Before you begin, I realized when this story was updated with chapter five, and I was writing chapter ten, that I subconsciously had written signs of depression and antidepressant withdrawal in Genesis. This topic is important to me, personally, because of my mother. I will continue writing Genesis with depression, and of course, provide you guys with information. Below is what I researched about depression and antidepressant withdrawals. Please remember that this PSA is in no way or form a diagnosis. If you think you might have depression, please make an appointment with your doctor or consult with a psychologist. All the information is taken from the National Institute of Mental Health and the MayoClinic.
Also known as major depressive disorder or clinical depression - is a common disorder but a quite serious one. Everything you do, feel, think, etc. will be affected by severe symptoms caused by this disorder. Depression can happen at any age and with anyone. It often begins in adulthood but is now recognized in children and adolescents. With midlife or older adults can also co-occur with a serious medical illness. Unfortunately, paired with depression it worsens their conditions. Depression can be treated. If treatment begins early, it is more effective. Depression is treated with medication and psychotherapy, individually or both. There are many forms of depression that are slightly different or will occur by unique circumstances. These forms are the following:
Persistent depressive disorder (aka dysthymia): The symptoms for this form must last at least two years for it to be considered as persistent depressive disorder. A person who’s diagnosed may have episodes of major depression with periods of less severe symptoms.
Postpartum depression: Women experience this after giving birth and it is worse than “baby blues” (which is mild and only lasts about two weeks after delivery). Women will experience full-blown depressive episodes (with extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion) during pregnancy or after the delivery. This makes it difficult for new mothers to tend to their child’s needs and/or their own needs.
Psychotic depression: This form of depression happens when a person is severely depressed and has some sort of psychosis. Psychosis episodes may include disturbing false, fixed beliefs (aka delusions) or hearing or seeing upsetting things that others can’t see or hear (hallucinations). They usually have a depressive “theme.”
Seasonal affective disorder: Depression during the winter months, typically comes with social withdrawal, increased sleep, and weight gain. This dissipates during the spring and summer when there is more natural sunlight. Usually returns every year during winter.
Bipolar disorder: Someone who’s bipolar may experience depressive episodes, even if bipolarity is different from depression. A person with bipolar depression can experience extremely low moods, as well as, extreme highs (euphoric (mania) or irritable (hypomania)).
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:
These signs and symptoms should be experienced most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks to be considered as depression.
Persistent sad, anxious, “empty” modd
Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness
Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
Decreased energy and fatigue
Moving or talking more slowly
Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
Appetite and/or weight changes
Thoughts of death or suicide, or suice attempts
Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without clear physical cause (and/or don’t ease even with treatment)
Remember that not everyone will experience all these symptoms; some only experience a few of these while others experience more. Severity, frequency, and duration of symptoms vary with each person and stage of the disorder.
OTHER RISK FACTORS:
Personal or family history of depression
Major life changes, trauma or stress
Certain physical illnesses and medications
Also known as antidepressant discontinuation syndrome. Withdrawal is possible when medication is stopped abruptly - especially after taking it for longer than four to six weeks. Symptoms of withdrawal can last for a few weeks. Some antidepressants are more likely to cause withdrawal symptoms than others. Withdrawal symptoms may be felt with a day or two. Symptoms are:
Insomnia or vivid dreams
Flu-like symptoms, including achy muscles and chills
Electric shock sensations
Return of depression symptoms
Remember that antidepressant withdrawal symptoms don’t mean you’re addicted. Antidepressants don’t cause addiction. If you are taking antidepressants and are thinking about quitting your meds, please talk to your doctor first! They may recommend taking a smaller dose to help your body get used to the absence of the medication, instead of going cold turkey (as they say). This will help reduce withdrawal symptoms. A doctor may also prescribe a different antidepressant to gradually replace the original. Keep your doctor informed of your signs and symptoms! Recognizing withdrawal symptoms and returning depression symptoms can be difficult after stopping antidepressants.
If this portrayal of depression doesn’t to be “textbook accurate,” I apologize in advance. I am trying my best.