Depression

Overview

At Aurora, we believe everyone deserves a chance to experience the simple joys of life and have meaningful connections with friends and family. Life wasn’t meant to be a daily struggle, but when you’re feeling depressed, even getting out of bed can be a challenge.

What is depression? It’s not just “feeling down” – and it’s not a sad feeling you can easily “shake off.” Depression is a serious mood disorder that persists for weeks or months, interfering with your daily routine and making it hard to go about your life. People who are depressed dwell on negative thoughts and feel constant sadness, hopelessness or emptiness.

Two out of 10 people are affected by depression each year. If you’re one of them, effective depression treatment is available from Aurora’s nationally recognized team of behavioral health experts.

Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms of Depression

The signs and symptoms of depression may be different from person to person, and they may change over time. Common clinical depression symptoms include:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety or emptiness
  • Hopelessness
  • Restlessness or irritability
  • Feeling guilty, worthless or helpless
  • Lack of motivation
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping, waking up too early or oversleeping
  • Trouble concentrating, remembering or making decisions
  • Eating more or less than usual
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Headaches
  • Stomach problems
  • Aches and pains in muscles and joints
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, with or without suicide attempts

Types of Depression

There are several different types of depression, including:

  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) - a type of seasonal depression that occurs only during certain months - typically winter. Seasonal depression is usually caused by shorter days and lack of sun exposure.
  • Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) - a mood disorder characterized by the presence of most depression symptoms listed above most days out of the week. MDD must also include at least one of the following symptoms:
    • Depressed mood
    • Loss of interest in activities
  • Postpartum Depression - a condition that occurs in the weeks or months following childbirth.
  • Manic depression – also known as bipolar disorder, this condition causes extreme mood changes that range from high-energy manic episodes to major depressive episodes.
  • Persistent depressive disorder - sometimes referred to as dysthymia, this condition causes depressive symptoms that last for a period of 2 years or more. Dysthymia often involves feelings of low self-esteem and a lack of energy.

Risk Factors

Depression risk factors may include genetics, environmental influences and personal experiences. If you have a history of depression or other mental health disorders in your family, you may be more likely to develop depression yourself. Serious illness, trauma, stress and abuse are also risk factors for depression.

Women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with depression – but women are also more likely to seek treatment.

Diagnosis

The process of diagnosing depression can take a variety of forms. Where most medical conditions are diagnosed through blood or laboratory tests, these tests are not very helpful when it comes to diagnosing depression.

Your doctor may perform a physical exam to rule out any physical causes of depression like hypothyroidism - a condition caused by an underactive thyroid gland. Hypothyroidism is the medical condition most commonly associated with the signs of depression.

Your doctor will also talk with you about your symptoms and administer a depression questionnaire. This questionnaire will let you report your day-to-day mood, behaviors and habits. This kind of depression test (or depression screening) can help your medical provider determine a possible depression diagnosis. From there, they can discuss your depression treatment options.

Services & Treatments

Depression is an illness, and it is treatable. A combination of therapy and depression medication is often the best treatment for depression. Cognitive psychotherapy, or behavioral therapy, is especially helpful in preventing relapse. Cognitive therapy focuses on reframing negative thinking and expectations.

If you think you may be suffering from depression, contact us at (414) 773-4312 to schedule a consultation.

Locations

If you feel depression may be impacting your life, the mental health care team at Aurora Health Care will discuss your symptoms and determine a treatment plan that’s right for you.

We have depression treatment clinics throughout eastern Wisconsin, with locations in:

Contact us at (414) 773-4312 to schedule a consultation, or find a depression treatment clinic near you.

* Multiple locations

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