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Millions of people in the United States alone will struggle with depression during any given year, some yet to receive help for their very real illness and others currently receiving treatment. "Depression" has become such a ubiquitous word, such a large part of our everyday vocabulary, that it's hard for people living without it to realize just how serious depression can be, and how hard it can be for people suffering from depression to find a treatment plan that truly works for them, one that lifts the dark cloud and improves their quality of life. Not only is managing depression harder than many people believe, there are also more options available than have crossed the minds of most.
Types Of Depression
Though everyone feels down now and again, clinical depression comes with distinct signs and symptoms, and falls under three main diagnoses — major depression, persistent depressive disorder, and bipolar disorder.
People suffering from major depression get hit hard, for at least two weeks, with such symptoms as feeling sad, hopeless, worthless, anxious, alone, irritated and restless. They will have lost interest in activities they previously enjoyed, find it hard to complete everyday activities, and become unable to concentrate or remember things. Insomnia, a loss of appetite, fatigue, digestive symptoms and headache can also be part of the clinical picture. People with major depression may struggle with suicidal feelings or attempt to commit suicide. Major depression isn't, as the name already suggests, the kind of "blues" all humans suffer from sometimes, when bad news comes our way. Major depression is, rather, a real risk to the patient's life, something nobody would want to live with. Episodes, though they may be recurrent, do come to an end, however.
Persistent depressive disorder, on the other hand, can feature all of the same symptoms as major depression, but lasts for much longer, for two years or longer without relief. Even though the symptoms of persistent depressive disorder do tend to be milder than those of major depression, PDD can rob sufferers of their quality of life over a long period of time.
Bipolar disorder, perhaps now the most famous of the three main types of depression, is characterized by alternating episodes of depression and highs people without it do not normally attain. Both manic and depressive states can lead people with bipolar to need high-quality mental health care, however, the depressive phase will lead to symptoms very similar as those of major depression.
How Is Depression Treated?
Antidepressant medications have become such an essential part of the modern approach to managing depression that it is frequently the first time of treatment, then followed by talk therapy and lifestyle changes that may help patients improve their mood.
The vast majority of depressed people — over 90 percent, actually — will receive outpatient-only treatment. Although that sounds like a lot, this leaves a rather significant 10 percent of depressed people who need inpatient care, as well as an unknown number of people who aren't able to get what they need from outpatient treatment.
Those who pose a proven risk to themselves or others may be committed to a mental health facility against their wishes, after a doctor, a relative, a friend or a law enforcement agency sets the wheels in motion. However, not all of those who find themselves in inpatient treatment for depression are there involuntarily.