Identifying and Treating Major Depression

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Identifying depression is critical for making sure that no one has to struggle with their symptoms for too long. Catching depression early can help to improve a person’s outcomes and prevent other coexisting mental health conditions, such as addiction from getting worse. Treating severe depression works best when a person understands how their care team makes a diagnosis and creates a personalized treatment plan that targets their symptoms. 

Are There Different Types of Depression?

Depression can present in several different forms that are categorized according to their causes, symptoms and time that the episodes last. The different types of depression include seasonal depressive disorder, which can be quite severe in some people. Postpartum depression is another type that can cause serious symptoms. 


Major depressive disorder is the type that people tend to associate as being the most severe, since the symptoms can last for many months without proper treatment. While your depression type might differ from someone else’s, it is important to know that there are treatments available that can help everyone find relief.

What Is Considered Severe Depression?

Everyone feels occasional bouts of sadness that may occur without a clear reason. Mental health professionals tend to consider major depressive disorder as a possible diagnosis once your symptoms last for two weeks or longer. With severe depression, you’ll also notice that your symptoms interfere with your ability to complete your normal activities. Even if you do manage to go to work or manage your other responsibilities, you may find that they take signifying effort compared to the past while also providing you with little to no joy.

What Causes Someone to Have Severe Depression?

Some people can point to a clear reason for their depression, such as losing a loved one or receiving other types of difficult news. However, many cases of major depressive disorder involve chemical changes in the brain that don’t have a clear cause. Figuring out how to treat depression can be complicated when you don’t have a known reason for your symptoms, which is why most treatment plans include multiple types of therapy that target all of the potential reasons for your mental distress.

What Are Major Depressive Disorder Symptoms?

The symptoms that you’ll experience with severe depression can vary from one person to another, and you may find that certain symptoms come and go throughout each day or week. Common symptoms of major depressive disorder include the following:

  • Feeling sad, hopeless or empty inside
  • Experiencing angry outbursts over simple annoyances
  • Sleeping too much or not enough
  • Having slow body movements or delayed verbal responses
  • Dealing with physical symptoms such as nausea or headaches
  • Having thoughts of self-harm or acting on them
  • Using substances such as alcohol to cope

What’s Involved With Diagnosing Depression?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a blood test that your care team can use for diagnosing depression. Instead, they’ll rely on the use of several types of assessments that can help give them a glimpse into how you feel and your mind works. However, your care team will usually conduct a physical to make sure there isn’t a different cause for your symptoms. For instance, anemia can cause extreme fatigue and foggy thinking.

A mental health assessment also includes asking questions about your current situation. Your therapist may ask you to describe your symptoms along with what a typical day in your life is like. They may also ask about your family history and if your symptoms are interfering with your normal daily activities. Once they get a full picture of your overall physical and mental health, they’ll be able to make an accurate diagnosis.

What Are Common Major Depressive Disorder Therapies?

Mental health professionals use a variety of different methods for treating severe depression. Medications are commonly given on a short or long-term basis to help people manage their symptoms. Talk therapy is also common, which can include group or individual counseling sessions. With severe depression, your care team might also suggest using additional methods such as transcranial magnetic therapy to stimulate activity in your brain that helps you feel better.

What Does a Treatment Plan for Depression Include?

The best treatment plan for depression is personalized. This is why you’ll often find that other people you know with depression have different treatment plans. Your plan will include an outline of strategies that can provide you with prompt relief from your symptoms. 

Medications may take some time to work, but most people will notice a difference within a few weeks. The same is also true of ketamine and TMS treatment. Other forms of treatment may take longer, such as talk therapy. Combining these different forms of treatment helps to attack your depression from every angle, so that you have the benefit of long-term relief.

Depression can cloud your thinking and leave you wondering if there’s even a reason to hope that you’ll get better. Our team at Mind Body Optimization in Franklin, TN is here to tell you that there is hope for a brighter future. After an assessment, we’ll provide you with a treatment plan that includes the latest advances for helping people to achieve their highest potential for greater mental wellbeing.