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What is a Depressive Disorder?Black and white image of man holding his face in his hands

Life brings many ups and downs, and most people can quickly cope with a passing blue mood. For some, however, that blue mood doesn’t seem to go away. Rather, it persists as constant feelings of sadness, worthlessness, a lack of desire to engage with others, and disinterest in formerly pleasurable activities. This is known as a depressive disorder.


A depressive disorder comes in many forms, and without treatment can last for weeks, months, and even years. It can appear as a Dysthymic Disorder, Major Depression, Psychotic Depression, Postpartum Depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and Bipolar Disorder. These disorders can strongly interfere in a person’s life, affecting family, personal, and work relationships.

The symptoms vary for each level of depression. Common symptoms include:

  • A persistent sad, anxious, and empty mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities once enjoyed
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Insomnia
  • Overeating and weight gain or weight loss
  • Restlessness and irritability

How can you identify if you or a loved one is struggling from a depressive disorder?

Dysthymic disorder involves a long-term case with less severe symptoms that don’t necessarily disable the person, but keep them from functioning normally and feeling good.

Psychotic depression involves a severe depressive illness coupled with a form of psychosis, such as hallucinations, delusions, and a break with reality.

Postpartum depression occurs when new mothers develop major depressive episodes shortly after delivery of their child.
Seasonal Affective disorder is characterized by a depressive response to the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. SAD requires light therapy.

Bipolar Disorder is characterized by severe mood swings, such as high highs and low lows.

Depressive disorder is a complex illness that tackles the body and the mind. There is no single known cause of depression. Rather, it likely results from a combination of genetic, biochemical, environmental, and psychological factors.

Fortunately, those struggling with depressive disorder are not stuck in its grips. It can be treated with medication and therapy. Medication, while a short-term solution sometimes creates more problems than it solves. Therapy, on the other hand, can address the thoughts and behavior that lead to the issue, and help to work through them to create more positive emotions and actions. The research behind the value of behavioral interventions for depression is growing, as studies are showing positive effects.


Find Counseling for Depressive Disorders at CSWFL

Counseling of Southwest Florida, located in Naples, Florida offers counseling for depressive disorders for men and women. Our team consists of certified addiction professionals, primary therapists, and counselors who offer high quality, individualized treatment to help patients struggling with multiple forms of depression. We offer a wide array of mental health services, as well as individual, family, and group counseling.

It is never too late to regain control over your life. You do not have to suffer under the grips of a depression. Our counselors can work with you one-on-one or in a group setting to work through the thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors that lead to a depressive disorder.