The spectrum of depressive illness includes specific traits that define the type of depression being experienced. These include:
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
Major Depressive Disorder is the most common type of depression, and is also referred to as clinical depression. MDD falls within the defined FDA guidelines that allow for insurance to cover TMS treatment. MDD is episodic, with each episode lasting at least two weeks, but can last months or years. MDD is frequently co-occurring with anxiety, which TMS therapy can also help to alleviate.
Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)
PDD is also referred to as dysthymia or chronic depression, characterized by a continuous, but usually less severe, form of depression than MDD. Both PDD and MDD share common traits, such as both causing overall low mood and a lack of interest in hobbies and activities once enjoyed. Also, both can cause normal daily activities and tasks to be difficult to perform. Because PDD and MDD can be difficult to distinguish, some who were first diagnosed as PDD may actually satisfy the criteria for MDD, thus for insurance coverage for TMS treatment. Because of this, it is important to pursue a second opinion if necessary in order to determine the best treatment plan.
Postpartum depression affects 10-15% of new mothers in the 12 months following the birth of a child. Symptoms last more than two weeks and include feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and guilt. Those afflicted may feel irritated and angry, have difficulty sleeping or eating, have problems concentrating or staying focused. Sometimes these new mothers feel disconnected, and can’t seem to bond with their baby. Many who suffer from postpartum depression are reluctant to seek help out of fear of having their child taken from them. TMS can help ease or alleviate depression before, during, and after pregnancy, including through the breastfeeding phase, where antidepressants would not be permitted.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
To date, the cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder is unknown. The symptoms of SAD typically begin in the fall and last through the winter months, with the most severe symptoms during the darkest months. SAD is thought to be caused by reduced sunlight, which changes brain chemicals and leads to the depressive symptoms. Factors such as high melatonin levels, low serotonin levels, and low levels of vitamin D are associated with the disorder. Symptoms include fatigue, trouble concentrating, apathy, loss of interest in sex, decreased activity level, overeating, insomnia, anxiety, and crying spells.