Anyone can feel the blues now and then, but the feeling typically persists for a few days and finally disappears on its own. Some episodes won't last as long as the individual works on the issues causing dismay. With depression, the feeling is different. It gets into your way of life and makes it harder to do the things you love. In most cases, you need treatment for symptoms to improve.

Depression is more than just a bout of blues; it isn't a weakness you can "snap out" of by talking to someone. It is best to seek longer-term treatment by a certified psychiatrist or psychiatric care specialist. In this guide, we delve deeper into what you ought to know about depression.

What Are the Types of Depression?

Healthcare providers define depression types according to the symptoms and causes. There is no apparent cause for these episodes, and it will be different for everyone. Symptoms can sometimes linger longer in others without an evident reason.

The common types of depression include:

  • Major Depressive Disorder (MDD): This persistent type of depression causes moderate to severe symptoms with episodes that last two weeks or more. The symptoms can interfere with your normal activities and can seriously impair your daily life if untreated. It can progress to the point of suicidal thinking and behavior.
  • Bipolar Depression: This disorder causes people to experience both low moods and highly energetic periods. In the low periods, the individual has depression symptoms like lack of energy, feeling sad, and hopelessness.
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia): PDD is a type of depression characterized by persistent low mood and feelings of sadness and hopelessness that last for two years or more. Common symptoms include changes in sleep patterns, appetite, energy levels, concentration, and self-esteem.
  • Atypical Depression: This is a subtype of Major Depression that otherwise differs from Major Depressive Disorder in its symptoms and course of treatment. Symptoms associated with atypical depression can include moods that are strongly reactive to environmental circumstances and feeling extremely sensitive, profound fatigue, oversleeping, overeating, carbohydrate cravings, heavy feelings in arms and legs, and overall feelings of heaviness.
  • Perinatal and Postpartum Depression (PPD): Also referred to as Postpartum Depression, these are symptoms associated with pregnancy. Depression can occur during pregnancy and up to a year after giving birth. The symptoms such as sadness, stress, and worry can become more serious and potentially harmful to the parent and child.
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD): This has previously been called premenstrual disorder (PMS). It occurs to women in days or weeks leading up to their menstrual period. It manifests as very unpleasant feelings, mood changes, irritability and anxiety that occur repeatedly during the premenstrual phase of the cycle and resolve around the time of (or after) menses.
  • Psychotic Depression: This includes severe depressive symptoms and hallucinations or delusions. Delusions refer to strong beliefs in things that aren't real, while hallucinations include hearing, seeing, and feeling things that don’t truly exist.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): This is depression that occurs due to the season and most often occurs in late fall or early winter. It typically goes away in summer and spring.

How Can You Tell if Someone Has Depression?

The full picture of symptoms of depression may differ from one person to another. Treatment focuses on how the patient is unique and the symptoms they are experiencing individually.

The common symptoms of depression include:

  • Feeling low, tearful, sad, or upset most of the time
  • Changes in appetite
  • Uncontrollable anger outbursts and frustration over small matters
  • Loss of pleasure in usual activities like sports, hobbies, or even sex
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Anxiety, restlessness, and agitation
  • General lack of energy, so even small tasks feel like a massive effort
  • Slows speaking, thinking, and movement
  • Unexplained physical issues like headaches and back pain
  • Fixating on past failures or excess self-blame
  • Thoughts of death, suicide attempts, suicidal thoughts or suicide

These symptoms can range from mild to severe depending on the cause and the person's health condition. You can tell if someone has depression if you notice issues in day-to-day activities like school, work, social obligations, and relationships with others. Others report generally feeling miserable without an apparent reason.

What Are Common Causes of Depression?

There is not one single cause of depression and medical experts advise that it is a combination of biological, environmental, psychological, and emotional factors are at play. The probable risk causes may include:


Depression tends to run in the family. If someone in your family, such as a parent, close relative, or sibling may have been diagnosed with any form of mood disorder, you may develop depression. Studies show that if an identical twin suffers from depression, the other has a 70% chance of developing the same mental illness.

Brain Structure

Specific changes in the brain structure can cause the release of chemicals in the brain that triggers signs of depression in a person.

Substance Abuse

Someone with a history of abusing drugs or alcohol is at significant risk of developing symptoms of depression. Mental illness can occur later in life if the person gets clean from the addictive substances, triggering withdrawal symptoms and causing depression.

Environmental Factors

An individual's surroundings can affect their everyday lifestyle. Continuous exposure to neglect, poverty, abuse, or violence can put some people at risk of depression.

