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What Are The Stages Of Depression

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First Stage: The Origin Of Depression

Stages of Depression

Some years ago, some theories supported that depression was the result of a series of biochemical changes that happened in our body.;Subsequent studies propose that for a person to be depressed, it is necessary that in their environment a situation that the person interprets as unpleasant originates.

This change in the perceived environment is called the loss of reinforcers.;The loss of reinforcers would be the source of the depression.

The origin of the disorder can be caused by a series of vital changes such as illness,;divorce,;loss of a loved one, dismissal,;family problems;and other psychological disorders.

As we can see, there is no standard key moment for all people, but rather any experience that the person interprets as a loss or an unpleasant change that he or she can not adapt to or can not face.

Not all unpleasant events that generate discomfort or sadness trigger a depression.;Sadness is a basic emotion that has a certain biological function.

The function of sadness is to decrease the energy to plan how we can deal with this loss.;Sometimes this period of sadness lasts longer because the person feels unable to cope with this new situation.

When this sadness is prolonged, the person begins to become depressed and a series of emotional changes, changes of thought and changes in behavior follow one another.

We can classify the loss of reinforcers in the following way:

a) Great stressor or loss of positive reinforcers

c) Increase in aversion

e) Symbolic loss

Types Of Diagnostic Tools

Researchers have been using such scales since the 1960s. One of the first, the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, is still sometimes used today. However, there are many more scales available that are better suited for doctors to use with patients. There are even scales patients can use on their own to track or self-report depression symptoms.;

While scales can offer key insights, they tend to be quite different from one another. The way they are administered, the questions they ask, and the way the answers are interpreted may not be the same from one scale to the next.;

The inconsistencies of the tools, their use, and interpretation can make it challenging to determine the severity of someones depression, as different scales may provide different results.;That said, when used along with other diagnostic measures and the judgment of an experienced clinician, the scales can be useful tools.;

Weight Or Appetite/hunger Fluctuations

Much like the effects of sleepiness, the impact of depression on appetite contains some opposing effects. Depression can cause weight fluctuations and either an increase or decrease in appetite. This symptom varies by person so its helpful to take note of any change in hunger cues.

Tacklingit: In some cases when you eat is more important than what you eat. Set a food routine to help keep your energy while checking in with your body. Make sure to talk to your doctor about any significant weight changes.

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Ongoing Mood Cognitive Changes May Require Professional Help

Depression is not only hard to endure, it is also a risk factor for heart disease and dementia. “Depressive symptoms can occur in adults for many reasons. If you are experiencing mood or cognitive changes that last for more than a few weeks, it’s a good idea to bring this up with your doctor or consult a mental health specialist to help sort out possible causes,” says Dr. Nancy Donovan, an instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.The four most common types of depression are major depression, persistent depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorder.

Major depression. The classic depression type, major depression is a state where a dark mood is all-consuming and one loses interest in activities, even ones that are usually pleasurable.; Symptoms of this type of depression include trouble sleeping, changes in appetite or weight, loss of energy, and feeling worthless. Thoughts of death or suicide may occur. It is usually treated with psychotherapy and medication. For some people with severe depression that isn’t alleviated with psychotherapy or antidepressant medications, electroconvulsive therapy may be effective.

Nail Down A Diagnosis

5 Stages Depression Anxiety Poster Vector Stock Vector ...

There can be cases where depressive symptoms occur with another diagnosis, such as PTSD. Once you meet with a mental health professional, they can help you confirm if you have a depression diagnosis and what type, more than one diagnosis, or if its something else entirely.

But having a clear diagnosis allows you and your health care provider to tailor treatment to the condition. Youll also be more likely to see an improvement in your individual symptoms.

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Denial & Grief: You Cant Believe It Is Happening

Denial and grief are overwhelming emotions. Its not unusual to respond to the intense and often sudden feelings by pretending the loss or change isnt happening.;

Denying it gives you time to more gradually absorb the news and begin to process it.;

This is a common defence mechanism and helps numb you to the intensity of the situation.

The Four Difficult Stages Of Depression

Most depressed people go through several stages of depression when they feel hopeless or down. Depression can mean these stages dont just come and go but rather stay for weeks and months.

Although most people accept depression as a clinical condition there are cases in which people don`t recognize it for what it is.

Depression is not a sign of weakness and it can`t be undone quickly. It requires complex treatment and most people can recover from it.

Depression can cover a wide spectrum of feelings or lack of feelings. Depressed people can feel unhappy for long periods of time.

Depressed people can also lose interest in things which used to make them interested.

Depression is not to be confused with anxiety. In certain cases though, depression can be a symptom of anxiety issues.

From the mental perspective, the prevalent issues can be harder to observe. But depression comes with physical symptoms also. Some of these include the constant feeling of tiredness, constant pains, lack of appetite or lack of sex drive.

These symptoms can range from mild to acute. Mild symptoms can include feeling constantly low while severe symptoms can go as far as suicidal thoughts.

