Depression Treatment San Diego: Am I Depressed or Just Sad? It Could Depend On Your…

A lot of people assign depression to an ordinary feeling of sadness, and when both terms are used interchangeably, it’s hard to distinguish them from each other. Depression is a complex mental illness with various subtypes and factors. And because of this, depression treatment San Diego can vary just as much.

Where do you draw the line? Are you depressed or experiencing grief and sadness over a significant life event? Would seeking a psychiatrist for treatment be a premature move if your sadness does not go away after a week or two?Your next step depends on how it’s affecting your life and mental functioning, but once diagnosed, the condition needs to be addressed immediately. A psychiatric care provider will help you cope and give you the best treatment for your depression.

Understanding Depression to Better Understand Your San Diego Depression Treatment Options

Depression is a complex mental condition. There is no one definition for it. Instead, you will find different types – from mild to moderate to severe depression. And it doesn’t end there. There is a wide range that falls in between. However, the symptoms are similar, such as:

  • Consistent feeling of deep sadness
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Lack of energy
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lack of sleep
  • Difficulty getting out of bed
  • Inability to socialize
  • Unproductivity
  • Withdrawn
  • Loss of interest in interacting with family and friends
  • Frequent isolation
  • Low mood
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Loss of temper

The symptoms mentioned may not be present all at once, but you may display a few. Sometimes, you may be depressed without knowing it. Such cases fall under mild or functional depression, in which you could still meet the daily demands of life. While everything seems normal, you may still need medically-based depression treatment.

Sadness vs Depression: Treatment for the Right Situation

Am I Depressed or Just Sad?

The Distinction Between Grief & Depressive Conditions


Grief is a response to negative or adverse life events and the person may go through different stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.


It is a feeling of deep sadness that is also persistent and the disinterest in many things may feel permanent.

There’s a distinction between grief vs depressive conditions. Grief is a response to negative or adverse life events and the person may go through different stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

While grieving, you can still manage to feel enjoyment and pleasure alone or within a social group. There could be days when you feel disinterested in daily activities, but recovery is quick. Although grief sets in, you are aware that things will get better with time. Usually, the sad feeling lasts for only a few hours or days.

Depression is more intense and pervasive across multiple domains or settings, such as work, school, home, or social life. The feeling of deep sadness is also persistent and your disinterest in many things may feel permanent. Because depression is not a straightforward mental health issue, we need to start with the basics and know the clinical definitions of each type before you can start determining the best route for your depression treatment.

Can I Have Depression AND Anxiety? Possible Co-morbidities To Keep In Mind

People with depression frequently have other co-morbidities. Often, depression occurs with anxiety disorder, which is common in many patients. Both conditions can take place at the same time. For example, people with anxiety disorder find it hard to cope with daily tasks and fail to accomplish things as a result. Because of this failure, depression may develop.

In contrast, people who are depressed often feel lethargic, causing them to miss deadlines. Next, because of the need to rush things, they may develop an anxiety disorder.

There are many different conditions you can have co-occurring with depression including (but not limited to):

  • Anxiety
  • ADHD
  • Insomnia
  • PTSD
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hormonal Imbalance

Different Types of Depression

  • Major Depression
  • Dysthymia or Persistent Depressive Disorder(PDD)
  • Manic Depression or Bipolar disorder
  • Depressive Psychosis
  • Prenatal & Postpartum Depression
  • Seasonal Affective Depression (SAD)
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PDD)
  • High-Functioning Depression
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Different Types of Depression

Usually, people think that depression is just one type of mental disorder. However, under this are several types of depression. Each of which can be distinguished through symptoms and duration. This is important for your San Diego depression treatment course, so you can understand what is causing your symptoms and what type of treatment will best match your long-term needs.

You may be experiencing major depression or major depressive disorder (MDD) if the feeling is recurring for two weeks or more. MDD is a common type of depression that causes:

  • Profound sadness
  • Sleeping and eating problems
  • Loss of energy and inability to concentrate
  • Mood changes
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of self-worth and feeling of hopelessness

With MDD, which is also known as chronic depression and severe depression, comes a major depressive episode or MDE. It is during this episode that the symptoms strongly manifest. Often, it is not triggered by external factors. It occurs even without any clear reason and can last up to several months.

