Depression is a serious and sometimes life-threatening problem that causes extreme sadness and despair for people who are affected by this condition. Barry J. Richman, MD, is a board-certified psychiatrist who specializes in diagnosing and treating a variety of mental health conditions at his clinic in Manhattan, New York, and has considerable experience in helping patients who are struggling to cope with depression and related disorders. Find relief from depression by calling Barry J. Richman MD Psychiatry today to arrange a consultation, or book an appointment online.
What is depression?
Being sad or down can be a normal response to certain events. When this feeling lasts for days on end, however, and is accompanied by feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and sometimes suicidal thoughts, we are no longer talking about a mood state, but a medical condition with potentially life-threatening consequences known as depression.
What are the symptoms of depression?
The diagnosis of depression requires a careful and thorough history and evaluation of the patient. Certain signs and symptoms must be present for a specific amount of time according to the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) in order to satisfy the criteria and make a diagnosis of depression.
- Changes in an individual’s energy levels
- Sleeping more or being unable to sleep well
- Loss of appetite and weight loss, or increased appetite and weight gain
- Problems with concentration
- Loss of interest and enjoyment in the activities that usually bring pleasure
- Changes in sexual appetite (libido)
Additionally, factors such as a prior history of depression or other mental health disorders, alcohol and drug usage, and genetic and family history are all extremely relevant and useful in evaluating the symptoms and the patient. Relevant too, is the individual’s social situation, for example, their current relationships, career, and any recent stressors or possible triggers for the onset of the depression.
Dr. Richman believes a psychiatrist, like a good detective, always asks, “Why now?”
Are there different types of depression?
There are several subtypes of depression; for instance, there is a type of chronic low-grade long-term character-based depression called dysthymic disorder, and patients who have bipolar depression have extreme mood swings so their slumps of depression may alternate with periods of euphoria.
Other patients may experience depression triggered by underlying disease states, such as chronic pain. Substance abuse and some medications can also cause depression.
Severely distorted forms of thinking, known clinically as major depressive disorder with psychotic features, can accompany depression. These types of depression, along with depression with suicidal thinking, constitute psychiatric emergencies and require immediate medical attention.
Depression is a treatable disorder using psychotherapies, psychopharmacology, and more. Accurate and correct diagnosis of the depression, along with identifying the subtype is essential to making proper treatment decisions and essential to restoring good mental health.
If you have symptoms of depression or are struggling with bouts of saddness or periods of low mood, call Barry J. Richman MD Psychiatry today, or book an appointment online.