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depression notes

notes for my education group on depression for outpatient substance abuse treatment program. info pulled from WebMD who pulled heavily from the DSM. First off is criteria:

  • difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • fatigue and decreased energy
  • feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
  • feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • irritability, restlessness
  • loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • overeating or appetite loss
  • persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
  • persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
  • thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

    major depression

    To distinguish major depression, one of the symptoms must be either depressed mood or loss of interest. Also, the symptoms must be present for most of the day every day or nearly every day for at least two weeks.

    Major depression affects about 6.7% of the U.S. population over age 18, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Overall, between 20% and 25% may suffer an episode of major depression at some point during their lifetime.


    According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 10.9 million Americans aged 18 and older are affected by dysthymia. While not disabling like major depression, dysthymia can keep you from feeling your best and functioning optimally. Dysthymia can begin in childhood or in adulthood and seems to be more common in women.

    ATYPICAL DEPRESSION¬† is probably rather common. Some doctors believe that it is underdiagnosed. Researchers are considering whether or not atypical depression might be a type of dysthymia — a low-level depression that has lingered for at least two years. Researchers are also investigating the idea that atypical depression may be a milder form of bipolar disorder called cyclothymia. People with cyclothymia typically have less extreme switches in mood.

    What are the symptoms of atypical depression?

    The main characteristic of atypical depression that distinguishes it from major depression is mood reactivity. In other words, the person with atypical depression will see his or her mood improve if something positive happens. In major, or melancholic, depression, positive changes will not bring on a change in mood. In addition, diagnostic criteria call for at least two of the following symptoms to accompany the mood reactivity:

    • sleeping too much (hypersomnia)
    • eating too much (hyperphagia), resulting in weight gain
    • having a more intense reaction or increased sensitivity to rejection, resulting in problems with social and work relationships
    • having a feeling of being weighed down, paralyzed, or “leaden”

    Not to leave anyone without solutions i am a huge proponent of reframing for depression. I have bi-polar disorder and reframing allows me to function if not normally, at least largely functioning. It is the idea that perspective makes the picture and you can change how situations impact you by changing how you think about them. For me the what would normally be a depressed state I reframe as flat. It means i don’t have a lot of energy or motivation but I have removed the negative thinking that typically runs with a down mood. So its no longer depression, just a flat time. I cut myself a little slack on not getting things done, meet my major commitments and what could be a disabling condition gets reframed into at most an annoyance at best just something that makes me me. Add to that sunlight and exercise. Its simple but not easy. Make hay when the sun is shining, don’t forget its going to get better, just hang in there.

    Categories: feelings, health, work
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