What are depression and mood disorders and how do you treat them?

Major Depressive Disorder

Depression is a clinical term for an extended period of sadness and/or hopelessness that interferes with one’s daily life. It may be diagnosed as major depressive disorder or persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia). Depression may also be part of bipolar disorder, which also involves periods of elevated energy and mood. Some people experience depressed mood after the loss of a loved one, a breakup, or other painful life circumstance. Depression may also occur during a particular season of the year (seasonal affective disorder).

Individuals with depression may experience the following symptoms:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, or being “slowed down”
  • 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
  • Restlessness or irritability
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment

Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)

  • Depressed most of the day, for more days than not for at least 2 years.
  • At least 2 of these symptoms are present:
    • Poor appetite
    • Insomnia (sleeping too little) or hypersomnia (sleeping too much)
    • Low energy or fatigue
    • Low self-esteem
    • Poor concentration or difficulty making decisions, feelings or hopelessness

How is depression and Persistent Depressive Disorder Treated?

Treatments for depression persistent depressive disorder include talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)medication such as SSRIs, lifestyle changes such as exercise or improved nutrition, light therapy lamps, or any combination of these things. CAPS has a light therapy lamp that may be used at Thompson House, by request – contact CAPS to inquire.

If you would like to be assessed and/or treated for depression symptoms, you can make an appointment at CAPS or seek an off-campus provider.

If you are currently feeling suicidal or unsafe, please use our crisis resources.


How to get stuff done when you are depressed

Clinical depression – major, post-partum, atypical, melancholic, persistent

Don’t Suffer from your depression in silence

Nikki Webber Allen | TED Residency | June 2017


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