A Quick Guide To Fighting Depression

Just Add That
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Let’s discuss depression and the different types of depression.  Are you still having a good time celebrating?  Do you still look forward to seeing the kids rip open presents. Looking forward to grandma’s special dish? Are you worn out with the holidays yet? Are you feeling “blue”?
There are different types of depression that have been cataloged over the last few years. There are multiple causes of depression. If you recognize yourself in any of these descriptions, please see your PCP or Primary Care Provider (doctor, nurse practitioner or physician's assistant) for evaluation and treatment.

What is depression?

Depression is a feeling of hopelessness, anxiety, frustration, irritability, anger, worthlessness, guilt and lack of energy.

Have you been overeating? Over drinking? Not getting enough sleep? Are you expecting too much from the holidays or overbooking yourself for activities? Setting unrealistic goals for you and your family? Commercialism causing over expectations? Financial worries from overspending? Are you missing a loved one who has passed away or no longer in your life? Are you anxious because you have no parties and activities? You’re feeling isolated or lonely? Not getting enough sunlight, in addition to some of these other events can contribute to this depression (see SAD entry).

All of these situations can be responsible for some of the feelings we experience around the holidays. Suicide seems to peak during the holiday season, too.
HOLIDAY DEPRESSION AND/OR POST HOLIDAY DEPRESSION: also not a medical or technical term, but can be centered around the holidays. This can also be classified as SAD (see earlier entry), if gloomy weather contributes to these feelings.

What can you do?

Ask for help from family and friends with parties and activities. Know your limits and don’t agree to take on every event your work, your church, your child is involved. Lower your expectations. Don’t expect perfection. Make your goal to enjoy the event, not pull off the greatest event ever created!

Are you lonely? Have you relocated and have few or no friends. Join a club, find a church for worship, network your local opportunities. Volunteer at a homeless shelter to feed or clothe those in need. Call the local schools or board of education to find a family in need and share your bounty with them by buying a basket of food, clothing or toys. Ask at a nursing home if there are residents with no family or visitors. Go read and visit an elderly, shut-in.

You will find many of these volunteer opportunities are in need all year around. This will give you an activity to focus on and to build your friendship circle through helping others. Sometimes we focus on ourselves and don’t see the needs of those around us. We have a pity party and sometime this can become our only focus that it interferes with our ability to function normally in our lives.

Types Of Depression

MDD OR MAJOR DEPRESSIVE DISORDER: feeling depressed most days of the week.You are experiencing inability to sleep or sleeping all the time, lack of energy and feeling tired all the time, physically sluggish, poor concentration, poor decision making, mentally sluggish, weight gain or weight loss, thoughts of suicide. You do not have to have all these symptoms to be diagnosed with MDD. Your PCP will be able to evaluate you and/or refer you to someone who can diagnose and prescribe antidepressants or treatments.

PDD OR PERSISTENT DEPRESSIVE DISORDER: this is essentially MDD that lasts 2 years or longer. Treatment can consist of antidepressants and/or psychotherapy.

BIPOLAR DISORDER: also known as MANIC DEPRESSION. This is characterized by high energy and over the top moods with swings to low energy and depression. This type of depression may be treated with medications other than your typical antidepressants. Psychotherapy may be beneficial. Again this needs to be evaluated by your PCP.

SAD OR SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER: feeling tired and sluggish, feeling down during the winter months when there is little daylight/sunlight. This usually improves during spring and summer months when days are longer and you are exposed to more sunlight. SAD can be treated with light therapy and short term antidepressants.
DepressionPOSTPARTUM DEPRESSION: postpartum depression lasts longer than the “Baby Blues” that can be common after having a baby and changes in your hormone levels causing minor “blues”. Treated same as MDD.

PMDD OR PREMENSTRUAL DYSPHORIC DISORDER: risk of any of the MDD signs and symptoms. Usually treated with antidepressants and/or birth control pills to level hormones.

SITUATIONAL DEPRESSION: can be caused by inability to cope with a life changing situation. Such as a death of loved one, divorce, moving far away from family or friends or possible change in your financial status through job loss. “Situational depression” is not a medical term, but may require medical intervention, such as medication or psychotherapy. Talk to your PCP or your local mental health facility for evaluation and treatment.


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