A depression that lasts for two years or more is called a persistent depressive disorder. Clinically known as dysthymia, it is not as intense as MDD, but can still be detrimental to your mental health and physical well-being. A person with dysthymia would feel:

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  • Sad and withdrawn
  • Low in self-esteem
  • Unable to feel joy
  • Unable to concentrate
  • Disinterested in activities that were previously pleasurable

Changes in sleep patterns and appetite also occur, and normal functioning is affected. Although long-term, dysthymia can mellow after several months and intensify again.

Manic depression causes alternating feelings of joy and depression. The person experiences episodes of mania or hypomania. Mania occurs when you have so much energy. Hypomania is less severe. For bipolar patients, the mania usually lasts for at least seven days. Depression may occur before or after the manic episodes. Sometimes, both mania and depression occur at the same time.

The symptoms include:

  • Profound sadness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Fatigue or lethargy
  • Having suicidal thoughts

If the condition is severe, the individual may also experience hallucinations (seeing things and hearing voices that are not real).

In severe cases of major depression, the patient sometimes hallucinates or becomes delusional. It may also affect their mobility and physical health. They are less reactive, move slowly, or could not sit still. Psychiatrists also call the condition psychotic depression.

Some people call it the “baby blues” but perinatal depression is more serious than this. Also called postpartum depression, it can be due to hormonal changes and occurs during or after pregnancy, and lasts up to one year. The patient or family and friends of the patient should not let the condition go untreated, as this can lead to bigger mental health issues. Contacting a psychiatric care provider immediately for treatment for postpartum depression medications is highly recommended.

Although seasonal depression can be related to a specific season, it usually occurs during late fall and early winter. Come spring and summertime, it goes away. Specialists also refer to this condition as a major depressive disorder with seasonal patterns.

People with this type of depression have the following symptoms:

  • Feelings of sadness and hopelessness
  • Weight gain
  • Increased sleep time
  • Social withdrawal
  • In severe cases, the patient may have suicidal thoughts as well.

Some women experience PMS or premenstrual syndrome, which can be physical or psychological. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PDD is a severe form of PMS and is primarily psychological. During these episodes, the person becomes highly emotional. Their level of sadness affects their mental and physical functioning.

The signs and symptoms include:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Breast tenderness
  • Bloating
  • Headaches
  • Sadness and irritability
  • Mood changes
  • Binge eating
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Sleep problems

Hormonal change is one of the factors that cause PDD. As the menstrual cycle ends, the symptoms improve. This type of depression is generally bearable, but certainly not something you should completely ignore. A severe case of PDD causes suicidal thoughts, too.

People with depression are often stereotyped as gloomy, dark, and poorly performing. But contrary to popular belief, people with a mild form of depression can be high-functioning and blend with society. They can still get things done efficiently at work, school, or at home. However, the absence of joy or happiness is evident.

Despite their normal functioning, the feeling of joy is absent and they are less reactive emotionally. In a way, they have accepted the feeling of indifference as a baseline, not knowing they have depression. The changes in their brain functioning happen in the background while still being able to meet life’s ordinary demands.

People with mild or functional depression may display the following symptoms:

  • Mood changes
  • Persistent sadness
  • Loss of interest in social activities
  • Occasional isolation

The trigger can be anything that matters to you the most. You can downplay the negative effects on your mental and physical well-being, but the impact on your life is something you could not ignore. Mostly, the factors causing it are environmental, so mild depression tends to go away when the issues that cause it gets resolved. The condition may recur or not.

Depression treatment for high-functioning depression is just as important and critical as treatment for normal depression. Learn more about high-functioning depression treatment in San Diego here.

Chronic (Long-Term) and Acute (Short-Term): Depression Treatment San Diego Psychiatrists Recommend Should Depend on Your Type

Depression can occur in one episode or more. It can be recurring or persistent which can turn into chronic depression, or you may experience a single episode. This may last for a few weeks, or you can experience an episode that goes away, only to experience it again years later with no apparent reason. This is why it is vital to seek the help of a specialist who will help you distinguish and identify your state of mind.

A psychiatric care provider will also help you find out if your depression is a symptom of a more serious mental health condition or if it’s co-occurring with another mental illness like ADHD or anxiety disorder.

