Even people who have experienced other types of depression seem to have trouble understanding the profound bleakness this disorder produces in people. There is no visible point to life for them. Serious stabilizing meds are called for, usually of the lithium group. Anniversaries: Yearly anniversaries of tragic events can trigger a short-term depression.
These can be deaths of significant people like parents, spouses, or children, but can also be from a natural disaster like earthquakes or tornadoes to man-made ones like war or terrorist attacks. Many times people just get depressed and don't know why and then suddenly realize: it is the anniversary of the tragedy. One of my patients had the smell of crisp air in the fall as her trigger.
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Malaise: Then there are the people who have been down for so long, they are obviously depressed and have not been motivated to do much of anything, especially getting help. For a few, they suddenly turn the corner and get quite energized. They finally start taking care of business, seem happy, and are now getting things done. Then one day you find they've killed themselves. All that energy was finally generated towards a future they believed had the best viable outcome: death.
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Many times they secretly went about getting everything put in order. Now they had the energy to complete a goal. That was part of the problem when Prozac first came on the market.
People were getting enough energy to activate their plans but not enough to see clear of their problems. Psychosis: Psychotic depression is one most people only hear about on TV shows. The person becomes so disabled they become catatonic. That is, they shut down to such a level where they don't even move or speak.
They take their mental ball and go home where nobody can find them, deep inside their mind.
These people end up in a hospital and on serious medication, at least for awhile. Some have to be on it for years, especially if they get to a place where their minds start short-circuiting so they have hallucinations and delusions. Predicament: Situational depression is from an overwhelming predicament. The event is perceived as life-changing, like a death, job loss, pregnancy, or divorce.
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Most of the time talk therapy, even with a friend who can debrief the victim, puts them on the road to recovery. PMDD affects women during the second half of their menstrual cycles. Their hormones have drastically changed, slamming their mental state. It can really pull the rug out from the sufferers who just want to curl up in a ball and do nothing or find themselves having dark thoughts seemingly out of nowhere.
They knew they were supposed to be happy but somehow just felt trapped or stuck. Somehow instead of feeding them, it sucked all the energy out of them. These women can spiral down to the point of tears and helplessness. If not addressed appropriately, this may darken into more debilitating mental illnesses endangering both the mother and the infant. Children: Our limited understanding of depression and its symptomatology may lead to missing the clues or dismissing the illness in children and adolescents. They can be seen as acting out or trying for perfection. Many young people are being driven to perfection with academics, sports, or popularity.
The increase in the number of cutters and suicide attempts or completions in the past 15 years is appalling. These all-or-nothing achievement systems our societies are promoting are not making the world a better place and seem to be an incubator for adolescent depression and suicide. This belief of perfection as the only viable way to survive has taken the survival of the fittest nature program and cruelly adapted it to the raising of our own children.
They should not feel like they first have to survive our parenting by earning the right to be loved.
To live like they have to constantly perform is indeed depressing. Irritability and sadness may be missed by not even allowing them to be depressed or dismissing it as a stage and being uncooperative. Children are not supposed to earn love. It isn't supposed to be conditional. Atypical: We can lastly throw in atypical depression, which basically means the diagnostician hasn't a clue as to what set you off. Sometimes with medication the real issue comes to light, where other times talk therapy opens the door to realization.
Depression is real and kills scores of people each year. Two serious problems that are directly associated with teenage depression and anxiety are suicidal thinking or behavior , and substance abuse. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 24, and we know that most kids who commit suicide have been suffering from a psychiatric illness. Especially at risk are teenagers who hide their depression and anxiety from parents and friends.
Similarly, the majority of teenagers who develop substance abuse problems also have a psychiatric disorder, including, most commonly, anxiety or depression, which is another important reason to get treatment in a timely way. Two other problems associated with teenage girls—that is, occurring with greater frequency in girls than boys—are eating disorders and self injury, or cutting.
Girls who have eating disorders often show no signs of depression; indeed, they are often very high-functioning, competitive girls who have a distorted body image, but not the symptoms of depression. Fortunately, early involvement of health care professionals can shorten the period of illness and increase the likelihood of her not missing important life lessons. The most common treatment a mental health professional is apt to use is some form of cognitive behavioral therapy, and depending on how young the child is, it may involve teaching the parents as well.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is based on the idea that a person suffering from a mood disorder is trapped in a negative pattern of thought. Depressed kids tend to evaluate themselves negatively, interpret the actions of others in a negative way, and assume the darkest possible outcome of events.
Similarly, a child suffering from anxiety is overwhelmed by fears of negative outcomes long before events occur. In CBT, we teach sufferers to challenge those negative thoughts, to recognize the pattern and train themselves to think outside it. And in many cases we see real improvement in teenagers with depression and anxiety.
If the anxiety or depression is moderate to severe, treatment may involve medications such as antidepressants. For both anxiety and depression, a combination of psychotherapy and medication usually works better than either alone. Learn more about treatment for anxiety and depression. Steingard, MD, is associate medical director and senior pediatric psychopharmacologist at the Child Mind Institute.