Many people experience depression, but imagine experience two bouts of depression at the same time. This phenomenon actually occurs to some people in a condition called double depression. There are generally two main forms of depression. A major depressive episode, which generally consists of many symptoms of depression occurring in a two week time span or longer. These episodes are usually easily identified as they are a change from normal functioning. There is also a condition of depression called dysthymia. This condition is a result of an individual experiencing depressive symptoms over a longer period of time; usually a minimum of two years in adults and at least one year in children and adolescents. Less symptoms of depression are usually needed to diagnosis dysthymia as long as the duration is one to two years. It can be more difficult for individuals to identify this as a problem as they may feel as though it is normal for them to feel their level of depression as it has been ongoing for such a long time.
Double Depression | What Is It?
Double depression occurs when an individual is experiencing dysthymia, and then experiences a major depressive episode at the same time. Women are generally more likely to develop double depression, as they are more likely to experience dysthymia, and depression in general. Double depression can be extremely difficult to treat for several reasons. One being that it is often misdiagnosed as an exacerbation of dysthymia rather than two separate conditions. Secondly, many individuals will have the major depression treated and when the dysthymia goes untreated they will assume that their depression is treatment-resistant when in reality it was two separate disorders.
Double Depression | Treatment
Lifestyle changes can be a good step in the treatment process. Dysthymia often causes people to get in a rut of low activity. Increasing activity level through exercise can often improve several other areas that are often lacking due to dysthymia including poor sleep hygiene, and decreased appetite. Secondly, antidepressants are often warranted to aid in reducing the dysthymia and major depression. Connecting the individual to social and family supports and getting them involved in positive, enjoyable activities or hobbies are another good treatment step. Finally, therapy and counseling are also effective treatments on the road to recovery. Read our post about major depression treatment to learn more.
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