Depression affects your total being. It involves your body, mood, thoughts, and actions. It can affect the way you eat and sleep, the way you feel about yourself, and the way you think about the world. Depression is not a passing, “blue” mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away. People with a clinical depression cannot merely “pull themselves together” and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Appropriate treatment, however, can help more than 80 percent of those suffering from depression.

Types of Affective Disorders:

Major Clinical Depression is manifested by a combination of the following symptoms:
  • Persistent sadness
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in enjoyable activities, such as hobbies or sex
  • Insomnia or early-morning wakening or over-sleeping
  • Appetite loss, or overeating
  • Decreased energy, with fatigue
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to medical treatment
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts
Bipolar Disorder was formerly known as Manic-Depressive illness. This disorder involves cycles of depression and elation, or mania. Sometimes the mood switches are dramatic and rapid, but most often they are gradual. When in the depressed cycle, you can have any or all of the symptoms of a major clinical depression. When you are in the manic cycle, you may experience any or all of the following symptoms:

  • Increased talking
  • Disconnected and racing thoughts
  • Markedly increased energy
  • Poor judgment
  • Inappropriate social behavior
  • Increased sexual desire
  • Inappropriate irritability
  • Inappropriate elation
  • Severe Insomnia
  • Grandiose thinking

A less severe type of depression is called Dysthymia, which involves recurrent depressive symptoms that keep you from functioning at “full steam” or from feeling good. Some people with Dysthymia experience episodes of major clinical depression.


A variety of anti-depressant medications and psychotherapies can be used to treat affective disorders. Some people do well with only medication, and some do well only with psychotherapy. Some do best with combined treatment. Most people can be successfully treated for depression on an outpatient basis.

“Talk” therapies help clients gain insight into their problems through verbalizing with a therapist. “Behavioral” and “Cognitive-behavioral” therapists help clients learn how to obtain more satisfaction and rewards through their own actions and how to unlearn the thinking and behavior patterns that contribute to their depression.

Manassas Group Members having special expertise in Depression:

For more information about Depression: