Food can impact your life in a positive or negative way. Some foods are better for you than others. But what you eat can do more than just keep your body healthy – it can also help improve a mental disorder such as depression.
Your thoughts and emotions can manifest physically. That’s why, when you’re dreading something, you’ll have the feeling of knots in your stomach or you might get a headache stressing about it.
There may not be any physical illness actually going on, but your mind is projecting the fear into a physical ailment. You can develop stomachaches, backaches and a whole host of other physical manifestations all related to what’s going on in your brain.
Some studies have shown that it’s a two-way street. What goes on in your body can also have an impact on your brain and your emotions. Just as what you think can alter how you feel physically, what you eat can alter how feel emotionally and mentally.
When there are issues going on in your digestive system, that can lead to you feeling stressed out. It can also lead to feelings of anxiety – and if not addressed, can even lead to you experiencing depression.
Medical research has determined that probiotics are good for your digestive system. They keep everything working the way it’s supposed to. But now, it’s known that probiotics do far more for the body than just keeping the digestive system running smoothly.
The research done involving a human study showed that this healthy bacteria can actually lessen the symptoms that are associated with depression. The probiotics have a positive impact on the portion of the brain that’s linked with depression symptoms as well as impacting other areas of the brain.
Patients who are currently dealing with depression can take probiotics and will discover that the bacteria can take away the feelings of anxiety, irritability and feeling blue.
It can boost mood levels. The reason probiotics can boost mood levels is because they work to decrease the reaction to stress that fuels depression. When a person takes probiotics, the bacteria works to increase Lactobacillus, which in turn restores the feel good hormones in the brain.
By using probiotics, patients now have a new choice in treating depression symptoms – one that doesn’t carry the unhealthy side effects that depression medications sometimes have.
When you add probiotics to your diet regularly, not only can you reverse the symptoms of depression, but you may be able to keep them from occurring in the future.
Most people are somewhat familiar with some of the well-known symptoms that are associated with depression such as fatigue, sleeping too much, withdrawing socially, irritability and anxiety.
But one of the first signs of severe depression is often the most overlooked. When someone is suffering from severe depression, they will often neglect to care for their hygiene.
Not being interested in self-care is a hallmark of the condition. It’s tied in with the low energy, a struggle to concentrate, and suicidal thoughts often associated with severe depression.
This form of self-neglect occurs because the person who is dealing with it loses interest in wanting to take care of his or herself. They often feel that there’s no use in trying because it won’t matter.
There are several areas where you may notice obvious signs of neglected hygiene in someone struggling with severe depression. They may forego oral hygiene by not brushing their teeth and by not caring how their breath smells to others.
When someone has severe depression, they often don’t neglect their hygiene consciously. They simply don’t care. The effort just isn’t worth it to them. Someone in the midst of severe depression will often not bathe or shower.
They may develop a strong body odor and seemingly be unaware of their state. People who reach this level of depression can go weeks at a time without bathing or showering.
If someone points out their state, the depressed person often either doesn’t respond or will react in anger. You can notice someone who is in this state of hygiene neglect by the condition of their hair.
They’ll often not wash or brush their hair. As a result, their hair will look tangled, greasy or limp. Severe depression and hygiene neglect can also be noticed by the state of someone’s dress.
They will often either not change out of their clothing for days or weeks at a time or they’ll wear dirty or stained clothing. You might notice that the person doesn’t take care of their shaving needs.
Men may let their facial hair grow to the point it becomes unkempt. Women may allow their leg or armpit hair to grow and not care about shaving it. Many people in the state of severe depression won’t trim their finger or toenails.
While some people with this level of depression aren’t willing to care for their hygiene, some have reached the point where they’re no longer able to mentally cope with caring for their needs. These are all warning signs that indicate the person needs a mental health checkup.
The cause of depression isn’t the same cause for every person. Most people still hide their struggle with the condition because they don’t want to face the fact that it’s something they can’t simply shake off.
What some people do is try to ignore the situation when there might be an easy fix. What these people don’t realize is that their eating habits could be influencing the depression.
There are millions of people who silently battle this mental health condition and it’s because they believe their only choice is to go on medication. But by changing their eating habits, the depression can sometimes be cured.
You probably already know that by eating healthy, you feel better physically, but you may not realize that when you eat healthier, you also feel better emotionally. A study showed that poor eating habits and depression are tied together.
By switching unhealthy eating habits to a diet that’s rich in foods that are good for you, you can get rid of depression in some cases. The diet that’s helpful for treating depression is one that’s made up of lean meats, fruits and vegetables.
The healthier you eat, the better you’ll feel. That’s because the foods that you eat make a difference in not just how much stamina and energy you end up having, but what your mood levels, whether they’re up or down, will be.
When you eat foods that are high in sugars – such as junk food – you’ll notice that you immediately feel a quick burst of energy as well as feel happier. But if you pay attention, you’ll see that neither the energy nor the happiness lasts long.
That’s because when the energy you received from those fast acting sugars drops, you not only feel tired, but you feel down again. Foods that are unhealthy for the body are also unhealthy for the brain – and that includes in the area of stabilizing moods.
If you’re someone who uses caffeine to help you get through your day, that can also contribute to how you feel. An abundance of caffeine can make you feel anxious and can rob you of a good night’s sleep.
To help them deal with how they feel, some people will drink alcohol to numb their emotions. The only problem with that is that the numbness works in a negative way.
Instead of feeling better, you only end up feeling worse than you did before you drank the alcohol. Plus, the emotions are right there waiting for you once the effects of the alcohol wear off. If you make sure that you get the right amount of healthy foods, you can see a boost in your mood as well as your energy level.
When you’re struggling with depression, finding the right treatment is important. The mental disorder is one of the most disabling issues that people have. Sadly, too many people suffer in silence, worried about the ramifications if they speak up.
This isolation makes them feel like they’re all alone. Some people don’t speak up because they think of the treatments as something negative. They worry that the treatment will be far worse than dealing with the depression.
But there is scientific proof that there are positive treatments for dealing with depression. One of the most highly recognized methods of treatment is cognitive behavior therapy.
This treatment is based on the knowledge that it’s how a person thinks that impacts their depression. People can get caught up in thought patterns that are negative and disabling.
By learning how to replace the habit of negative thoughts with positive ones, it changes the brain’s go-to response in situations as well as when dealing with stress.
Cognitive behavioral therapy can be used as a lifelong tool for helping people who have depression. This method can be used in place of or in addition to medication for depression.
Another well-known form of therapy is known as psychoanalysis and psychodynamic. With psychoanalysis, this therapy is for longer use than cognitive behavioral therapy.
It’s used to show someone struggling with depression how their subconscious works to play into their depression. The treatment focuses on figuring out the why behind the reason for the depression.
It looks into the life of the patient to see where family issues, emotional wounds or other traumas have led to the development of depression. Psychodynamic therapy is considered to be a long term therapy.
The goal of this treatment is to create self-awareness in the person with depression. The treatment aims to find a possible cause between the present actions, feelings and conditions – including depression – that are linked with something in the subconscious.
Not all therapies are long term. There are some short-term ones, such as mindfulness, used in acceptance and commitment therapy or emotion focused therapy.
Another positive treatment for depression is exercise. This can be used to effectively treat less severe forms of the condition because exercise gives a person the same mood boost they get from low level prescription anti-depressants.
Meditation is also a positive treatment for depression just like mindfulness is. Both work to help the patient live in the present. They recognize their thoughts and become more aware of negative thoughts, which are linked with depression. These treatments help patients learn to recognized faulty or distorted thoughts and views and lessen stress.
Sometimes people will say that they’re depressed when they’re actually feeling down, which isn’t the same thing as truly having depression. You can have situational depression – where you’re feeling blue because of something that’s happened – but unlike true depression, situational depression doesn’t last for long periods of time.
There are well known symptoms that determine whether or not a person has depression. Someone who’s depressed might stop eating as much or they might suddenly eat more than they used to.
They may lose interest in activities that they usually do. They might experience trouble sleeping or feel dragged down by fatigue. Other symptoms include having trouble focusing or reaching a point of thinking about suicide.
While depression can occur for any reason, there are certain conditions that can lead to depression. People who have health conditions that lead to depression (such as diabetes) will often discover that if their condition is treated, their depression gets better.
People who have any kind of anxiety disorder or panic attacks are more prone to develop depression. Anyone who struggles with health issues that are psychological in nature – such as bulimia – can develop depression.
Anorexia is also linked to it. People who have eating disorders often have emotional issues as well. Anyone who has suffered through a trauma and develops PTSD will often find that depression can strike without warning.
This is because people who have PTSD have trouble coping with life. Their experiences rock their sense of safety and cause their beliefs in what was good and what was normal to be challenged.
Anyone with ADHD is also at risk of developing depression. This mental disorder has a link with depression because the person can experience feeling overwhelmed, feelings of negativity, and a struggle to cope.
Surprisingly, there are some habits that an also lead to depression. People who struggle with substance abuse – such as with illegal drugs, prescription drugs or alcohol – can battle depression.
One theory is because certain medications and alcohol can alter the user’s mental and emotional state due the chemical makeup. For example, alcohol is a known depressant and medical studies have shown that using drugs such as marijuana can increase the risk of developing depression for some people.
Regular cigarette smoking is linked with depression, as is a lack of exercise or being heavily overweight. People who have trouble sleeping are more likely to develop depression.
Health conditions that affect neurological function such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease can lead to depression. Cancer is also a risk factor for depression as are heart conditions.
People who have thyroid problems, especially an underactive thyroid, are at risk. Women are at a higher risk because of fluctuating hormones. Menopause can trigger depression just like giving birth can.
Life conditions can lead to depression as well. These are conditions such as going through a divorce, making a move to a new area, a job loss, the death of a friend or family member, or financial struggles.
Depression affects millions of people, but there are some areas of the world that don’t have as many cases as other areas do. Some countries have very low statistics when it comes to this mental condition and there are some common links that explain what makes those areas unique.
Regardless of where you live in the world, depression can cause you to experience anxiety, stress, sadness and a loss of interest in the things that you once enjoyed doing.
Some situations in life can make the risk of depression higher – such as the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, a divorce, a move and physical causes. Your social and economic status can play a part in depression.
But this depends on where you live. In the United States, economic status plays a bigger role in the development of depression than in countries around the world.
In countries that are not as developed, that are not as modernized, depression is not as prevalent. One study points to the fact that with modernization comes more pressure and with that, more stress.
Both are linked to depression. When an area doesn’t have the “keeping up with the Jones’s” mentality, there is less prevalence toward depression. People are happier with less.
Micronesia is considered to be one of the countries where depression rates are extremely low and one of the reasons for this is because the country does not have the same modern living style as other countries or as the United States.
When an area is not as modern and the living is not fast paced, there’s less social pressure, less chaos and more time to relax. Life is lived at a slower pace than in areas where the depression rates are high.
There’s less value placed on material things than in other countries where depression is higher. Location is a good indicator of how low the depression status is.
When you’re in an area that’s not in the middle of all the turmoil and doesn’t have access to news and other negative interactions 24/7, there are fewer cases of depression.
In areas that do have modernization, media and unlimited access to social media, the cases of depression are higher. There is an entire group of islands in the South Pacific where depression is almost unheard of.
In the Kingdom of Tonga, which is made up of over 170 islands, daily life is about the beaches and the rainforest rather than stress, anxiety and depression. One study showed that living near or around the ocean improves psychological well-being for a number of emotionally and mentally connected disorders – and that includes depression.
According to the World Health Organization, there are at least 350 million people struggling with depression. While this mental health issue is fairly common, if it isn’t treated, the condition can worsen.
Many people suffer in silence because, despite the spotlight depression has been under recently, there is still a social stigma attached to it. People are reluctant to speak about it for fear of how it could affect how others view them.
But speaking up about depression is ironically one of the best things that someone who is struggling with the condition can do. By not talking about it, the issue can deepen – but once it’s out in the open, you can find the therapy needed to cure or treat the condition.
Depression can strike anyone of any age and any social background. Successful people struggle and people who don’t have financial means struggle as well. The more people strive for in life, the further they can sink in depression because the fear of failure increases.
The more successful someone is, the less likely they are to want to speak out about their depression. But there is a way that anyone who is struggling with depression can have life altering conversations – by using online bots.
These bots can engage people in conversation that allows them to speak out about their issue without fear. These bots rely on the use of conversations that are based with therapy expertise in the field of mental health.
The bots have been scientifically proven to be effective and the bot can interact using a language system that’s natural and can respond to the person it’s chatting with.
This mental health therapy proved that when a person suffering from depression chatted with an online bot, it lowered the feelings associated with depression such as anxiety and sadness.
An online bot used as therapy for depression might seem unusual, but online chatting with automated bots has been around for years. The mental health ones are simply used specifically to treat depression.
The way these bots work is by allowing people to check how they feel and make discoveries about the inner workings of themselves. It does this using a chat box and relies on the same in person Cognitive Behavior Therapy you would get from seeing a counselor.
These online bots can interact with you to see what your mood is like and how things are going for you. The bot can even give you resources to use that can help you deal with what you’re experiencing at that moment.
There are several different bots that a person can use and they’re all a discreet way to find therapy for depression. These artificial intelligence bots can be used to lift the weight of depression from your shoulders because they can read your emotions and apply techniques to help.
Many people have bouts of depression they have to deal with once in awhile, but when the condition begins to affect your daily life and you can’t seem to pull yourself out of it, you may have a long-term depressive disorder and need help getting a diagnosis and treatment.
It’s important that you know which type you have so you can seek help – whether it be in the form of medications, lifestyle changes or speaking to a therapist. Sometimes, there are events in your life causing the problem and other times it’s due to hormonal changes.
There are two different types of long-term depressive disorders – major and persistent. If you’re depressed for two years or longer, you could be suffering from persistent depressive disorder.
Persistent depressive disorder can consist of dysthymia – low-grade depression and chronic (major) depression. Major depression consists of feeling depressed most of the time and may be due to chemical changes in your body.
It’s important to be able to recognize symptoms and choose the best method of treatment for your type of depression. A doctor can certainly help you pinpoint it, but it’s good to have awareness of it yourself, too.
Causes of Long-Term Depression Disorders
Certain events in your life can bring on long-term depression, but so can chemical changes in your brain. It’s important to know the causes of the various types of long-term depression so you can choose the proper treatment.
Persistent (dysthymia) depression occurs at various times during the year, such as before and during a woman’s menstrual cycle. You’re not depressed all the time, but during those days and weeks you’re definitely suffering from low moods and likely experience other symptoms of depression.
SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a type of long-term depression caused mostly by lack of sunlight and occurs during certain times of the year (mostly winter months). It will typically go away during spring and summer when the sun is brightest.
Although the exact cause of long-term depressive disorders isn’t known, scientists have examined such factors as biological differences, brain chemistry, inherited traits and life events.
Biological differences mean that there are actual physical alterations in the brain that trigger depression. How significant these changes are isn’t yet known, but they may help to find the exact cause in the future.
Brain chemicals play a role in long-term depressive disorders when neurotransmitters don’t function properly. If neurotransmitters don’t interact with neurocircuits in the brain mood stability may be altered, causing depression.
Inherited traits for depression could come from your blood relatives who have suffered from the condition in the past. Genealogy research will eventually help to find the genes causing the depression.
Traumatic life events such as a death in the family often triggers persistent depressive disorder, but as time goes by the depression usually lessens – especially if the person takes lifestyle steps needed or takes medication to pull him or her out of it.
Personality traits such as low self-esteem, having a co-dependent or dependent relationship, having a history of personality disorders, negativity, being critical with yourself or living life with pessimism can add to the possible causes of long-term depression.
Causes of long-term depression may also be linked with other issues in your life such as anxiety or mood disorders, relationship or family conflicts, substance abuse, work or school difficulties that cause low productivity.
Change in quality of life, medical or chronic pain issues, thoughts of suicide or mental health and personality disorders may also trigger bouts of depression that may be difficult to overcome.
Recognizing the Symptoms of Long-Term Depressive Disorders
It’s important to recognize the symptoms of long-term depressive disorders – either persistent or major – to seek the proper treatment. These symptoms may begin in early childhood, the teen years or in young adults and become chronic as time goes by.
Persistent depressive disorders may be intense or mild over the years, but the intensity can change as the disorder continues. Most of the time, symptoms of long-term depressive disorders only go away for a couple of months at a time, but they might also trigger bouts with major depression (termed double depression).
These symptoms may include profound sadness or loss of interest in daily activities, feelings of hopelessness and emptiness, feeling incapable of completing the least of tasks, extreme fatigue and total lack of energy.
People with long-term depressive disorders may also become excessively angry or irritable and may have trouble making decisions or concentrating. He or she may also have problems at work due to productivity issues and effectiveness.
Depressed people often avoid others and have feelings of guilt or worries. They may also begin to overeat or have no appetite at all. Children may experience depression by expressing mood swings and irritability.
Psychotic depression is a form of major depression, which may include symptoms of hallucinations, belief that others are trying to inflict harm (paranoia) or false beliefs (delusional).
PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder) is a persistent long-term depressive disorder that may be experienced at the start of or during a woman’s menstrual cycle. Symptoms may include anxiety, fatigue, insomnia or sleeping too much, lack of mental acuity, mood swings, irritability, change in appetite and feelings of being overwhelmed.
Atypical depression is a persistent long-term depressive disorder which is characterized by a depressive mood that can be lifted by a positive happening in the person’s life. But, the positive mood is only temporary and can be a harbinger of other depressive disorders.
With Atypical depression, the person may experience an overall heaviness in the legs and arms, sleep more than normal, increase in appetite and sensitivity to criticism. Postpartum depression (Peripartum) may occur in women who have given childbirth during the weeks or months afterward and could be characterized by anxiety and other symptoms of depression.
Situational depression may be diagnosed by your doctor as a stress response syndrome because it often occurs during a particularly stressful event in your life such as a divorce, job loss or death in the family.
You would likely experience the same symptoms as in other types of long-term depression. A person diagnosed with the long-term depressive disorder, Bipolar Disorder, often experiences symptoms such as mood swings ranging from extreme highs to extreme lows.
The lowest phase of the disorder expresses the same symptoms as major depression. A mental healthcare provider can guide you through the maze of symptoms of a long-term depressive disorder and help you choose the right treatment.
Diagnosis and Treatments for Long-Term Depressive Disorders
It’s best to seek help from a mental health specialist to diagnose and treat long-term depressive disorders. The doctor will likely run tests to ensure that the symptoms of depression aren’t caused by a physical condition such as hypothyroidism.
If you’ve been suffering from depression for more than two weeks, your doctor will ask for a full medical evaluation. Emphasis will be placed on your family and personal psychiatric past.
There are several ways to treat long-term depression symptoms – medications and/or psychotherapy. You may benefit from trying both forms of treatment at the same time. Severe depression may require a hospital stay, especially if you have suicidal thoughts.
Long-term depression treatment options include medications such as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) which are known to be safer than some other types of antidepressants.
Some medications used to treat Atypical depression include bupropion, mirtazapine, trazodont, nefazodone and vortioxetine. SNRIs (Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors such as duloxetine (Cymbalta) are also used to treat long-term depression.
Tricyclic drugs such as tricyclic antidepressants may be used, but you may experience more severe side effects. These drugs may be prescribed if treatment with SNRIs hasn’t been effective.
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors may cause even more serious side effects and require that you adhere to a strict diet because of the chance of the drug having an adverse side effect to certain foods such as cheese and wine.
Your doctor may also suggest that you take two antidepressants that complement each other such as adding a mood stabilizer or anti-anxiety of stimulant medication. If none of these medications seem to reduce your symptoms of depression, the doctor may recommend brain stimulation therapy.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is one form of treatment in which electric currents are sent through the brain to help the neurotransmitters function properly. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) works by placing a treatment coil against the scalp and sending magnetic pulses that help to regulate mood and depression.
Keep in mind that there are no physical tests such as blood, X-rays, MRIs or other forms of testing that can be used to diagnose long-term depressive disorders. If you find yourself depressed most of the time, try to take notes on your feelings so you can relay them to your doctor.
Tips for Managing Long-Term Depressive Disorders
The first step in managing long-term depressive disorders is seeking the correct diagnosis and treatment plan. Then, you can discuss lifestyle options with your doctor. Such changes in lifestyle habits as healthy diet, regular exercise, avoiding alcohol and stopping smoking are all great first steps in managing depression.
You’ll also need friends and family members to support you in your quest to be free of these debilitating symptoms. Developing positive habits and thoughts are important in improving your feelings of well-being.
Even if you’re taking medications or other forms of treatment for depression, you might also benefit from discussing your condition with a therapist. Psychotherapy lets you speak to a professional to identify the negatives in your life and how to replace them with positive thoughts and actions.
The mind/body connection is crucial when dealing with any type of depression – especially long-term depressive disorders. Acupuncture, yoga, meditation, aerobic exercise, massage therapy guided imagery and any type of activity that engages the mind and the body together is helpful, but not always enough to treat depression without medication to go along with it.
Never stop taking an anti-depressant medication without talking to your healthcare provider. Although they’re not addictive, a physical reaction can happen when you miss several doses.
You may experience withdrawal and an abrupt worsening of depression symptoms. If you want to stop taking the medication, talk to your doctor about a slow and safe method to decrease or halt the dosage.
Best Natural Remedies for Long-Term Depressive Disorders
Natural remedies for depression can sometimes help reduce the intensity of the symptoms. Keep in mind that such treatments for depression aren’t usually enough to alleviate most types of depressive disorders – especially long-term depression.
Supplements such as St. John’s wort may act to relieve depression symptoms if you have mild forms of depression, but be aware that it may interact negatively with other medications you may be taking.
Omega-3 fatty acids found in such foods as walnuts, fish, flax oil and flax seed are usually considered safe, but in high doses this supplement may also interact negatively with other medications.
SAMe is not approved by the FDA to treat depression but this synthetic form of a natural chemical produced by the body has been proven healthy to treat certain types of depression. More research is being done on SAMe because it’s also been found to have negative reactions to some people diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Yoga and meditation relax the body and mind and are good natural remedies for lessening the symptoms of long-term depressive disorders. Adhering to a healthy diet and regular exercise is also helpful.
Chamomile and green teas are relaxing and can help boost your mood and feelings of well-being. But, avoid coffee and alcohol. Although you’ll get a quick rush from caffeine, feelings will quickly crash and burn.
If you’re diagnosed with a long-term depressive disorder, don’t despair. There is plenty of help, both from medications and lifestyle changes that can help you get through the dark days and get back to your life without the horrible symptoms of depression.
Bipolar or Manic Depression is like being on a rollercoaster of highs and lows every day of your life. The repercussions on your mood, behavior, thinking process and energy levels can be severe and threaten relationships, jobs, school and all areas of your lifestyle.
With Bipolar depression, you don’t simply get in a bad or irritable mood once in awhile – both highs and lows are extreme. This type of depression can be treated, but most people don’t recognize the symptoms before the situation becomes worse.
During these manic occurrences, a person may feel he can conquer the world and quit a job he doesn’t particularly enjoy, run up credit cards to the max and get by on very little sleep.
The “downside” of bipolar depression may cause periods of dark, deep thoughts filled with self-loathing and hopelessness because of the impulsive actions he took when he was on the upside of the rollercoaster.
There is help for bipolar disorder, but it won’t happen unless you know which symptoms to look for and how to seek treatment. This report explains the possible causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatments involved in this debilitating disorder so you can seek help based on reliable information.
Causes of Bipolar Manic Depression
Although not understood completely, bipolar depression is thought to be hereditary. It usually begins during the teen years or early adulthood and the symptoms can be mystifying to anyone who experiences it.
Bipolar depression is often misdiagnosed because the symptoms are so like other disorders. A misdiagnosis can mean ongoing suffering to the person who has this disorder.
When the diagnosis is correct, treatment can result in a more normal and satisfying life. Even though bipolar depression is widely thought to be inherited, not everyone down the familial line develops the disorder, so genes may not be the only cause.
Brain imaging has been performed on those who have been diagnosed with bipolar depression and scientists notice actual physical differences in those with the disorder. Research also indicates that improper thyroid function, neurotransmitter issues, circadian rhythm problems and high levels of cortisol (stress hormone) may also be among the causes of bipolar depression instances.
Triggers that lead to the development of the disorder may include psychological and environmental factors, but sometimes there’s no trigger at all that can point to the episodes of low or high level depression.
Certain medications may also be a trigger to manic episodes of depression. Meds for thyroid disorders, over-the-counter cold and flu, appetite suppressants and corticosteroids are some of the suspected triggers and caffeine can be a culprit.
Constant stress or situational events may trigger the disorder – especially those with genetic predisposition. Changes in lifestyle such as moving, marriage, a new job or getting fired and loss of a loved one can be a catalyst to manic episodes.
Another possible cause is sleep deprivation. Skipping sleep – even for a few hours of work or pleasure can cause a serious onset of the disorder. Seasonal changes sometimes trigger high or manic episodes in the summer while fall, spring and winter tend to trigger depressive times.
Those who suffer from bipolar disorder and also are prone to substance abuse can bring on episodes which interfere negatively with the disorder. Alcohol and tranquilizers may also be triggers for depression.
Recognizing the Symptoms of Bipolar Manic Depression
Symptoms of bipolar manic depression often mimic the symptoms of other forms of depression, making it more difficult to diagnose. Also, the disorder can look different in every person, varying in the frequency of episodes, severity of the episodes and the pattern of occurrences.
While some tend to experience more high or manic episodes and others more depression, it’s also common to alternate equally between the highs and lows. Some may also experience many mood occurrences, while others only experience a few during his or her lifetime.
Four types of mood episodes play a part in bipolar depression – mania, hypomania, depression and mixed. During manic phases, it’s common to experience high energy levels, a sense of euphoria and high creativity. The invincibility and grandiose feelings during the manic phase can easily spring out of control.
This period of recklessness may cause the person to gamble away life savings, have affairs or experience wild sexual activity and become extremely angry aggressive and irritable. Delusions or hearing voices are also common during the manic phase.
Hypomania symptoms usually involve the person feeling very energetic and possibly euphoric. Even though the symptoms seem to be agreeable, a person in this state may make bad decisions about his career or relationships and most of the time a period of depression occurs following the manic phase.
A mixed episode of bipolar disorder could feature mania/hypomania and symptoms of depression. A mixed episode includes depression combined with symptoms such as anger, inability to think rationally, insomnia, high anxiety and more. This combination of high energy and low mood makes for a particularly high risk of suicide.
During the bipolar depression phase a person may become extremely irritable, restless, unpredictable and experience feelings of guilt. Some even loss touch with reality and lose the ability to function in a job or socially.
While in the throes of a mixed mood of bipolar depression the person may have manic and depressive symptoms. Confused and racing thoughts, lack of sleep, high agitation, extreme irritability, anxiety and a mixture of high and low energy tends to produce a high risk of suicide.
Diagnosis and Treatments for Bipolar Manic Depression
Your doctor will likely request a physical exam first if he suspects you have bipolar manic depression. Lab tests may also be performed to discover if there’s anything going on physically that could cause the symptoms.
Next, you’ll likely get a psychiatric exam with a psychiatrist who can speak to you about your behavior and go through questionnaires and other methods to provide information needed to make an assessment.
Before a final assessment can be provided, you’ll likely be asked to keep a record of your moods and other issues which can help in finding the proper diagnosis and getting you on the correct treatment plan.
When the criteria for a diagnosis have been met, the doctor will make an assessment based on information provided by the American Psychiatric Association’s manual of mental disorders.
If you suspect that a child or teen may be suffering from bipolar disorder, the doctor will use the same criterion that’s used for adults, but the symptoms may happen in different patterns and be more difficult to diagnose. A child psychiatrist may be better able to help diagnose a child’s possibility of the disorder.
Treatment for bipolar manic disorder will likely involve a combination of medications and “talk therapy” (psychotherapy). Bipolar disorder will last your entire life and while you may feel perfectly normal at times, it’s important that you continue treatment in case the symptoms return.
Medications may include antidepressants, mood stabilizers and/or Atypical antipsychotics and anti-anxiety meds. You may need to try several or combinations of meds before you find one that works. Be sure you talk to your doctor about any side effects you may experience.
Psychotherapy is another form of treatment for bipolar disorder that your doctor will likely recommend. Talk therapy is important because it take into consideration the entire family and is likely to include CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), Social rhythm and interpersonal therapy and psychoeducation to help you learn about the disorder.
Sleep medications may also be recommended. ECT (Electroconvulsive) therapy is usually recommended for those with especially severe cases of bipolar disorder and when side effects of medications may be dangerous.
If you have continuing problems with alcohol or drugs, you may be counseled to receive substance abuse treatments. Day treatment programs may be recommended to provide you with constant support and counseling until you can function normally.
More critical episodes of bipolar depression may require hospitalization – especially if you have thoughts of suicide or become psychotic. The hospital can stabilize your mood swings and keep you safe while you get the symptoms under control.
A treatment team consisting of a psychiatrist specializing in treating bipolar and other depressive disorders, a medical doctor specializing in diagnosis and treatment of mental conditions, a social worker and a psychiatric nurse.
Treatments for children or teens should be based on the individuals suffering from the disorder. Treatment may include prescribed medications, psychoeducation to help both the patient and parent learn about behavior patterns of the condition and psychotherapy to help the teen or child manage their condition.
Tips for Managing Bipolar Manic Depression
One of the most important tips for managing a diagnosis of bipolar depression is never to stop taking meds or skip therapy sessions. Ongoing medical care to manage this disorder is imperative.
Be forthcoming and honest with your medical providers and let them know of any changes in your condition or of any alternative methods you’d like to try. Know the dangers of your disorder including suicidal thoughts and interactions with other medications or supplements you might be taking.
Many who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder are counseled to keep a life chart which will be helpful to your doctor by recording your mood swings, daily symptoms, sleep patterns and events in your life.
Although medication is an essential treatment for this disorder, you can help minimize the symptoms by getting enough sleep, adhering to a healthy diet, keeping stress at bay, regular exercise and by keeping supportive people close in your life.
Educate yourself about the disorder so you can successfully manage the symptoms. Remember that your lifestyle and daily choices will have a huge impact on your mood swings.
Suicidal thoughts are more prevalent in people with consistent depressive episodes. If you have thoughts of suicide, seek help immediately. Warning signs include thinking about suicide, feelings of worthlessness or helplessness, living recklessly or considering ways to commit suicide.
Best Natural Remedies for Bipolar Manic Depression
Supplements are sometimes effective in treating various types of depressive disorders, but there hasn’t been a lot of research done on how natural or herbal supplements affect bipolar manic depression.
Stress is a problem for people with bipolar depressive disorder. One supplement found to help stress and relieve depressive symptoms is Rhodiola – an herb that is known to have calming effects on people suffering from depression.
While rhodiola doesn’t help ease depressive symptoms as much as an antidepressant, it has less side effects than prescription meds, it may help in the relaxation process to those who can’t become calm enough to sleep.
SAMe is a natural coenzyme that your body produces. Research indicates that it helps to reduce symptoms in some people with major types of depressive disorders. A serious caution is that SAMe might also provoke manic episodes, so take it only with supervision of a healthcare provider.
Meditation in the form of supervised cognitive therapy may help reduce symptoms of major depressive disorders. Light therapy may also be effective in helping disrupted circadian rhythms – a disorder of the internal biological clock.
The anti-inflammatory benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids may help regulate the moods of people with bipolar depressive disorder and St. John’s Wort is also found to be effective in managing mood swings.
Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy is a technique to help those with bipolar depression maintain a regular schedule of sleep, diet and exercise and functioning on a daily basis.
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy works to improve bipolar symptoms by helping you remember bad or traumatic happenings in your life that may have helped trigger the disorder.
Inform your doctor about any supplements, alternative treatments or over-the-counter medications you’re taking and of course make a list of any prescription drugs. Any of these types of treatments may cause troublesome or dangerous side effects.
Living with bipolar disorder may at times make your angry or confused about the mood swings and may leave your family and friends with a wide range of emotions. It may be helpful to engage in one or more counseling sessions together so they can better understand this sometimes debilitating disorder.
Atypical depression may sometimes produce the same symptoms as a major depressive or dysthymic disorder, although it’s considered a subtype of these disorders. Symptoms may include weight gain with increased appetite, drastic changes in lifestyle, too much sleep, weakness and fatigue and severe mood swings.
Those with atypical depression are often very sensitive to rejection or the perception that they were rejected. Those who are diagnosed with atypical depression often had symptoms of depression as a child or during the teen years.
Atypical depression is a very common type of depressive disorder and is different from the depression subtype, melancholic depression. Melancholic depression can be characterized involving symptoms of insomnia, overreaction to everything going around him, loss of appetite and inability to feel happy.
Atypical depression involves symptoms of drug or alcohol abuse, inability to cope, weight gain, sensitivity to rejection, anxiety and thoughts of suicide. So many forms of depression exist with similar symptoms that it’s important you know the differences and how to cope with them.
It’s important that you learn how to recognize your symptoms of depression and become better able to receive a correct diagnosis by being able to convey important information to your doctor.
Causes of Atypical Depression
Dysfunctional brain circuits which regulate the mood and help one region of the brain communicate with another could be the cause of atypical depression. These circuits contain nerve cells which transmit through neurotransmitters (brain chemicals).
Neurotransmitters can be serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. Depression can occur when these neurotransmitters of the brain are lacking. Antidepressant medications are believed to increase the brain chemicals and help the brain circuits that control moods.
Although the exact cause of depression isn’t known, certain risk factors are taken into consideration during the diagnosis phase and may include a genetic history of depression, death or other type of loss, continuing abuse (sexual, emotional or physical) and conflicts or emotional upheavals.
Life events may also trigger bouts of atypical depression. Losing a job, retirement, sudden social isolation, graduation or changing jobs, serious illnesses such as cardio, drug or alcohol abuse and HIV, stroke or cancer are often catalysts to depression disorders.
Sometimes, atypical depression begins during the teen years and may follow a chronic course through the person’s lifetime. A person who experienced a traumatic childhood or one that included sexual or physical abuse may be at risk for atypical depression.
Those who have a history of bipolar disorder or abusing alcohol and/or drugs, personality traits such as co-dependency or low self-esteem may develop a depressive disorder.
Some types of medications (blood pressure and sleeping pills) may cause depression, but be sure to speak with your doctor before stopping or changing any medications. Your environment also has a lot to do with emotions and feelings of depression.
Stressors such as being isolated from friends and family may be a huge factor in developing a depressive disorder. A person with atypical depression may also have a lack of personal relationships or close friends.
As with other forms of depression, atypical depression is a serious disorder which should be addressed and treated as soon as possible before it causes problems with your health, emotional and behavioral problems.
Such problems, if not addressed can wreak havoc in every area of your life and cause other serious mental problems which can produce even worse symptoms. See your doctor to determine the cause and treatment path you should take if you suspect you have atypical depression.
Recognizing the Symptoms of Atypical Depression
Atypical depression symptoms are so much like symptoms for other types of depression that they have to be scrutinized carefully before the correct diagnosis is reached. One of the main differences in atypical depression and other types of depression is that a down mood will improve if something positive happens in the person’s life.
Other types of melancholic depression show no difference in mood when positive changes occur. And, for a diagnosis of atypical depression to be reached, at least two particular symptoms must occur.
An increase in appetite, weight gain, sensitivity to rejection so that it causes problems in other areas, feels of being kept down or paralyzed and hypersomnia (getting too much sleep) are all symptoms of a person with atypical depression.
Since atypical depression is a subtype of major depression disorder, other symptoms should also be considered. Anxiety and drug or alcohol abuse may contribute to the side effects of atypical depression and suicidal thoughts may also occur.
If two or more of these symptoms are present, the healthcare provider will first examine the patient for a physical cause such as hypothyroidism. Low levels of the thyroid hormone may cause weight gain and lead to depression.
Atypical depression may also take on the symptoms of other types of major depressive disorders such as extreme sadness nearly every day, loss of pleasure, fatigue and mental acuity problems including inability to concentrate.
Recognizing any or all of the above symptoms in yourself is the first step in getting help to get you back to normal. The next step is to make an appointment with your healthcare provider so you can receive a diagnosis based on medical facts and begin a treatment program that can work for you.
Diagnosis and Treatments for Atypical Depression
Your doctor will perform a thorough physical exam before reaching a diagnosis of atypical depression to make sure there are no physical reasons for your symptoms. At some point during the physical exam, the doctor will ask questions about your overall health.
This will help to determine if your depression symptoms stem from a physical health problem. Lab tests will likely be in order. Blood analysis and hyperthyroidism tests can rule out faulty body functions.
You’ll probably also go through a psychological evaluation so the doctor can gain insight into your symptoms and patterns of behavior. A mental health diagnosis will occur when the doctor determines that your depression symptoms meet the criteria for a certain mental health diagnosis.
If your diagnosis is atypical depression, the doctor will likely recommend talk therapy (psychotherapy) and certain medications designed to target atypical depression. If the symptoms are severe, the doctor may recommend seeing a specialist in the mental healthcare area.
Medications typically used for atypical depression usually include MAOIs (Monoamine oxidase inhibitors), SSRIs and tricyclic antidepressants. These prescription meds are the common choice for treating this form of depression.
More severe symptoms may require that you try several types or a combination of mediations before you find the formula that works best for you. The doctor may also recommend psychotherapy – a very effective method for treating atypical depression.
During psychotherapy sessions, you’ll learn various ways to cope with your situation such as identifying your unhealthy behavior and thoughts and changing them to more positive ones.
You may discuss past or present relationships or traumatic experiences you’ve had, learn how to set realistic goals and explore ways to alleviate the symptoms you’re now experiencing.
Tips for Managing Atypical Depression
Atypical depression can make you feel as if you have lead weights attached to your legs. It’s difficult to get out of bed and even more difficult to perform daily tasks. Even though it’s a common form of depression, most doctors think that it’s underdiagnosed.
Other than seeking and receiving a doctor’s recommended methods of treatment, there may be a few more things you can do to ease the symptoms of atypical depression. One of the best ways to live a life free of symptoms on a daily basis is to avoid stress and conflicts.
Atypical depression can be draining and overwhelming – physically and mentally. Although people with this type of depression usually have brief times of cheerfulness if a positive event happens, they tend to overreact to negative times in their lives.
A comment from a boss, coworker or loved one can trigger feelings of rejection and a long bout of depressive symptoms. Feelings of rejection are one of the main symptoms of atypical depression and talk therapy can help you put them in perspective and realize that what you perceived wasn’t true at all.
With atypical depression, your appetite and cravings may markedly increase – unlike other forms of depressive disorders where you lose all interest in food. Comfort foods are particularly craved by those with atypical depression and weight gain is sure to follow.
Do everything you can to decrease those cravings of high carb and calorie foods. Have a plan each day for what you’re going to eat and don’t ever go to the supermarket when you’re hungry. You’ll end up buying and eating for the cravings rather than your health.
You’ll probably want to sleep more than you ever have. It’s a common symptom in atypical depression. Managing sleep habits by having a routine of when you go to bed and rise can help.
Meditation, non-cardiac exercises such as yoga stretching and relaxation techniques can help you get to sleep and stay asleep until it’s time to wake up. Some people use techniques such as a sound machine next to the bed.
The machine can emulate sounds such as the ocean waves, soft, meditative music or chanting and other sounds that may help your sleep patterns. Only use your bed for sleeping – don’t work or watch television in the place where you sleep.
Leaden paralysis is feelings of weights on your arms and legs that keep you tired and unable to physically move as you once did. If you can’t exercise, at least try some stretching movements – and swimming is a great exercise that can remove those weights on your body and allow you to become buoyant and light.
Be sure to stick to the treatment plan you and your doctor agreed on. Don’t skip psychotherapy appointments and never skip taking medications. Stopping will put you at risk for your symptoms to recur.
Education is empowerment. Learn all you can about your type of depression and ask your family and friends you trust for support and help when needed. If you notice warning signs such as suicidal thoughts and sudden changes in feelings, contact your doctor or psychotherapist immediately.
Talk to your doctor and/or psychotherapist to get other tips on how to handle the symptoms of atypical depression. There are also support groups, both online and likely within your community that offers help and guidance for depressive disorders.
Best Natural Remedies for Atypical Depression
Although it’s best to follow your doctor’s advice when it comes to remedies for atypical depression, there are a few natural methods you may want to talk to him or her about to see if any might be of help.
Cognitive therapy is said to be an effective treatment for atypical depression. It’s a form of talk therapy or psychotherapy that’s widely used by psychiatrists to treat this and other forms of depressive disorders.
Chromium is a mineral that regulates your blood sugar and may also affect the brain and how chemicals work as messengers to your body. Taking a chromium supplement may serve to relieve the carb cravings sometimes associated with atypical depression.
Vitamin B6 and Zinc are natural remedies which are vital to your body functioning. Just remember to avoid taking B6 during the evening hours as it may interfere with your sleep and cause vivid dreams.
Bright light therapy may also help those with atypical depression – and not only those who have SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Bright light therapy has an energizing effect and could help those who suffer from severe fatigue and sleepiness.
If you use bright light therapy, be sure to use it about 3 to 4 hours before you want to go to sleep. Try and use this form of therapy in the early hours of the day – especially just after you wake up.
One good thing about atypical depression is that it’s very treatable. However, you should know that it’s a very serious illness and the risks of further disability, suicide and drug or alcohol abuse are higher than some other types of depression.
With proper treatment and a strong effort to overcome these overwhelming symptoms of atypical depression, you can have a normal and enjoyable lifestyle and return to the activities in life that you most enjoy.