Depression can have some distinguishable causes in some cases. The loss of a close person, childbirth or losing a job can be triggers for depression.

In other cases, depression risks can be associated with a history of the condition in the family.

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Distinguishable Stages Of Depression


This stage is where many people find themselves when they cant recognize or are not even aware of depression. For some people, it might be difficult to even recognize the signs of depression.

Usually, it can take a certain lifestyle which can then lead to the thought that depression might be actually present.

Some people isolate themselves from the rest of the world after a traumatic event or even without any reason at all.

It is hard to explain to such a person that they might be suffering from depression.

The sufferer is not even aware in most cases in this stage of denial.


At this stage, someone close to the depressed person might realize the constant down feeling is not over and that there might be the need to help.

This stage can raise many rhetorical questions and the person in cause may start to analyze the various issue which comes with depression.

One of the best chances for proper depression treatment is when the actual person realizes that treatment is needed. However, at this stage treatment is out of the question as the person living through it can be overwhelmed by the thought of depression.

Full stage depression

When depression is constant and prevalent for long periods of time it would be possible some sufferers might recognize it for what it is or seek help from friends, family or professionals to discover the cause of their feeling of hopelessness.

Some people find out they need medication and treatment which in most cases is not cheap.

When Symptoms And Stages Of Depression Collide

Causes of Depression at Different Life Stages

Stages is a bit of a misnomer as theres no set checklist to how depression shows up or makes you feel. Not everyone cries for 2 weeks straight or experiences hopelessness every day. In fact, some people with depression dont fully comprehend their symptoms until after they feel better.

Real talk: Theres no shame in going through stages without knowing it, but you cant practice self-compassion if you dont know youre in it! However, like the stages of grief, depression can be nonlinear too.

While these are nine common stages of depression, remember these arent in any particular order:

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Stages Of Depression Similar To The 5 Stages Of Grief

One of the challenges of treating depression promptly and appropriately is recognizing it when it is happening. Everyone goes through phases of feeling down, but how does a person know when they are experiencing stages of depression?

As mentioned earlier, depression affects individuals differently, but it is believed that people experience depression in stages similar to how people experience grief.;

In the grief cycle model, as explained by Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, who created the model, a person experiences grief in five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Some abbreviate the model as DABDA. The person experiencing grief could be the person who is facing death or the person who is coming to terms with a loved one who is in the process of dying or has died.

Second Stage: Establishment Of Depression

When experiencing any of these losses, the person feels;sad.;This sadness is prolonged and established, the person is not able to cope with this new situation and begins to become depressed.

This loss of reinforcers is experienced as critical and thinking that it can not cope produces a great psychological impact.

This emotional pain manifests itself in two changes, on the one hand, the automatic negative thoughts and on the other hand the unpleasant emotional and physical sensations.

As a result of thinking and feeling in this way, the person has less and less desire to do things.;There is a general state of inhibition,;apathy;and;lack of motivation, leading to the next stage.

Third stage: Behavioral inhibition of pleasant activities

This emotional pain manifested through thoughts and physiological sensations cause the person to stop doing those pleasant activities.

It is when inertia appears.;It is understandable that if we have a low mood and thoughts are negative, we are not very predisposed to do things.

What we fail to do first are pleasurable activities, that is, those we like to go out with friends, play sports, read, listen to music, eat with family.;These are the voluntary activities that we do to enjoy.

To stop doing nice things is a loss of reinforcers that adds to the loss of initial reinforcers, thus closing the circuit of depression.

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Identify Symptoms And Your Triggers

Paying attention to how long your symptoms persist and how they affect your daily life is step one. From there, work backward to see if there are any common factors that trigger your symptoms.

This along with other conditions and medications you take will be helpful information to provide to your doctor or therapist.

If left untreated, depression can complicate other conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, asthma, and cancer. Your body can also have a physical reaction to this mental condition, which is also important to pay attention to.

Stage Three: Behavioral Inhibition Of Pleasant Activities

Soul Purpose: The Five Stages of Grief

This emotional pain that manifests itself through the physiological thoughts and sensations causes the person to stop doing those pleasant activities.

It is when inertia appears. It is understandable that if we have a low mood and the thoughts are negative, we are not too predisposed to do things.

What we first stop doing are pleasurable activities, that is, those that we like like going out with friends, playing sports, reading, listening to music, eating with family. These are the voluntary activities we do to enjoy.

What happens is that when the possibility of a pleasant activity arises, the thoughts that invade the mind of a depressed person are, for example,”I do not feel like it”,”I do not want them to think I’m wrong”,”I do not want to be asked “,”I’m sure I do not have a good time”, these thoughts generate discomfort, so the person chooses not to go out and stay at home.

When a person decides not to perform this activity in the short term he feels relieved, since he has managed to escape from this situation that causes him discomfort, but in the long run he generates more loss, as he loses the opportunity to get rich from this activity.

