The following guide is for informational purposes only and not intended to diagnose or give medical advice.
What is Depression?
Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must be present for at least two weeks.
Depression Vs Sadness/Grief
Both grief and depression may involve intense sadness and withdrawal from usual activities. Grief and depression can co-exist. They are also different in important ways:
(American Psychiatric Association, https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression)
Types of Depression
All people are different, so your symptoms may vary, but this is a list of possible symptoms of depressive disorders.
Major Depression Symptoms
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Fall and winter SAD
Spring and summer SAD
(Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20356007; Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bipolar-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355955; Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/persistent-depressive-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20350929; NIMH, https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/perinatal-depression; Johns Hopkins, https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/premenstrual-dysphoric-disorder-pmdd; WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-types; Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364651; Healthline, https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/situational-depression#symptoms)
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
It’s based on the idea that negative actions or feelings are the results of current distorted beliefs or thoughts, not unconscious forces from the past. CBT is a blend of
This form of therapy seeks to identify and help change potentially self-destructive or unhealthy behaviors. It functions on the idea that all behaviors are learned and that unhealthy behaviors can be changed.
Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)
IPT is a short-term, focused treatment for depression. By addressing interpersonal issues, interpersonal therapy for depression puts emphasis on the way symptoms are related to a person's relationships, including family and peers.
Problem-solving therapy is based on a model that takes into account the importance of real-life problem-solving. In other words, the key to managing the impact of stressful life events is to know how to address issues as they arise. Problem-solving therapy is very practical in its approach and is only concerned with the present, rather than delving into the past.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
Doctors often start by prescribing an SSRI. These drugs are considered safer and generally cause fewer bothersome side effects than other types of antidepressants.
Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
They also act on serotonin and norepinephrine but in a different way than SSRIs.
These medications don't fit neatly into any of the other antidepressant categories.
These drugs can be very effective, but tend to cause more-severe side effects than newer antidepressants. So tricyclics generally aren't prescribed unless you've tried an SSRI first without improvement.
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
Using MAOIs requires a strict diet because of dangerous (or even deadly) interactions with foods ― such as certain cheeses, pickles and wines ― and some medications and herbal supplements.
Other medications may be added to an antidepressant to enhance antidepressant effects. Your doctor may recommend combining two antidepressants or adding medications such as mood stabilizers or antipsychotics. Anti-anxiety and stimulant medications also may be added for short-term use.
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
In ECT, electrical currents are passed through the brain to impact the function and effect of neurotransmitters in your brain to relieve depression. ECT is usually used for people who don't get better with medications, can't take antidepressants for health reasons or are at high risk of suicide.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS)
TMS may be an option for those who haven't responded to antidepressants. During TMS, a treatment coil placed against your scalp sends brief magnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells in your brain that are involved in mood regulation and depression.
Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS)
In conventional vagus nerve stimulation, a device is surgically implanted under the skin on your chest, and a wire is threaded under your skin connecting the device to the left vagus nerve. When activated, the device sends electrical signals along the left vagus nerve to your brainstem, which then sends signals to certain areas in your brain.
(NIMH, https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression; Healthline, https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/cognitive-behavioral-therapy; WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/interpersonal-therapy-for-depression; verywellmind, https://www.verywellmind.com/an-overview-of-problem-solving-therapy-4767991; Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20356013; WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/understanding-depression-treatment#091e9c5e80007ad6-1-2; Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/vagus-nerve-stimulation/about/pac-20384565)
For a comprehensive list of McFarlin books about depression consult our library catalog. Some ebooks may require you sign into the library system before viewing; you will be automatically prompted if a login is necessary.
For a comprehensive list of McFarlin databases consult our A-Z Database List. Databases may require you sign into the library system before viewing; you will be automatically prompted if a login is necessary.
You may want to get help for depression if it lasts for a long period of time or begins to interfere with your ability to function, such as eat, study, and have fun. TU has counselors who would love to help you reduce symptoms of depression.
This site provides information about and contact information for TU's Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).
If you are having a mental health crisis, the following sites provide help: