How prevalent? 10% of US adults have a mood disorder. 45% of them are classified as severe. Women as compared to men are 50% more likely to experience a mood disorder during their lifetime, and 70% more likely to have depression.
Risk factors for major depressive disorder are related to age/life cycle.
- Pregnancy and postpartum periods have specific life stressors: financial and relationship strife.
- Midlife stressors may include physical health limitations, menopausal symptoms, prior anxiety disorder and stressful life events.
Laboratory tests to be considered… Blood work may confirm under-functioning thyroid, anemia or electrolyte/kidney or liver abnormality– all which may cause symptoms similar to depression.
Treatment options. Are varied.
- Depression-focused psychotherapy can be used as initial treatment.
- Medications may be prescribed.
- Electroconvulsive therapy is reserved for severe depression, unresponsive to medications or those with catatonic features.
Then, there is a question of how, when, and if to discontinue medication. This will be a discussion with your physician. Number of depressive episodes, severity, and continued life stressors will need to be taken into consideration.
Hope this helps.