Medical Conditions or Medications

Specific medical conditions like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and more are linked with a higher chance of mood disorders, including depression. Some people may also suffer depression symptoms from using certain medications.

Personality Traits

Everyone has a unique perspective on life. People who have low self-esteem and are typical pessimists can easily get overwhelmed with stress. Such people are susceptible to mood disorders like depression.

How Can a Psychiatrist Help Treat Depression?

Depression is a complicated mental illness that many people experience. With the help of a qualified psychiatrist or psychiatric care specialist, you can deal with depression and recover from it. During appointments, they will work with you to determine various treatment options to alleviate symptoms of depression. Each person is unique, and not every treatment will work for everyone. Here are the key ways a psychiatrist can treat depression.


Psychiatrists might prescribe medication as a treatment, helping your body find a more balanced neurochemistry. Certain medications can treat or manage depression effectively. People whose depression stems from genetics very often require some form of medication.

Additionally, the psychiatrist must balance medication and therapy. Typically, the treatment will not rely on medications alone. When Medication helps relieve the symptoms it is often continued for long-term use.


Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is another standard method used to treat depression. There are different types, but all focus on how the individual addresses challenges in their life.

Behavioral and Lifestyle Changes

Another simple but effective form of treating depression involves behavioral changes. It consists in changing a person's diet, exercise, and general lifestyle to ease depression symptoms. Your psychiatrist may recommend implementing specific lifestyle changes such as engaging more in social situations and recreational activities.

What Medications Are Used to Treat Depression?

Fortunately, depression is treatable. Studies estimate that 80-90% of people diagnosed with clinical depression respond well to treatment, and most patients can manage their symptoms.

The most commonly used medications are antidepressants, which can effectively alleviate mood disorders. When used correctly, the medication can relieve symptoms of depression and prevent recurrences. Antidepressants work by altering brain chemistry.

When a person takes antidepressants, they may start noticing improvement within a week or two, according to the severity. The treatment takes an average of three months to a perception of complete recovery. Antidepressant medications used include SSRIs, MAOIs, SNRIs, and TCAs.

Psychiatrists recommend using the medication for at least nine months after the symptoms have improved. This reduces the risk of future episodes for people with severe depression symptoms. Always let your doctor know if the medication is working or not. After 2 episodes of relapsing in depression off of medication, medication is recommended for the person’s lifetime, as the risk of recurrences is then very high.

These medicines only apply to patients with an established disorder under medical supervision. If you experience side effects, inform your healthcare provider immediately to receive an alternative treatment option.

How Does Depression Affect Your Health?

Suffering from depression can lead to adverse effects on your health and physical activities. The typical physical symptoms include vague aches and pain affecting diet, hygiene, mental clarity, motivation, sleep, and psychomotor activity.

Can Depression Be Cured?

There is no known cure for depression, but patients have plenty of treatment options that can improve the symptoms and minimize the impact on their daily lives. People can recover and live long and healthy lives. The treatment involves, medications, psychotherapy, lifestyle changes and support groups. Everyone is different and may need a combination of these options for recovery. Some of these options, like medication and psychotherapy, will require the help of professionals.

What Should You Do If Someone You Love Has Worsening Depression Symptoms?

Worsening symptoms of depression require treatment as soon as possible. Encourage your loved one to work with a Psychiatric Care Specialist to develop a plan of treatment when symptoms reach a particular stage. As part of the plan, you can:

  • See if there is a possibility of using or adjusting medications.
  • Seek psychotherapy
  • Take self-care steps such as offering healthy meals and ensuring they receive enough sleep daily.

What Should You Do If Someone Is Suicidal?

Severe depression can lead to suicidal thoughts. If your loved one is suicidal, you need to seek help immediately. Start by talking to them about your concern, call a suicide hotline number, and ensure the person is in a safe environment. Stay with them at all times and call 911 or your local emergency number if they are in danger of self-harm or suicide.

Does Health Insurance Cover Depression Treatment in North Dakota?

Almost all insurance plans do cover Depression Treatment. Residents of North Dakota can also obtain insurance through the North Dakota Health Marketplace to help with mental illness conditions. Depression is a type of mental illness and can be covered through a mental health insurance plan.

Schedule an Appointment with Saint Sophie's
Psychiatric Center

At Saint Sophie's Psychiatric Center, we are passionate about offering the highest quality care to patients. This often is focused on medication management. We offer free computerized testing for ADHD, and psychotherapy (individual, couples, and family). We offer telehealth and in-person appointments to patients in North Dakota and Minnesota. Contact us today to set up an appointment by filling out a contact form or calling our help desk at (701) 365-4488.