This is your brain…on a pogo stick. Depression

Crash. Boom.

In this third post in our mood disorder series, we’re going to chat about the face of depression, which unfortunately is generally sad. As with bipolarity, we’re going to have to cut to the chase because the subject matter is expansive and the space small. So let’s get after it.

Within the context of the DSM-IV-TR, a diagnosis of depression is grounded in the presence of a major depressive episode. So how does one come up with one of those? Well, don’t forget this is all very subjective, but five or more of these have to present over a two-week period; and a deviation from previous functioning has to have occurred…

  • Being super bummed-out most of the day, most every day
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that once brought joy (anhedonia)
  • Significant decrease in appetite or noted weight loss or gain
  • Sleeping way too little or way too much on a daily basis
  • Feeling restless or lethargic
  • Plummeting energy level or fatigue
  • Feeling worthless or unduly guilty
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating, making decisions
  • Preoccupation with death, suicidal ideation

It’s important to note that these symptoms can’t be better accounted for by, say, bereavement or a medical/drug issue.

Okay, so now we’ve had our major depressive episode. Well, there are two ways we can pull off a diagnosis of major depressive disorder. And that’s by having a single major depressive episode or experiencing them on an ongoing basis.

Oh, and a major depressive disorder is specified in terms of the presence of psychotic features, catatonia, atypical features, persistence, postpartum onset, and recovery between episodes.

We can’t forget about dysthymic disorder. It’s simply a depressive disorder without the presence of major depressive episodes.

Anyone who’s suffered from any degree of depression will tell you it’s an awful experience. And the foundation of one’s depression can be either endogenous (biologically driven) or exogenous (situational), or both.

Significant to our efforts is the fact that depression and anxiety so very often present together. And we believe that’s due to both similar neurochemistry, as well as good old fashioned human feelings…

Troubling depression would make anyone anxious, just as chronic anxiety would make anyone depressed.

How ’bout checking in again for more in our mood disorder series…and other good stuff?