Depression is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working.
You may be suffering from depression if you have been experiencing some of the following symptoms:
Persistent sadness, anxiousness or emptiness
Feeling hopeless, or pessimistic
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
Decreased energy or fatigue
Moving or talking more slowly
Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
Appetite and/or weight changes
Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause
There are several forms of depression
Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia) is a depressed mood that lasts for at least two years. A person diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder may have episodes of major depression along with periods of less severe symptoms, but symptoms must last for two years to be considered persistent depressive disorder.
Postpartum depression is very serious. Women with postpartum depression experience major depression during pregnancy or after delivery (postpartum depression). The feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that accompany postpartum depression may make it difficult for new mothers to complete daily care activities for themselves and for their babies.
Psychotic depression occurs when a an individuals depression is severe enough to trigger psychosis, such as having disturbing false beliefs (delusions) or hearing or seeing upsetting things that others cannot hear or see (hallucinations). The psychotic symptoms toften have a depressive theme, such as delusions of guilt, poverty, or illness.
Seasonal affective disorder is characterized by the onset of depression during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. This depression generally lifts during spring and summer. Winter depression, typically accompanied by social withdrawal, increased sleep, and weight gain, predictably returns every year in seasonal affective disorder.
Bipolar Spectrum Disorder is primarily characterized by extreme and often unpredictable fluctuations in mood. The mood swings and associated behaviors such as disinhibited behavior, aggression and severe depression, have a significant impact on day-to-day life, careers and relationships. Bipolar disorder has the highest suicide rate of all psychiatric disorders. Approximately 6 million Americans suffer from bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder can significantly impact productivity and performance, however, with access to effective treatment you will generally improve over time. We use a treatment that combines Cognitive Behavioral and Interpersonal Therapies and medication, when needed. Not everyone with bipolar disorder will require medication. Medication stabilizes the extreme mood swings between highs and lows. When bipolar disorder is untreated mood swings tend to become more severe and psychosis can result in extreme cases. Suicide is a serious risk for people with bipolar disorder.
There are three types of bipolar disorder: bipolar I, bipolar II and cyclothymic disorder.1
Bipolar I disorder causes dramatic mood swings between depression and manic episodes. During a manic episode, you may feel high and on top of the world or uncomfortably “revved up.” Whereas, during a depressive episode, you may feel very sad, empty or hopeless. A person is likely to experience periods of normal moods in between mania and depression.
Bipolar II disorder is diagnosed when you have at least one major depressive episode and at least one less serious manic episode, referred to as hypomania. individuals with bipolar II disorder often seek treatment because of depressive symptoms, which can be serious, and return to normal function between the depressive and hypomanic episode.
Cyclothymic disorder is the mildest form of bipolar disorder with people experiencing frequent mood swings with regular less serious bouts of hypomania and depression.
Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder and the symptoms can be extremely disabling. Individuals with schizophrenia may seem like they have lost touch with reality and symptoms can start between ages 16 and 30.
Schizophrenia sometimes runs in families and significantly increases the risk of children inheriting the disorder if the parents or a sibling has it. However, this is not always the case as research suggests many different genes may increase the risk of schizophrenia, but that no single gene causes the disorder by itself and that interactions between your genes and aspects of your environment are necessary for schizophrenia to develop. It is currently not possible to use genetic information to predict who will develop schizophrenia.
Anxiety can make you feel incapable of dealing with your life and hopeless that you will be able to reclaim it. It is this incapacitating nature that can shrink your world and leave you overwhelmed.
People with significant anxiety tend to experience anxiety or worry most days about a number of things such as personal health, work, social interactions, and everyday routine life circumstances. The fear and anxiety can cause significant problems in any or all areas of your life, such as during social interactions, at school, and at work.
Generalized anxiety disorder symptoms include:
Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge
Being easily fatigued
Having difficulty concentrating; mind going blank
Having muscle tension
Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
Having sleep problems, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, restlessness, or unsatisfying sleep
Individuals experiencing panic attacks have recurrent unexpected panic attacks— sudden periods of intense fear that come on quickly and reach their peak within minutes. Attacks can occur unexpectedly or can be brought on by a trigger, such as a feared object or situation.
During a panic attack, you may experience:
Heart palpitations, a pounding heartbeat, or an accelerated heartrate
Trembling or shaking
Sensations of shortness of breath, smothering, or choking
Feelings of impending doom
Feelings of being out of control
Individuals with panic disorder often worry about when the next attack will happen and actively try to prevent future attacks by avoiding places, situations, or behaviors they associate with panic attacks. Worry about panic attacks, and the effort spent trying to avoid attacks, can cause significant problems in various areas of your life, including agoraphobia.
A phobia is an intense fear of, or aversion to, specific objects or situations. Although it can be realistic to be anxious in some circumstances, the fear individuals with phobias experience is out of proportion to the actual danger caused by the situation or object. When you have a phobia you:
may have an irrational or excessive worry about encountering the feared object or situation,
take extreme measures to avoid the feared object or situation, and
experience immediate, intense anxiety in anticipation of, and immediately upon encountering the feared object or situation.
There are several types of phobias and phobia-related disorders:
Specific Phobias are characterized by an intense fear of specific types of objects or situations. Some examples of specific phobias include the fear of:
Specific animals, such as spiders, dogs, or snakes
Social anxiety disorder is a general intense fear of, or anxiety toward, social or performance situations. You may worry that actions or behaviors associated with your anxiety will be viewed negatively by others and cause extreme embarrassment or shame which may cause you to avoid social situations.
Agoraphobia is an intense fear of two or more of the following situations:
Using public transportation
Being in open spaces
Being in enclosed spaces
Standing in line or being in a crowd
Being outside of the home alone
Individuals with agoraphobia often avoid these situations because they think being able to leave might be difficult or impossible in the event they have panic-like reactions or other embarrassing symptoms. In the most severe form of agoraphobia, an individual can become housebound.
The brain is a social organ and we are relational creatures. Very often the primary factor in seeking mental health care is the negative impact our problems have on our relationships. When we struggle with emotional and cognitive issues it can become difficult to maintain or form new relationships. These relationships can be romantic, family, social and professional. Too often this can leave you feeling misunderstood, alone and unloved.