Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a complex mood disorder that affects men, women, and children. MDD is more than feeling sad — in fact, it causes a wide range of emotional and physical symptoms. To understand MDD, let’s examine this form of depression and its impact on a person’s emotional and physical well-being.
What Is MDD?
MDD is sometimes referred to as clinical depression, and it affects a person’s behaviors, feelings, and thoughts. Clinical depression can make it difficult for a person to go to work or school or perform various everyday activities. MDD can even become so severe that it leads a person to believe that life is no longer worth living.
The symptoms of MDD can impact a person every day or virtually every day, and include feelings of hopelessness and guilt, sleep disturbances, and angry outbursts. In addition, MDD can cause a person to experience back pain, headaches, and other physical issues. In severe cases, MDD can result in frequent and/or recurring thoughts of death and/or suicide.
Sadness is a common MDD symptom, too. In certain cases, sadness is mistaken for MDD, or vice versa. Yet it is important to note the differences between sadness and MDD to ensure that an individual coping with one or both of these issues can receive proper diagnosis and treatment.
How Can You Tell the Difference Between Sadness and Depression?
Sadness is a typical human emotion, and it occurs for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, life events like the loss of a loved one or a divorce trigger sadness. In other cases, financial problems, work stressors, or similar issues can cause a person to feel sad.
When sadness occurs, it is natural for a person to find relief by crying. Some people also talk with loved ones about the frustrations that are triggering sadness.
Sadness is usually temporary, and persists for only a few days or weeks. When sadness lingers for weeks, a person may be coping with clinical depression. At this point, an individual should meet with a doctor for diagnosis and treatment, and also to learn about different types of depression and their impact.
How Can You Tell If You Are Dealing with Depression?
A doctor may diagnose a patient with depression if this individual is dealing with five or more of the following symptoms for a period of two weeks or greater: depressed mood that lasts most of the day, lack of energy nearly every day, feeling worthless or guilty nearly every day, difficulty focusing and/or making decisions, trouble sleeping or sleeping too much nearly every day, little to no interest in activities that an individual previously enjoyed, feeling restless, weight gain or loss, and ongoing thoughts of death and/or suicide.
Patients may also receive a depression diagnosis if they experience headaches, cramps, digestive problems, and other physical issues that do not improve or disappear after treatment.
Each patient is different, and the number of depression symptoms, how long they happen, and their severity vary based on the individual. Depression symptoms can also impact the type of depression that a doctor diagnoses, along with depression treatment.
What Are the Different Types of Depression?
Common depression disorders include Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia), Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD), Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PDD), and Substance-Induced Mood Disorder (SIMD). Each of these types of depression has distinct features that a doctor identifies during a patient evaluation.
Dysthymia refers to a continuous form of depression that causes sadness, low self-esteem, and a general feeling of inadequacy that can last for years. The intensity of Dysthymia symptoms can change over time, but symptoms usually won’t disappear for more than two months at a time.
DMDD is a form of depression that affects children and teens, and causes them to experience intense irritability and anger. DMDD may also result in severe outbursts that go far beyond a typical reaction by a child or teen.
PDD affects women before they experience their period, and results in mood problems that are more severe than those commonly associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
SIMD causes depression symptoms that start when a person ingests drugs or alcohol, or stops taking drugs or alcohol.
Once a doctor identifies the type of depression that a patient experiences, different treatment options are discussed. Oftentimes, medication and/or psychotherapy are recommended to treat MDD and its associated symptoms.
How Are Medication and Psychotherapy Used to Treat MDD?
Medication helps reduce the effect of depression symptoms, and the type of medication prescribed to a patient coping with depression depends on the severity of symptoms and other factors. Although medication can help depression patients cope with symptoms, it sometimes causes unwanted side effects, such as nausea and vomiting. Medication may also have no effect on a person dealing with depression.
Comparatively, psychotherapy can help a depression patient work through feelings and thoughts that make it tough to deal with everyday life. There are several different approaches to psychotherapy, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), as well as group and individual therapy options.
In certain cases, medication and psychotherapy are used in combination with one another to help patients manage their depression symptoms. Over time, the results of using medication and psychotherapy to help patients cope with depression are monitored, and a treatment program may be modified as needed.
How Can TMS Therapy Be Used to Help Patients Dealing with MDD?
Medication and psychotherapy are commonly used to help patients cope with sadness and other depression symptoms. In addition, Achieve TMS offers transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy for MDD, a revolutionary treatment which provides a substitute or complement to the previously mentioned therapy options.
TMS therapy involves the use of magnetic pulses sent to the brain to stimulate neural activity. Our TMS therapy program is safe, effective, and noninvasive, and it requires no anesthesia, electrical shocks, or drugs. A TMS therapy program requires five therapy sessions per week for six weeks, with each therapy session taking approximately 20 minutes to complete. Treatment is not painful, and when a TMS therapy session is done, patients can resume their normal daily activities.
Schedule a TMS Therapy Consultation with Achieve TMS
Achieve TMS can educate depression patients about TMS therapy, and help them determine if our TMS treatment program will help them manage their depression symptoms. To learn more about TMS therapy or to schedule a consultation, please contact us online, or call or text us today at 877-822-7267.