Failure to do nice things is a loss of reinforcers which adds to the loss of initial reinforcers, thus closing the circuit of depression.

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Test Your Treatment Options

Finding what works for you may be like ordering jeans with no stretch online. Before you can find what fits, you may have to try a few that just dont work for you.

Possible depression treatment options include:

  • Talk therapy. Not an instant fix but studies do show that most people need 5 to 10 sessions before seeing results.
  • Medication. This can be a hammer in your depression toolbox. Some use depression medications only for a short period of time while others engage in more long-term use.
  • Alternative treatments. These can be sought out by those who prefer a more homeopathic approach. Consult your medical doctor before trying any of these methods to avoid any possible dangerous side effects.
  • Lifestyle changes. They may not be enough to treat depression on their own but certainly eating mindfully, exercising, getting more restful sleep, and avoiding substances may help.

Other Types Of Depression

There are different types of depression, and some conditions where depression may be;one of the;symptoms. These include:

  • postnatal depression; sometimes new mothers, fathers or partners develop depression after they have a baby; this is known as postnatal depression and it’s treated in a similar way to other types of depression, with talking therapies and antidepressant medicines
  • bipolar disorder;;also known as “manic depression”, in bipolar disorder there are spells of both;depression;and excessively high mood ; the depression symptoms are similar to clinical depression, but the;bouts of mania can include harmful behaviour, such as gambling, going on spending sprees and having unsafe sex
  • seasonal affective disorder ; also known as “winter depression”, SAD is a type of depression with a seasonal pattern usually related to winter

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How Is Depression Syndrome Treated

Depression can be serious, but its also treatable. Treatment for depression includes:

  • Self-help: Regular exercise, getting enough sleep, and spending time with people you care about can improve depression symptoms.
  • Counseling: Counseling or psychotherapy is talking with a mental health professional. Your counselor helps you address your problems and develop coping skills. Sometimes brief therapy is all you need. Other people continue therapy longer.
  • Alternative medicine: People with mild depression or ongoing symptoms can improve their well-being with complementary therapy. Therapy may include massage, acupuncture, hypnosis and biofeedback.
  • Medication: Prescription medicine called antidepressants can help change brain chemistry that causes depression. Antidepressants can take a few weeks to have an effect. Some antidepressants have side effects, which often improve with time. If they dont, talk to your provider. A different medications may work better for you.
  • Brain stimulation therapy: Brain stimulation therapy can help people who have severe depression or depression with psychosis. Types of brain stimulation therapy include electroconvulsive therapy , transcranial magnetic stimulation and vagus nerve stimulation .

What Is Samhsas National Helpline

The 5 Stages of Grief: Depression

SAMHSAs National Helpline, , or TTY: is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.

Also visit the online treatment locators.

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Depression In Children And Teens

It used to be believed that children couldnt be depressed, but we now know thats not true. Children, teens, and young adults can experience depression, but it may not look the same as it does in adults.;

Children may not yet have the language skills and emotional awareness to express exactly what they are feeling. An adult who is depressed may feel profound sadness, whereas a depressed child may appear angry, frustrated, and irritable.;

Symptoms of depression in school-aged children and teens may interfere with school work, social activities, or friendships. For example, a child who is depressed may begin to make poor grades in school, lose interest in after school activities like sports, or no longer want to hang out with friends.;

As with teens and adults, children who are experiencing depression may also have trouble sleeping, lose their appetite, or have unexplained physical symptoms such as headaches and stomachaches.;

If you’re concerned that your child or teen is depressed, talk to your pediatrician. There are some medical conditions that can cause depression which will need to be ruled out. If your child is diagnosed with depression, finding the appropriate treatment is critical to their well-being.;

You can help by putting together a network of mental health professionals, doctors, teams at school, as well as friends and people in the community, who can support your family as you learn about managing your childs depression.;

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My good friend, Hope, a perfect name, hired me to help her ship organic produce to her clients, before it became available in stores later on. She is also a homeopathic physician/body worker, and she treated me with massages and other healing modalities in her home office. I felt safe and nurtured.

The main thing, I believe, that put me back on track was pulling the weeds from Hopes large garden on her mini-farm. I would go to the library every day for a book after helping with the produce orders. In the late afternoons, as the sun would be setting, Id take the wheelbarrow out to the garden and pull weeds for at least one hour, every day. Digging in the dirt, breathing country air, and doing something repetitive, satisfying, and useful helped me feel better. At night I would read myself to sleep. I repeated this for an entire month and I slowly regained a sense of balance.


My guilt feelings about depression, and asking for help, have been transformed into empathy and support for others who experience deep depression. During my time at Hopes, I joined a support group, Even Keel, which also helped. The stigma of mental illness slowly receded and my focus for the past few years is to stay vigilant about my health, seeking help as needed.; A big lesson for me was learning how to ask for help from family and friends and to seek help from professionals in the psychiatric field.

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