Jul 20th 2023
Depression is a mental health condition that causes low mood and can significantly impact daily, professional, and social functioning. Symptoms of depression vary from person to person but many people experience symptoms in stages. Depressive disorders can be treated with therapy and medication.
Symptoms of depression are often different for everyone. Some individuals may experience a few symptoms, while others experience many. In addition, the severity of symptoms can vary from person to person.
Symptoms of depression can include :
The length and severity of these stages vary depending on the person and how the condition is managed.
Additionally, some people may experience recurring episodes of depression before entering the recovery stage. Some individuals may also experience fluctuations in their symptoms’ severity and overall well-being. As such, the stages of depression may also refer to the severity of symptoms, such as mild, moderate, and severe .
Depression can, however, be a stage of other conditions or episodes of distress. For example, depression is often associated with the five stages of grief, which occur following the death of a loved one .
It’s important to note, however, that depressive symptoms and a clinical depression diagnosis are not the same thing. For example, someone experiencing bereavement of a loved one wouldn’t be diagnosed with depression, although they can certainly experience depression alongside bereavement. It’s also important to remember that the stages of grief are not the same as the stages of depression.
Dr. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross initially discussed the five stages in 1969 to understand and outline the reaction to terminal illness and expected death . This model was later applied to general loss, including grief and significant life changes.
These stages are widely known and utilized, although this model has other variations. For example, due to negative connotations, some have questioned the use of specific terms, such as ‘denial.’ Similarly, some consider this model too linear and believe that the experience of grief and loss can be fluid and fluctuating .
However, recognizing the stages of grief can help provide therapeutic support and intervention. They can also help others to understand and empathize with any changes in mood and behavior that can occur throughout the process .
If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of depression or are struggling to cope with the stages of grief, it is advisable to seek professional help as early as possible. Professional intervention can help you manage your emotional distress and find ways to cope with and reduce your symptoms.
Left untreated, symptoms of depression can worsen and cause increasing issues with functioning and well-being. Treatment can include therapy, medication, and self-care techniques .
Various types of therapy can be used to help manage symptoms of depression or emotional distress. This could include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT), family therapy, or group therapy .
Antidepressant medication can help with managing symptoms of depression. There are several types of antidepressant medication, and the effects can vary from person to person. An individual may need to try more than one medication before finding one that works well for them.
Your doctor may prescribe you a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), such as citalopram, sertraline, or fluoxetine, as these are generally effective with a low risk of side effects. However, if this medication is ineffective or inappropriate, other types of antidepressants can be prescribed .
If your doctor feels this is appropriate or necessary for you, your doctor may also prescribe other medications, such as sleeping tablets or anti-anxiety medications. This will depend on your symptoms and your response to the medications.
To prevent adverse effects, you must continue taking medications exactly as your doctor has prescribed .
When experiencing symptoms of depression or any other emotional distress, it is important to try and look after your general well-being. There are several ways to maintain or improve self-care, such as :
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