Because of this, we need to be able to speak about its symptoms, causes and management openly. Understanding what depression looks like is the first step to getting help, and that’s where we can come in.
At Neuralia TMS, we don’t just treat the symptoms, we create a comprehensive treatment plan using our TMS machine. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy is a non-invasive form of brain stimulation used to treat depression and many other conditions.
Before you can make an informed decision on treatment, you have to understand the signs that you have depression.
Common Depression Symptoms and Signs
Some common signs and symptoms of depression include:
- Persistent feelings of sadness,
- Emptiness, or
as well as a loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyable.
According to Beyond Blue, “Depression is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. It can cause a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease your ability to function at work and at home.”
However, each person experiences depression differently. There are a wide range of symptoms that can affect their daily lives.
The symptoms of depression can be divided into the following three categories:
1) Affective symptoms:
- decreased mood
2) Biological symptoms or physical symptoms:
- decreased appetite
- early morning wakening
- psychomotor slowing, i.e. monotonous/slow/delayed/decreased amount of speech
- decreased facial expressions OR psychomotor agitation, i.e. hand wringing
3) Cognitive symptoms or emotional symptoms:
- decreased concentration
- decreased memory
- daily tasks take longer than normal
- decreased self-esteem
- self-harm or suicidal thoughts
Physical Symptoms of Depression
Depression, while often recognised by emotional symptoms like sadness and loss of interest, can also significantly impact your physical well-being. Here’s an expanded look at the physical symptoms of depression, drawing on Australian studies and insights.
|Changes in appetite and weight
|Studies from the Black Dog Institute and Beyond Blue indicate that around 40-50% of people with depression experience changes in appetite, with either weight loss or gain
|Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early are common, affecting up to 90% of individuals with depression
|Fatigue and low energy
|Feeling constantly tired and drained is a hallmark symptom, impacting daily activities and motivation.
|Unexplained aches and pains
|Headaches, muscle aches, and digestive issues like stomach pain or constipation can occur without a clear physical cause
|Decreased libido, difficulty achieving orgasm, and erectile dysfunction are common in both men and women with depression
Emotional Symptoms of Depression
Emotionally, people with depression may experience persistent feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness, along with difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or remembering details.
Beyond the persistent sadness and loss of interest that hallmark depression, a complex range of emotional symptoms can manifest. Here’s an expanded look at those mentioned:
|Guilt and worthlessness
|These feelings plague many with depression, often stemming from distorted self-perception and negative self-talk (Black Dog Institute, 2022). Studies estimate around 80% of individuals with depression experience guilt, and 70% feel worthless (Slade et al., 2006).
|Helplessness and hopelessness
|Feelings of inability to control or improve the situation and a bleak outlook on the future are common, leading to decreased motivation and engagement (Beyond Blue, 2023).
|Difficulties concentrating, remembering, and making decisions
|Depression can impair cognitive function, impacting memory, focus, and ability to process information effectively Studies suggest up to 90% of individuals with depression experience these difficulties (Sheline et al., 2006).
|Negative thinking patterns
|Rumination (dwelling on negative thoughts) and pessimism bias (focusing on negative aspects) become ingrained, reinforcing feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
Additional emotional symptoms
|Irritability and anger
|While often associated with sadness, depression can also manifest as irritability, frustration, and even outbursts of anger, impacting relationships and daily interactions.
|Emotional blunting or numbness
|Some individuals experience a reduced ability to feel emotions, including both positive and negative ones, creating a sense of detachment and isolation.
|Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
|The things that once brought joy may become uninteresting or seem pointless, further intensifying feelings of emptiness and isolation.
How is Depression Treated?
There are various treatment options for depression available for diagnosed individuals. These include psychotherapy, medication, TMS or a combination. The best way forward would be to speak to a psychologist, or psychiatrist to create a treatment plan. Here’s an expanded look at some key options.
- Psychotherapy (Talk Therapy)
Effectiveness: Studies show a success rate of 50-80% in reducing depression symptoms. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a particularly well-researched and effective form.
Effectiveness: Antidepressants can significantly improve symptoms in moderate to severe cases. However, medication alone may not be sufficient for everyone.
- TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation):
Effectiveness: For individuals who haven’t responded well to other treatments, TMS for depression can be a potential option. Harvard Studies show response rates of 50-60% in major depressive disorder.
Important Points to Remember:
- Consult a healthcare professional: Engaging in open dialogue about your unique requirements and symptoms with a medical professional, whether it be a doctor, psychologist, or psychiatrist, is essential to identify the most suitable treatment plan tailored to your specific situation. This collaborative process not only allows for personalised care but also enables you to weigh the benefits and risks associated with various treatment options effectively.
- Combination therapy: Often, the most effective treatment plans combine therapy and medication or other options. There is no single “right” way. What works for one person may not work for another. Be patient and open to exploring different options with your healthcare team.
- Getting help is essential: If you’re struggling with depression, remember you’re not alone. Seeking professional help is the first step towards feeling better.
- Support for people with depression: Support from friends, family, and mental health professionals is very important in the process of treating of depression. Establishing a strong support system can help individuals navigate the challenges associated with managing your condition and reduce the symptoms of depression.
Contact us today for a free consultation and explore how TMS can help you reclaim your life, one pulse at a time.
What Are The Different Types of Depression?
There are different types of depression, each with its own unique characteristics and presentation. Here’s a breakdown of some common types:
|Major Depressive Disorder (MDD):
|This is the most commonly diagnosed type of depression, characterised by intense episodes of sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, and other symptoms lasting for at least two weeks.
|Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia):
|Less severe but longer-lasting than MDD, characterised by mild-to-moderate depressive symptoms for at least two years.
|Characterised by alternating episodes of depression and mania (elevated mood and high energy). Some individuals experience hypomania, a milder form of mania.
|Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD):
|Depression related to changes in seasons, typically occurring during winter months with reduced sunlight exposure.
|Depression occurring within four weeks of childbirth, affecting up to 1 in 10 women.
|Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD):
|Severe mood swings and depressive symptoms related to the menstrual cycle.
|Characterised by unusual sleep patterns, increased appetite, and mood reactivity.
|Depression accompanied by psychotic symptoms like delusions or hallucinations.
Is TMS Effective in Treating Depression?
Studies report response rates (significant improvement in symptoms) ranging from 50% to 55% for patients with major depressive disorder. Additionally, the percentage of patients achieving remission (no longer meeting criteria for depression) falls between 30% and 35%.
TMS might offer similar effectiveness to antidepressants, but with potentially fewer side effects.TMS is often used for people who haven’t responded well to traditional treatments like medication and therapy. In this group, TMS success rates are lower than in the general population with MDD.