Understanding different types of depression

Because of Covid-19, many people are currently experiencing symptoms of depression for the first time. This can include low energy or lethargy, feeling overwhelmed, negative thoughts, lack of appetite, overeating,  difficulty sleeping, relationship problems, intrusive thoughts, and existential crisis.

There are different types of depression, and it is important to understand your own situation thoroughly to assess what you are going through.

Some depression is hereditary in families and has a biological origin. This type of depression is difficult to conquer through therapy alone and often requires medication in addition to therapy. If you have tried everything that you can behaviorally, and chronic depression is still not lifting, then it may be time to consider taking medication. Remember that medication is not a cure all by itself, but that it can make it easier to do the work that you need to do behaviorally to change your life.

Situational depressions are somewhat different. They can happen to anyone, for any number of reasons. They are largely dependent on external circumstances rather than internal biology, and can be brought on by relationship break ups, loss of job, financial problems, health problems,  grief, trauma, and national crises.

While some people take medications for a short-term problem, others choose not to take it  and can work through the problem without medication. It is important to remember that prescribed psychotropic medications can also have a withdrawal syndrome, and that the longer you take them, the greater the chance that you may have difficulty getting off. The best way to get off of medication is to taper gradually under the supervision of a psychiatrist.

If you are experiencing a situational depression right now, as many people are during Covid-19  and the very tense climate in our country, know that this too shall pass. Situational depressions are temporary, although they can be recurring. Seek help from a qualified professional, and use therapy, psychiatry, and support groups to help you get through. You will get to the other side with wraparound support.

Dr. Anita Gadhia-Smith

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