-lasting form of depression known as postpartum depression. Sometimes it's called peripartum depression because it can start during pregnancy and continue after childbirth. Rarely, an extreme mood disorder called postpartum psychosis also may develop after childbirth.

Postpartum depression is not a character flaw or a weakness. Sometimes it's simply a complication of giving birth. If you have postpartum depression, prompt treatment can help you manage your symptoms and help you bond with your baby.

Studies show that new fathers can experience postpartum depression, too. They may feel sad, tired, overwhelmed, anxious, or have changes in their usual eating and sleeping patterns. These are the same symptoms that mothers with postpartum depression experience.

If you're a partner of a new mother and are having symptoms of depression or anxiety during your partner's pregnancy or after your child's birth, talk to your health care provider. Similar treatments and supports provided to mothers with postpartum depression can help treat postpartum depression in the other parent.

If you're feeling depressed after your baby's birth, you may be reluctant or embarrassed to admit it. But if you experience any symptoms of postpartum baby blues or postpartum depression, call your primary health care provider or your obstetrician or gynecologist and schedule an appointment. If you have symptoms that suggest you may have postpartum psychosis, get help immediately.

People with depression may not recognize or admit that they're depressed. They may not be aware of signs and symptoms of depression. If you suspect that a friend or loved one has postpartum depression or is developing postpartum psychosis, help them seek medical attention immediately. Don't wait and hope for improvement.

Persistent depressive disorder is a continuous, long-term form of depression. You may feel sad and empty, lose interest in daily activities and have trouble getting things done. You may also have low self-esteem, feel like a failure and feel hopeless. These feelings last for years and may interfere with your relationships, school, work and daily activities.

If you have persistent depressive disorder, you may find it hard to be upbeat even on happy occasions. You may be described as having a gloomy personality, constantly complaining or not able to have fun. Persistent depressive disorder is not as severe as major depression, but your current depressed mood may be mild, moderate or severe.

Persistent depressive disorder symptoms usually come and go over a period of years. The intensity of symptoms can change over time. But symptoms usually don't disappear for more than two months at a time. Also, major depression episodes may occur before or during persistent depressive disorder.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression. According to the American Psychiatric Association, SAD is officially classified as major depressive disorder with seasonal patterns. So if you have seasonal affective disorder, you have mood changes and symptoms of depression, including:

If you think you have symptoms of seasonal depression or another mood disorder, see your healthcare provider. Your provider will want to rule out another condition or illness that may be causing these symptoms.

If you have depression, there are things you can do to help yourself. Depression can make you feel exhausted, worthless, helpless, and hopeless. Such negative thoughts and feelings may make you feel like giving up. It is important to realize that these negative views are part of the depression and may not reflect reality. Negative thinking fades as treatment begins to take effect. Meanwhile, consider the following:

Dysthymia or mild depression is clinically referred to as Persistent Depressive Disorder or PDD in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). In the DSM 5, PDD symptoms and diagnosis are combined with those associated with major depressive disorder. A person can be diagnosed with both persistent depressive disorder and major depression. The difference between the two is that for a diagnosis of major depressive disorder, a person must demonstrate at least five symptoms for at least two weeks. On the other hand, a person only needs to show two symptoms for a diagnosis of PDD, and symptoms must be present for at least two years.

Research provides professionals with evidence about what works for treating PDD. According to a recent report that reviewed three different studies, a combination of medication and therapy is more effective than medication or therapy on its own for treating PDD. Medication can help to correct some of the chemical imbalances in the brain that can lead to depression, whereas therapy provides an opportunity for people to develop coping skills and healthy ways of responding to stress and learn how to manage symptoms of depression.

A specific type of therapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is especially effective for cases of persistent depression. Research suggests that the beneficial effects of CBT are long-lasting and can prevent relapse to depression after a person completes treatment. Given the chronic nature of PDD, this is important.

In fact, one study found that among patients with major depression, nearly half had thought about suicide at some point during their lives, and 16 percent had attempted it. Finding treatment for persistent depression is critical, and it can even be life-saving for some.

Since persistent depressive disorder lasts for two or more years, it is often considered treatment-resistant, meaning it can be hard to find a treatment that works for everyone with PDD. Fortunately, TMS is FDA-approved for treating depression, and studies show that it is effective for cases of treatment-resistant depression. A recent study found that 60 percent of patients with treatment-resistant depression responded to TMS treatment, and TMS sessions that tapered off in frequency over time seemed to be effective for preventing relapse to depression. This provides evidence that TMS is promising for cases of treatment-resistant depression, including persistent depressive disorder.

Not everyone will respond favorably to medication or therapy for depression symptoms. In some cases, they will need a treatment method that specifically targets areas of the brain thought to influence the symptoms of depression. Research on the efficacy of TMS therapy has found that depressed patients see a rapid alleviation of symptoms with TMS alone or TMS in combination with talk therapy. TMS treatment is also highly effective for managing the disorder long-term and helps patients achieve remission of symptoms. TMS is useful for treating acute episodes of mild depression as well as preventing symptoms from recurring.

Dysthymia, sometimes referred to as mild, chronic depression, is less severe and has fewer symptoms than major depression. With dysthymia, the depression symptoms can linger for a long period of time, often two years or longer. Those who suffer from dysthymia can also experience periods of major depression--sometimes called "double depression." In modern diagnostic classification systems, dysthymia and chronic depression are now both referred to as persistent depressive disorder.

Experts are not sure what causes dysthymia or depression. Genes may play a role, but many affected people will not have a family history of depression, and others with family history will not have depression problems. Abnormal functioning in brain circuits or nerve cell pathways that connect different brain regions regulating mood are also thought to be involved. Major life stressors, chronic illness, medications, and relationship or work problems may also increase the chances of dysthymia in people biologically predisposed to developing depression.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 1.5% of adult Americans are affected by dysthymia. While not as disabling as major depression, dysthymia can keep you from feeling your best and functioning optimally. Dysthymia can begin in childhood or in adulthood and seems to be more common in women.

A mental health specialist generally makes the diagnosis based on the person's symptoms. In the case of dysthymia, these symptoms will have lasted for a longer period of time and be less severe than in patients with major depression.


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