Depression: Types, Symptoms & Treatment Options

Depression may seem like a problem that can’t touch you, but depression and other mental health problems lurk in everyone. So it doesn’t matter if you are young or old, rich or poor or where your roots are, everyone is susceptible to depression. This doesn’t mean everyone gets them, but still, the statistics about depression and mental health in the United States are shocking. About 21 million Americans suffer from major depression each year, and about 4 million of those cases are youth between the ages of 12 and 17. What’s even more shocking is that only 35% percent of people suffering from mental health problems, like (major) depression, seek help. Suffering from depression is a very serious problem for which everyone needs professional help. The chances of getting better otherwise are very slim.

Symptoms of Depression

Everyone goes through a difficult and dark period from time to time, of course, this does not mean that you do not have depression. The big question is: when is someone suffering from depression, and when is someone “just” having a hard time? Therefore, it is good to know what possible symptoms of depression are so that if you recognize them in yourself or your loved ones, you can do something about them. Symptoms of depression include:

  • Constantly feeling tired, sad, and or/empty.
  • Sleeping way too much or way too little
  • Weight Fluctuations; meaning no appetite & weight loss or increased appetite & weight gain
  • Loss of pleasure & interest in thing once loved
  • No desire for sex
  • Restlessness & irritability
  • Persistent physical symptoms that don’t go away even with treatment
  • Difficulty focussing, remembering and making decisions
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Constantly feeling guilty, hopeless, and/or worthless
  • Thinking of suicide or death

When these symptoms are experienced almost every hour of the day for more than two weeks, and you don’t feel it’s getting less, you – or your loved one – might be suffering from clinical depression. This means it is time to start seeking help – and maybe even treatment. Symptoms can differ from person to person, not everybody will experience the same symptoms or to the same degree.

The Right Diagnosis is Key

Recognizing the symptoms and accepting you might suffer from mental health issues is the first step to getting better. Afterward, it is important to talk to your professional healthcare provider – preferably a psychologist, mental health professional, or family physician. He or she will listen to your story and symptoms and, if necessary, start treatment. However, before we talk about possible treatment options and how to get better/ rid of your depression, it’s important to get the right diagnosis. After all, you can only be treated if you have the correct diagnosis.

Unhappy depressed white man sitting and lying in couch in living room feeling desperately lonely and suffering from depression. In stressed from work, anxiety, deeply sad and men Health care concept.

Types & Causes of Depression

Clinical depression can be caused by numerous factors. Including:

  • Abnormal chemical levels in the brain
  • Genetics
  • (Major) events, like stress, death, trauma and isolation
  • Continuous physical pain and (chronic) illnesses
  • Medication
  • Personality

As you can see, some causes can be harder to find than others. A major event, such as the death of a loved one or another traumatic event, is more likely to be linked to depression than abnormal chemical levels in the brain. Based on your symptoms and what’s causing them, your professional healthcare provider will diagnose you with one of the following types of depression:

  • Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
  • Bipolar
  • Perinatal & postpartum depression
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
  • Psychotic depression
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

All types differ in how long and severe the symptoms are. Some types are short-lived, such as PMDD or SAD, but recurrent. PMDD every time you are due for your period, and SAD every fall/winter. Some types come in fits and starts (bipolar) and others are constant, like MDD & PDD.

Maybe the most important question in your search for information: “How are depressions treated and is it curable?” To be completely honest with you, there is no cure for depression. Fortunately, there are more and more treatment options that allow people to get better – or learn to live with their symptoms – and live long happy, and healthy lives.

A young woman suffering from mental illness sits on the floor. Girl surrounded by symptoms of depression disorder: anxiety, crisis, tears, exhaustion, loss, overworked, tired.

Today, there are plenty of ways to treat clinical depression. So don’t be afraid: you don’t have to be hospitalized right away – although sometimes that can work very well. Clinical depression treatment options include:

  • Counseling or psychotherapy
  • Alternative medicine, like acupuncture & hypnosis
  • Prescribed antidepressants
  • Brain stimulation therapy
  • Self-help, like regular exercise, enough sleep & healthy diet.

Treatment Options

Know that the above-mentioned are just a few, there are many options, and it’s important to find a treatment that suits you, and your needs and helps you get better. If you choose a different treatment option than the one your professional healthcare provider recommends/prescribes: discuss this. He or she is the expert and can offer you the best insights. What is also important to know is that some options do not work for all types of depression. Sometimes the symptoms are so severe that there is no other option than to take antidepressants, while there are also cases where it is especially important to get back into a healthy and regular rhythm (self-help).

We can’t tell you often enough: do you recognize yourself in the information and have you been walking around with depressive feelings and thoughts for some time? Make an appointment with your professional healthcare provider as soon as possible. They can help you and help you get better again. Is this too big a step? Then the first talk to someone you trust and know is supportive. It is also important to do (enough) online research. To help you with your search, start here:

If you are thinking about suicide, it is important to seek help immediately. This can involve reaching out to a friend or family member, contacting a crisis hotline, or going to the emergency room. You can also talk to your healthcare provider or a mental health professional about your feelings and get connected with support and resources to help manage your mental health. Remember, there is always help available, and you are not alone in your struggles. It takes courage to reach out for help, but doing so can make a significant difference in your wellbeing and the quality of your life.