Depression can occur in one episode or more. It can be recurring or persistent which can turn into chronic depression, or you may experience a single episode.
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The Usual Suspects: Common Factors That Cause Depression

We can look at several factors that can cause a person to develop certain types of depression, including:

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Abuse or traumatic history

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Certain medications

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Loss of a loved one or significant person in your life

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Major life events

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Serious illnesses

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Substance misuse

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To sum it up, the factors can be social, environmental, or genetic. But there is also what psychiatric specialists call ‘epigenetics’, which refers to the study of how the environment affects the genes. Your responses to the environment or the changes in it could be either positive or negative.

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Can Medication Really Help with Depression?

Depression can be multi-factorial, so there is no one-size-fits-all treatment approach. In some cases, patients who take medication may experience early remission of symptoms within a week or two and the condition continues to improve until full recovery. There are also cases where medications take longer to work.

Some studies show that depression affects individuals differently and not all patients will respond to the same medication as expected. For these patients, medication combined with therapy is highly recommended.

Peak Wellness Psychiatry has helped many patients treat their depression through medications alone and we have seen improvements. Some display immediate recovery, while others take time. But they eventually get better, especially when combined with the appropriate therapy.

Our San Diego Psychiatrists have helped many patients treat their depression using all tools available - medication, holistic consideration, and lifestyle adjustments and each of them has seen improvements.

Depression Treatment San Diego: Medications

A wide range of medications is now available to patients with depression. Among the frontrunners are SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors), whose main function is to balance serotonin levels in the brain.

Specialists also recommend SNRI (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake Inhibitor) medications for severe forms of depression and anxiety disorders. The main function of SNRIs is to increase the serotonin and norepinephrine levels in the brain, which happens when the drug blocks or delays the reuptake.

Is Medication the Best Treatment for Depression?

Once you find out that you are clinically depressed, treatment is crucial especially when the condition has already put a dent on your relationships. It will also help if your depression has damaged your functioning at work, school, or household. Although the type of treatment to undergo depends on your personal choice, medication is often the initial recommendation. But is medication the best treatment for depression?

Our San Diego psychiatric care team has always been careful when it comes to treatment approach. First, our specialists assess patients thoroughly and check their medical history if needed. Tests and other procedures may be required for serious cases as this helps us decide what medications to prescribe.

Why Seeking a Specialist for Depression Treatment Is Important

Depression has many layers. As you focus on the signs, you may overlook other symptoms, which may be related to a co-occurring medical condition. It could be a physiological or another psychological problem.

As psychiatric care providers, our job is to look at the deeper layers. We help you understand your condition, where and how it started, what it is, and how it can be treated. The treatment process also does not end with the specialist giving you a prescription. While you can carry on without a regular check-up, you will soon find yourself struggling for the next steps – are there improvements? How do you deal with the side effects? Is the medication really working? When you are doing well, you also forget to check whether your medications are working or not or recognize the changes that have taken place since you first took an anti-depressant.

With regard to these issues, we can give you clarity on the effects of the medications that you are taking. If your body is not responding well to the medication, we can prescribe different medications as a treatment for depression or adjust the dosage as necessary.

Should Individuals with Depression Worry About the Stigma of Taking Medications?

Depression is real, and it’s affecting millions of people worldwide. But there are people who would rather wait in silence or forego medications for therapy because of the stigma or taking anti-depressants or any anti-psychotic drugs for that matter.

Usually, individuals with depression view it as a crutch that makes them look weak physically or mentally. Some of them convince themselves that they can recover on their own without any medications to help them cope. Others beg off medications because they do not believe in their efficacy.

Psychiatric care providers understand their sentiments and always respects their patients’ choice. Alternatively, our specialists recommend therapy or a holistic treatment program.

Experiencing Depression? You Are Not Alone. Get Depression Treatment- San Diego Psychiatrists & Psychiatric Care Providers

If you are experiencing depressive episodes, know that it’s not the end of the world and you are not alone in this battle. There is always hope, but you need to make the move. The first step to getting better is to seek help. Whether you start with reaching out to family or friends, the best result will always come from talking to a specialist for depression treatment San Diego.

As you start your journey to recovery, our San Diego psychiatric care providers will help you get the right depression treatment in San Diego. We will lay out a focused and comprehensive treatment approach for your condition to help you get your life back to normal.

There are many ways that we can help you. We will help you get started. Give us a call and know your options.

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