Table of Contents


Almost everyone goes through periods where they feel down or blue. These emotions are perfectly natural, and in most cases, they do not last. However, some people experience prolonged periods of sadness for no obvious reason. This may be accompanied by other distressing symptoms, such as trouble concentrating, fatigue and muscle aches. When a low mood persists for weeks or maybe even months and interferes with your ability to function, it could be a sign of depression, a diagnosable mental health condition that affects millions.

If you’re struggling with depression, you know that it can affect almost every aspect of your daily life. Sometimes, it might even feel impossible to get out of bed in the morning. Fortunately, mood disorders like depression can be effectively treated, and most people who seek treatment are able to successfully manage their symptoms and recover.

At Emerald Isle Health & Recovery, our goal is to provide comprehensive and compassionate care for individuals facing mental health challenges, including depression. We understand that depression is a complex condition that affects each person differently, so we offer a variety of treatment options tailored to meet the unique needs of each patient.


Depression is a mood disorder that causes persistent feelings of hopelessness, sadness and a loss of interest in normal activities. Most people are familiar with clinical depression, also called major depressive disorder, but there are six other depressive disorders. All of these disorders produce down or negative emotions strong enough to affect daily functioning.

However, some of these concerns may only:

  • Appear in certain circumstances (i.e., during certain times of the year)
  • Affect children (i.e., disruptive mood dysregulation disorder)
  • Have an impact on women (i.e., postpartum depression)

In addition, some mood disorders produce problems that go beyond typical depression symptoms. Many people experience muscle aches, changes in sleep or appetite, trouble concentrating, substance use and feeling overwhelmed by guilt or shame.

Major depression is the most common depressive disorder. Researchers once believed that this illness only affected adults. Today, they know that this is not true. The major depressive disorder affects more than 19 million U.S. adults. It also affects almost 4 million U.S. teens and preteens. A low mood is not always the most obvious symptom of childhood major depression. Instead, the main symptom may be an unusually high level of anxiety.

Depression is not always the direct result of mental illness. Instead, it may appear in connection with heart disease, diabetes or certain other serious physical conditions.



Major depression is also known as clinical depression or major depressive disorder. It produces severe symptoms that lead to a serious decline in your ability to function. You may only go through one episode of major depressive disorder in your entire life. However, the illness is often recurring and chronic.

Symptoms of major depressive disorder may include:

  • Emotional states such as sadness, helplessness, worthlessness, guilt or hopelessness
  • A more general sense of feeling “down”
  • Unusually slow speech or body movements
  • Feelings of fatigue
  • An uptick or drop in your normal appetite
  • Disinterest in things you once loved to do
  • Sleeping much less or much more than usual
  • Problems focusing or thinking clearly
  • Thinking about suicide or dying

The exact causes of major depressive disorder are unknown. However, certain factors are proven to increase your risk of developing depression, such as:

  • Having other people in your family with depression
  • Developing a physical illness capable of triggering depression
  • Chronic stress
  • Traumatic experiences
  • Other major changes in your personal circumstances


This disorder was formerly known as dysthymia. Most of the time, PDD does not produce severe depression symptoms. Instead, it tends to produce mild or moderate problems. Still, most people with PPD also go through bouts of severe depression. The symptoms of PDD are called persistent because they last for prolonged periods of time.

The classic indicator of PDD is feeling down or sad most of the time. In other respects, the disorder’s symptoms are very similar to those found in major depression. The big difference is the intensity of those symptoms. In PDD, they are typically milder.

The causes of PDD are not known. However, changes in levels of the brain chemical serotonin, chronic stress and certain physical illnesses are thought to play a role.


Seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression that occurs during certain times of the year. People can develop winter-pattern or summer-pattern SAD. Both versions of the disorder can produce additional symptoms not always found in major depression.

Symptoms of SAD are similar to depression, but they are cyclical and tend to return at the same time each year. Symptoms typically last four to five months and may include:

  • Low mood
  • Agitation
  • Lack of energy
  • Social isolation
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Changes in appetite
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Weight loss or weight gain

Researchers believe that SAD risks are sometimes inherited. This is especially true for people with a family history of mental illness. You are also more likely to develop SAD if you live north or south of the equator in areas with decreased sunlight during the winter. If you already have major depression or bipolar disorder, your symptoms may get worse seasonally.


