Depression: Learn The Signs, Types, and Help To Recover

Depression. It's a word that gets thrown around a lot, but what does it mean? Depression is more than just feeling sad for a few days. It's a complex condition that can leave you feeling hopeless, unmotivated, and exhausted. The good news? Depression is treatable.

Feeling Down vs. Depression

Everyone feels down sometimes, whether after a breakup, a job loss, or even a cloudy day. It's a normal human emotion in response to life's challenges. But depression is different. It's a persistent sadness or emptiness that lasts for weeks or even months. It can interfere with your daily activities, relationships, and work. 

Here's how to tell the difference:

Sadness is an emotional state of unhappiness. Feelings of sadness can be slight or intense and last for longer periods, as with the death of a loved one.

Depression is more than just sadness. It’s a mental health problem that doesn’t always go away on its own. Lingering sadness is often a symptom of depression. But it’s certainly not the only one. Depression can make you feel worthless. You may even have physical symptoms such as body aches.

Symptoms of Depression

Depression can manifest in both physical and emotional ways. Here are some common symptoms to watch out for:

  • Feeling sad or hopeless most of the day
  • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of energy or fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or remembering things
  • Restlessness or feeling slowed down
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

If you've been experiencing five or more of these symptoms for two weeks or more, seeking help is crucial. Remember, early intervention can make a significant difference in your recovery journey.

A woman who is experiencing depression while having a cup o coffee.

Types of Depression

There isn't just one type of depression. Here are a few common variations:

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD): The most common type of depression, characterized by intense feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Symptoms are felt daily and are disruptive to day-to-day life, causing significant impairment.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Depression that occurs during the winter months due to decreased sunlight exposure. Symptoms are exacerbated due to changes in the weather and are usually more intense during winter.

Perinatal Depression: Depression experienced during pregnancy or after childbirth. Symptoms are experienced during pregnancy and for some time after the birth of a baby. Perinatal depression is a combination of both prenatal depression (depression occurring before birth) and postpartum depression (depression occurring in months after birth).

Bipolar Disorder: A condition that causes extreme mood swings, including periods of depression. Negative symptoms alternate with feelings of euphoria or intense happiness.

Treatment Options

The good news is that depression is highly treatable. Here are some standard treatment options:

Therapy: Talking to a therapist can help you develop coping mechanisms, identify negative thought patterns, and improve your overall well-being. Different treatment approaches exist, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT).

Medication: Antidepressants can help regulate brain chemicals that contribute to depression symptoms.

Lifestyle Changes: Exercise, healthy eating, and getting enough sleep can all play a role in managing depression symptoms.

EMDR Therapy for Trauma-Related Depression

Many people who experience depression also have a history of trauma. Traumatic events can leave emotional scars that contribute to feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and other symptoms of depression. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy can be a powerful tool for addressing trauma-related depression.

How EMDR Works

An EMDR Therapist performing the procedure to a person who has depression

EMDR is a unique therapy approach that combines elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy with bilateral stimulation, which can involve eye movements, tapping, or auditory tones. During EMDR sessions, you'll work with a trained therapist to identify a specific traumatic memory that may be contributing to your depression symptoms.

Here's a simplified breakdown of the EMDR process:

  1. Target Selection: You and your therapist will identify a specific traumatic memory and the negative emotions, thoughts, and physical sensations associated with it.
  2. Desensitization: While focusing on the memory and its associated emotions, you'll engage in bilateral stimulation through eye movements, tapping, or tones. EMDR is thought to use this process to reprocess the memory and reduce its emotional intensity.
  3. Installation: Once the memory feels less emotionally charged, your therapist will help you identify a positive belief about yourself to replace any negative thoughts associated with the trauma.
  4. Body Scan: You'll check in with your body for any lingering physical sensations connected to the memory.
  5. Closure: After each session, your therapist will teach you techniques to manage any emotional discomfort that may arise between sessions.

EMDR for Depression Relief

By addressing the root cause of trauma-related depression, EMDR can be a highly effective tool in alleviating symptoms. Its unique approach can help you regain control over your emotions and thoughts, offering a path toward recovery.

Reduces Emotional Intensity: EMDR helps reprocess traumatic memories, making them less emotionally charged and reducing their negative impact on your mood.

Improves Negative Thoughts: EMDR can help replace negative beliefs about yourself formed during the trauma with more positive self-perceptions.

Empowers You: EMDR equips you with coping mechanisms to manage difficult emotions and memories, fostering a sense of control and resilience.

EMDR is not a one-size-fits-all approach, but it can be a valuable tool for those struggling with depression linked to past traumas. If you want to learn more about EMDR, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional specializing in this therapy, such as Connect Clinical Services.

Hope for Recovery

Depression can feel overwhelming, but you don't have to go through this alone. Help is available, and you can feel better with the proper treatment.

Reach Out For Help

If you're struggling with depression, please remember that professional support is available. Connect Clinical Services offers various therapy options, medication management (when appropriate), and support groups in a confidential and supportive setting. Our experienced professionals are dedicated to understanding and addressing your unique needs, helping you achieve optimal mental well-being.

Remember, you are not alone. There is always hope for recovery, and with the proper support and treatment, you can overcome depression and lead a fulfilling life.