Introduction To Depressive Disorders

According to the World Health Organization, in 2017, over 300 million people have been affected by depression around the world. Furthermore, approximately 50% of those diagnosed with depression are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder as well.

The Facts:

  • In the past year in the United States, over 3 million individuals between the ages of 12 and 17 experienced at least one major depressive episode.
  • 60% of the population under 18 years old with depression in the United States are not receiving any type of treatment. In fact, only 19% of children with depression saw a healthcare professional for treatment.
  • 35% of the adult population with depression in the United States are not receiving any type of treatment.
  • Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and the total economic burden of depression is $210.5 billion per year from medical expenses and work absences.

Like anxiety disorders, there are many types of depressive disorders who share similar symptoms. A few of the most common depressive disorders are:

  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Seasonal Depression
  • Post-Partum Depression
  • Psychotic Depression

When it comes to depressive disorders, it is extremely important if you have any relevant symptoms that last for more than 2 weeks, you reach out to a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment options. Here is my personal depressive disorder checklist that I use to measure my own feelings and risk factors.

  • I have lost interest in doing the activities I previously enjoyed.
  • I have a constant feeling of sadness.
  • I feel hopeless.
  • I am having a lot of pessimistic thoughts.
  • I feel guilty.
  • I feel like I am a failure.
  • I feel like I let my friends and/or family members down.
  • I have a lot of anxious feelings.
  • I feel tired and have little energy most or every day.
  • It is difficult for me to fall asleep and/or stay asleep.
  • It is difficult for me to wake up; I sleep too much.
  • I have a constant headache and/or aches and pains.
  • I have recently had a major change in my weight from unplanned changes in my eating.
  • I eat too much or not enough.
  • It is difficult for me to concentrate at work and/or school.
  • It is difficult for me to concentrate on reading a book or watching television.
  • I have thoughts about how the world would be better off without me.
  • I wish I were never born.
  • I think about hurting myself.
  • I have engaged in self-harm or suicidal behaviors.
  • I have symptoms that make it difficult for me to continue with my daily life.

Now that you have gone through my personal checklist, which I use to determine if I am simply upset or dealing with my depressive disorder, it’s important to determine how you can help yourself through your depressive episodes. Please note, seeing a counselor or therapist is very important for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, but in the meantime, here are some options that have worked for me.

  • Supplements/Vitamins
  • Diffused Essential Oils
  • Daily Exercise
  • Sleeping 8-12 hours
  • Reaching Out to Crisis Hotlines
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Listening to Music
  • Positivity and Gratitude Journals
  • Self-Help Books
  • Talking to Friends and/or Family for Support

While battling depression, one of the most important things I learned is the importance of communication. When I have depressive episodes or anxiety attacks, I always make sure to reach out to someone or write down my feelings in a journal. This has helped me not only process the emotions, but also comprehend my triggers.

Depressive disorders can be extremely difficult to live with, but fortunately, there are many great ways to help you cope through the symptoms and get the relief you deserve. Meeting with a therapist to learn more about possible medication, methods of therapy, and coping mechanisms you can use is a great first step.


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