This disorder only appears in women who have recently gone through childbirth. Its symptoms go far beyond the “baby blues” that many women experience during this time. Women with postpartum depression often have difficulty connecting with their newborns. They also experience a range of other symptoms, including mood swings, anxiety and feelings of hopelessness. Roughly 15 percent of women experience PPD after having a baby.

In addition to typical depression symptoms, women with PPD experience:

  • Lack of interest in your newborn
  • Feeling like your baby is not actually yours
  • Absence of a bond with your newborn
  • Thinking about hurting your baby or yourself
  • Feeling overwhelmed

Many women try to hide these symptoms out of fear of what others will think. There is no single cause of PPD, but changes in hormone levels after giving birth may play a role. Women with a family history of PPD are also more likely to experience it themselves.


PMDD occurs in women of childbearing age who are a week or two away from menstruation. In some ways, it is an exaggerated form of premenstrual disorder. However, PMDD produces severe depressive disorder or severe symptoms of anxiety. These symptoms fade close to the time of ovulation and then recur from month to month.

Besides common depression symptoms, people with PMDD may experience:

  • Persistent feelings of anger or irritability
  • Bouts of panic
  • Rapid mood changes
  • Loss of a sense of personal control
  • Food binging

No one knows why PMDD occurs. However, women who develop the disorder may be unusually sensitive to hormonal changes during monthly menstrual cycles or menstruation-related changes that affect levels of serotonin in the brain.


Like major depressive disorder, psychotic depression results in periods of depression that are severe and long-lasting. However, with psychotic depression, these symptoms are accompanied by distortions in reality, hallucinations and delusional thinking.

In addition to a persistently low mood, symptoms of psychotic depression may include:

  • Distortions in thinking and perceiving reality
  • Seeing or hearing things that do not actually exist
  • False thoughts or beliefs

Like major depression, psychotic depression may sometimes run in families. However, no one knows why the additional symptoms of psychosis occur. The single most common thing in the histories of affected people is trauma or other problems during childhood.


DMDD is a childhood disorder that causes frequent temper tantrums, outbursts of anger and intense irritability. It can sometimes resemble bipolar disorder, a condition marked by extreme highs (mania) and lows (depression). While it’s normal for children and adolescents to be moody from time to time, DMDD is more severe and longer lasting. As children grow, the symptoms of DMDD may change. Most children with DMDD experience fewer temper tantrums as they get older but may start to exhibit symptoms of anxiety or depression.

DMDD symptoms typically appear before the age of 10 and may include:

  • Extreme temper tantrums multiple days a week
  • Feelings of anger or irritability that occur most of the time
  • Strong emotional reactions disproportionate to the situation

It is common for affected children to also have symptoms of other mental health conditions. Experts aren’t sure what causes DMDD, and research on the topic is still ongoing. However, like other childhood disorders such as oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), it is likely caused by a combination of biological, genetic and environmental factors.


Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions in America. According to a 2023 Gallup poll, nearly 30% of adults in the U.S. have been diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives. Clinical depression was on the rise before the COVID-19 pandemic, but rates have jumped considerably in its aftermath due to negative effects like social isolation, mental exhaustion, increased substance use and treatment disruptions.

Depression in Arizona is also on the rise. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and National Center for Health Statistics released data in 2022 showing that 35% of Arizonans reported symptoms of anxiety and depression, up almost 3% from the previous year. Unfortunately, new studies also suggest that Arizona is also one of the worst states when it comes to accessing mental health care. Up to 65% of residents with a mental health concern like depression are not receiving the help they need to improve their symptoms.

At Emerald Isle Health & Recovery, we’re actively working to increase access to mental health treatment in response to the growing need for such services in Arizona. We understand the critical barriers that prevent individuals from seeking help, such as a shortage of mental health professionals, insurance limitations and the stigma, so our goal is to provide treatment options that are accessible and affordable for everyone.


A thorough mental health exam is needed to identify all forms of depression. This means that you cannot simply fill out an online “Do I Have Depression?” quiz. Instead, you must seek out a mental health professional. Each depressive illness has its own standards for diagnosis.

For a major depression diagnosis, you must be affected by your symptoms for no less than two weeks. Adults with persistent depressive disorder must have their symptoms for no less than two years. For children, this timespan drops down to no less than one year.

People with seasonal affective disorder must have major depressive disorder or specific seasonal symptoms for two years or more. Those symptoms must appear in either summer or winter and occur more often than usual during either of these seasons.

When diagnosing any kind of depressive disorder, mental health professionals consider a variety of factors, such as the intensity and duration of your symptoms, underlying causes or medical conditions, recent life changes and more. They’ll also discuss your mood and how it affects your life, and ask questions specifically used to screen for depression.


Mental health conditions like depression and addiction are strongly linked. When a person is struggling with both depression and substance use, it is called a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), nearly 38% of people with a substance use disorder have a diagnosable mental health condition, while more than 18% of adults with mental illness also struggle with substance use. Cases involving depression and bipolar disorder are more common than any others.

If you suffer from a dual diagnosis, you will benefit from substance use and mental health treatment in a program for individuals with co-occurring disorders. By addressing both issues simultaneously, you’ll be better equipped to manage your symptoms. Dual diagnosis treatment also reduces the risk of relapse and helps individuals stay on track in their recovery.


Living with depression can be challenging, but all depressive disorders are treatable. If you’re struggling with a consistently low mood, Emerald Isle Health & Recovery can help you regain control of your life. We treat depression with a combination of medication and evidence-based therapy in a safe, supportive environment, so you can manage your symptoms and start on the path to recovery. Our personalized treatment plans are designed to address the unique needs of each individual, ensuring that you receive the most effective care possible.


Medication can be a crucial component of depression treatment, helping to correct chemical imbalances in the brain that contribute to depressive symptoms. At Emerald Isle Health & Recovery, our psychiatric team works closely with each patient to determine the most appropriate medication regimen. This may include antidepressants, mood stabilizers or other medications, depending on your specific diagnosis and symptoms. We carefully monitor progress and side effects to ensure optimal outcomes, adjusting treatment as necessary to achieve the best possible results.


Therapy is another cornerstone of depression treatment at Emerald Isle. We utilize a variety of evidence-based therapy modalities, including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT helps people identify and challenge negative thinking and behavioral patterns that contribute to depression.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): DBT focuses on teaching coping skills to manage distressing emotions and improve relationships.
  • Interpersonal Therapy (IPT): IPT addresses interpersonal issues that contribute to depression, helping patients improve their communication and relationship skills.
  • Psychodynamic Therapy: This type of therapy explores how unconscious processes and past experiences affect current behavior and emotions.


In addition to medication and therapy, Emerald Isle offers a range of supportive services designed to promote overall well-being and facilitate recovery. These include:

  • Group Therapy: Provides a supportive environment where individuals can share experiences and strategies for coping with depression.
  • Family Therapy: Helps families understand depression and how they can support their loved one’s recovery.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Focuses on improving diet, exercise, sleep and stress management to support your mental health.
  • Holistic Therapies: We use mindfulness, art therapy and other holistic techniques to complement traditional treatments and promote overall well-being.


At Emerald Isle Health & Recovery, we understand that the journey to overcome depression is unique for each individual, necessitating a broad range of care options to meet diverse needs. Our comprehensive continuum of care ensures that from the most acute phases of depression to long-term management, every patient has access to the appropriate level of support and treatment. Our continuum of care includes inpatient mental health treatment, outpatient treatment, partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) and long-term care options.


Have questions about depression or other related conditions? Call the experts at Emerald Isle today. Our team of experienced mental health professionals can answer any questions you may have about these types of illnesses. Emerald Isle is also a premier provider of depression treatment in Arizona. For more information on our many services, get in touch by calling us today at 855-613-0620 or completing our online contact form.