Depression is a mood disorder in which feelings of loss, anger, sadness, or frustration interfere with everyday life. Depression affects approximately 17 million Americans each year. It can be mild, moderate, or severe and occur as a single episode, as recurring episodes, or as chronic depression (lasting more than 2 years).

The primary types of depression include:

  • Major depression – five or more symptoms must be present; an episode must last at least 2 weeks, but tends to continue for 20 weeks. (A mood disorder is classified as minor depression if less than five depressive symptoms are present for at least 2 weeks.)
  • Dysthymia – a chronic, generally milder form of depression; symptoms are similar to major depression but more mild in degree
  • Atypical depression – depression accompanied by unusual symptoms, such as hallucinations, delusions, and physical rigidity

Other common forms of depression include:

  • Postpartum depression – experienced by 8% to 20% of women following delivery
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PDD) – experienced by 3% to 8% of women; depressive symptoms occur 1 week prior to menstruation and disappear following menstruation
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – experienced by 5% of adults, the majority of whom are women; occurs during the fall-winter season and disappears during the spring-summer season

Depression may also occur with mania (known as manic-depression or bipolar disorder). In this condition, moods cycle between mania and depression.

Signs and Symptoms

While it is normal for most people to feel “down in the dumps” on occasion, a person with major depression feels significantly depressed for a prolonged period of time, has difficulty enjoying acts that were once pleasurable, and experiences at least five of the following symptoms for 2 weeks or more:

  • Sleep disturbances – at least 90% of people with depression have either insomnia (sleeplessness) or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping)
  • Significant change in appetite (often resulting in either weight loss or weight gain)
  • Fatigue and loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness, self-hate, and inappropriate guilt
  • Extreme difficulty concentrating
  • Either agitation, restlessness, and irritability or inactivity and withdrawal
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
  • Feelings of hopelessness

Although not generally considered to be defining characteristics of depression, many people with the condition report a lack of sex drive and sudden bursts of anger.

Integrative Medicine Treatment Options

We combine the best of conventional medicine with the best of complementary and alternative therapies to give you optimal results.

Here are some options we use at Alliance Integrative Medicine LOCATED IN Cincinnati, Ohio

  • Acupuncture
  • Medication, Herbal Therapies and Supplements
  • Energy Healing
  • Mind/Body Relaxation Techniques
  • Medical Massage Therapy

Our depression patients come to us from Loveland, Westchester/Liberty Township, Mason, Indian Hill and Hyde Park as well as Springdale, Terrace Park, Blue Ash, Finneytown, Reading and from all across the United States.