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Depressive Disorders

It is normal to feel down or hopeless sometimes, but if these feelings tend to persist and negatively impact many areas of your life, you may be experiencing depression


Depressive disorders are common, but serious, mental conditions that can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. Symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can occur even at times when everything in your life seems to be “picture perfect”.  

Even the most severe cases of depression can be treated. Treatment usually consists of therapy, medication, or a combination of both. The earlier you seek treatment, the more effective it is. A therapist can help you to start feeling better by using evidence-based approaches specific to your needs, such as; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Therapy (IPT), Problem-Solving therapy, and many others. 

The first step in dealing with depression is recognizing the symptoms. Below are some common depressive disorders that we treat:

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

A persistent feeling of sadness that can interfere with your daily functioning and affect many areas of your life. Experiencing depressive symptoms for at least two weeks at a time is considered a “depressive episode”. 

Some common symptoms include:

  • ​Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day

  • Losing interest or pleasure in activities (hobbies, sex, sports)

  • Fatigue, loss of energy

  • Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt

  • Anger outbursts and irritability

  • Weight loss or weight gain 

  • Decrease or increase in appetite

  • Insomnia or hypersomnia

  • Restlessness or feeling slowed down

  • Indecisiveness, lack of concentration

  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Sometimes called the “winter blues”. Symptoms are similar to Major Depressive Disorder, but with a seasonal pattern.

Common symptoms include:

  • Depressive symptoms only at a specific time of the year (such as Fall or Winter)

  • Full remission occurs at a distinctive time of year (such as Spring or Summer)

  • More likely to report increased appetite and hypersomnia

  • Carbohydrate cravings

  • Changes in sleep patterns

  • At least two depressive episodes in the last two years

  • Fatigue, lack of energy

Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)

Depressed mood most of the day, for more days than not, for at least a period of two years (or one year for children). 

Common symptoms include:

  • ​Feelings of hopelessness, sadness, emptiness

  • Low self-esteem

  • Low energy or fatigue

  • Poor appetite or overeating

  • Insomnia or hypersomnia

  • Irritability or excessive anger

  • Poor concentration

  • Difficulty making decisions

Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)

A condition characterized by extreme irritability, anger, and frequent temper outbursts. Diagnosed between the ages of 6 and 17 years old. 

The following symptoms are present for at least 12 months, typically before age 10:

  • ​Temper outbursts that occur at least three times a week

  • Severe recurrent anger outbursts (verbal and/or physical)

  • Irritability most of the day, nearly every day

  • Symptoms present in at least two settings (school, home, etc)

Postpartum Depression

Sometimes mistaken for the “baby blues” that women often experience after childbirth, but is a more serious condition. 

The following symptoms typically start to develop during pregnancy or up to a year after birth:

  • Fear that you’re not a good mother

  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

  • Withdrawing from friends and family

  • Difficulty bonding with your baby

  • Excessive crying

  • Depressed Mood

  • Severe mood swings

  • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, guilt

  • Lack of concentration

  • Anxiety, panic attacks

  • Intense irritability or anger

  • Increase or decrease in appetite

  • (Other Major Depressive Disorder symptoms)

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PDD)

A condition where women experience sadness, irritability, and tension before menstruation, similar to Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), but more severe. 

The following symptoms usually begin 7-10 days before your period starts and continue into the first few days of your period:

  • ​Mood swings

  • Suddenly feeling sad or tearful

  • Increased sensitivity to rejection

  • Marked irritability or anger

  • Feeling out of control or overwhelmed

  • Increased interpersonal conflicts (family, friends, partner)

  • Anxiety, tension, feeling on edge

  • Decreased interest in usual activities

  • Breast tenderness, joint/muscle pain, feeling bloated

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Fatigue, lack of energy

  • Appetite change, overeating, food cravings

  • Hypersomnia or insomnia

24/7 Assistance:

Crisis Chat    Crisis Text Line

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE

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