What Is a Depressive Episode?

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A depressive episode is a heightened state of depression. This can occur for any level of depression, from moderate to severe. The triggers for depressive episodes vary from person to person, as do their timeframes. In this guide, we will take a closer look at what a depressive episode is and how you can get through this experience.

Depressive Episode vs. Depression

Each person experiences different levels of depression. Some have an ongoing feeling of depression, while others only feel depressed during certain times of the year. During a depressive episode, a person’s depression symptoms become worse. They may feel the need to become socially withdrawn, or they may feel more fatigued than normal.

To put it into perspective, imagine that there is a dimmer switch for your life. During a depressive episode, it may feel like the dimmer is being turned down. You still have the same experience, but life feels a little duller. Once you get out of the depressive episode, that light will start to return.

Bipolar Disorder Depressive Episodes

The term “depressive episode” may also be used to describe periods of depression with bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder consists of mania and depression, which may also be called manic episodes and depressive episodes. In this case, depressive episodes may be characterized by extreme fatigue, weight gain or loss of appetite, difficulty concentrating, slow movements, and other symptoms. If you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder or would like a psychological evaluation, contact Urban Balance to learn about bipolar disorder treatment.

How Long Does a Depressive Episode Last?

Some depressive episodes last for a few weeks, while others may last for a few months. For instance, if you lost a loved one, you may experience a depressive episode the week before and after that person’s birthday. You may also experience a longer episode during the holidays because that person is not around. There are several factors that influence how long a depressive episodes last, and they may change over time.

Depressive Episodes during the Winter

Many Americans go through Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This most often occurs in the fall and winter months, but some people also experience SAD in the spring and summer. The symptoms associated with SAD get more intense with the changing of the seasons. SAD depressive episodes may last throughout the winter, but they dissipate when the weather starts to change again.

How to Overcome a Depressive Episode

The best way to overcome a depressive episode is through counseling. Your therapist can help you identify what triggers your depressive episodes and how you can respond to those triggers. Therapy also gives you a chance to tackle the underlying causes that fuel your depressive episodes, which could prevent them in the future. This is a personalized solution to relieve depression in all areas of your life.

Urban Balance offers depression counseling, anxiety counseling, couples counseling, and other therapy programs. We have multiple therapist offices to assist you, and we work with many insurance programs. Contact us at (888) 726-7170 to learn more about depression treatment or to schedule an appointment with a therapist near you.