We all experience ups and downs in our emotions from time to time. But what happens when these feelings don't go away after a few days or weeks? Even though everyone's symptoms and experiences are different, you might be going through mild depression. If you are depressed, no amount of "pulling yourself together" will make you feel better. This article examines how to recognize mild depression and when to seek help.
Depression is treatable, and the first step to getting better is taking action. Early intervention is key.
If you are experiencing mild depression, it doesn't necessarily mean that you will have it forever or that it will get worse.
Changing one's lifestyle could be the first step in getting better. If that does not work, therapy or medication may be necessary.
Anyone who is contemplating self-harm or suicide should get help immediately.
Mild depression, which is also called persistent depressive disorder (PDD), is a low-level depression that lasts for an extended period of time.
Many people with mild depression are able to go about their daily lives. Depending on the length of symptoms, it could become the "new normal." However, constantly feeling “down in the dumps" isn't what we should expect from life. Although it is common to sometimes feel down in response to a loss or a stressful event, mild depression should not be the norm.
Symptoms of mild depression
The symptoms of mild depression are often similar to severe depression. The symptoms include:
- Appetite or weight fluctuations.
- Loss of pleasure or happiness.
- Low energy and diminished motivation.
- Feeling melancholy and frequently tearful.
- Sleeping too much.
- Thoughts of suicide or death.
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions.
Many people with mild depression can deal with these symptoms, even though they might have a moderate effect on their social and work lives. Mild symptoms can also be warning signs of more severe depression. If you notice that your symptoms are changing or worsening, or if you are having suicidal thoughts, you should seek medical attention.
What causes mild depression?
Mild depression is seen as a multidimensional condition, just like major depressive disorder. This means that it is likely caused by a mix of genetic predisposition, metabolic imbalance, life stress, and environmental factors.
People with this condition often have other problems that make it worse, like a long-term illness, another mental health diagnosis, or problems with drugs or alcohol.
When this occurs, it is difficult to determine if the depression would exist regardless of the other condition. Also, having two or more of these diseases at the same time could cause a vicious cycle in which one disease makes it harder to treat the others.
How is mild depression diagnosed?
There are no blood tests or brain scans that can accurately diagnose mild depression. Instead, physicians must rely on symptoms reported by the patient.
Doctors may use the DSM-5, a manual for diagnosing mental illnesses, to determine whether a patient's symptoms follow a pattern.
When determining a diagnosis, the doctor will also evaluate the patient's medical history and whether or not their family has a history of depression.
Treatments for mild depression
The most common treatment for mild depression includes both medication and talking therapy.
Therapy can help you identify harmful patterns or habits in your life that need to change. Therapists can help you:
- Learn new ways of coping.
- Build self-esteem.
- Learn assertiveness.
- Resolve issues from childhood.
- Manage anger.
There are many different types of talk therapies, each with its own approach and focus. Some common types of talk therapies include:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). this type of therapy focuses on helping people identify and change negative thinking patterns and behaviors that may be contributing to their difficulties.
Psychodynamic therapy. this type of therapy focuses on helping people understand and resolve unconscious conflicts and emotions that may be affecting their thoughts and behaviors.
Interpersonal therapy. this type of therapy focuses on helping people improve their relationships and communication skills.
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). this type of therapy combines elements of CBT with mindfulness techniques to help people better manage their emotions and behaviors.
There are medicines available to help fix chemical imbalances in your brain so that your mood stays stable.
There are many different kinds of drugs used to treat depression, and each one has its own benefits and side effects. Some of the most commonly prescribed drugs are:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
- Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).
Some people may need to take medicine for the rest of their lives, while others may only need to take them for a short time. No matter what, you should always take your medicine as directed and try to be as honest with your doctor as you can.
It could take some time for the medicine to work. Try not to get down on yourself if you don't see results right away.
Self-help approaches are extremely beneficial in the treatment of mild to persistent depression. Here are some proven methods:
Exercise regularly. Try to do cardio and weight training for at least 30 minutes, five days a week, at a moderate intensity. According to 2015 research, depression sufferers experienced less boredom, an elevation in mood, less tension, and a slower heart rate while engaging in leisure activities.
Maintain a healthy diet. Research suggests that eating a diet heavy on fresh, whole foods may be preferable to the typical Western diet. In comparison to a diet heavy in fat, sugar, and processed foods, a plant-based diet provides more nutrients, including antioxidants.
Limit alcohol consumption since it is a depressant.
Consider a workplace adjustment. While a job may not directly cause depression, it may make symptoms worse for those who already have the condition. According to one study, workplace adjustments might be beneficial for those who are depressed because of their jobs.
Practice short mindfulness meditation sessions throughout the day.
Include deep breathing exercises in your daily routine.
Practice your assertiveness skills. Saying "no" every day to one thing that causes you upset will help you feel less stressed during the day.
Engage in activities you enjoy doing.
Make sleep a priority and provide a calm environment for sleeping.
Stick to a regular sleep schedule, since oversleeping can make depression symptoms worse.
Surround yourself with people who are upbeat, positive, and supportive.
Even though mild depression is regarded as less serious than more severe forms of depression, it still may seriously affect your life and capacity to operate. Even if your symptoms appear mild, you should see a healthcare professional if you think you may be depressed.