Types of Depression
There are many types of depression. Depression can strike as early as college but can also first appear at any time in our lives. Depression can be caused by stressors, illness, hormonal changes such as pregnancy, menopause, testosterone changes, or genetics. There are many types of depression which is why so many Americans can be afflicted with some sort of depression over their lifetime.
- Major Depression/Major Depressive Disorder: 7% of American adults have this debilitating mental health condition at any given time, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). If symptoms such as extreme sadness, hopelessness, lack of energy, irritability, trouble concentrating, changes in sleep or eating habits, feelings of guilt, physical pain, and thoughts of death or suicide last for more than two weeks your psychiatrist will likely diagnose you with Major Depression. It is unlikely that you will experience this only one time in your life, Major Depressive Disorder is something that is recurring throughout one’s lifetime.
- Persistent Depressive Disorder: (also called dysthymia) a depression lasting at least two years. “Persistent Depressive Disorder” may alternate between periods of major depression along those of less severe symptoms.
- Bipolar Disorder (see Chronically Awesome’s section for Bipolar Disorder)
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): the onset of SAD is the winter months as the sunlight decreases. Typically accompanied by social withdrawal, increased sleep, and weight gain, seasonal affective disorder returns each year.
- Psychotic Depression: major depression along with symptoms such as disturbing false fixed beliefs (delusions) or hearing or seeing upsetting things that others cannot hear or see (hallucinations, delusions, and breaks with reality). Individuals with Psychotic Depression may be unwilling or unable to care for him or herself often being admitted to the hospital.
- Peripartum (Postpartum) Depression: full-blown major depression during pregnancy or after delivery (postpartum depression). The feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that accompany perinatal depression may make it difficult for these new mothers to complete daily care activities for themselves and/or for their babies.
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD): With the same or many similar symptoms of major depression, PMDD is marked by anger and/or agitation. PMDD is a severe extension of premenstrual syndrome that can be incapacitating. Employment, family relationships, as well as other personal relationships, have been reported to be destroyed by the disruptive illness.
- ‘Situational’ Depression: Often referred to as adjustment disorder, situational depression, is a short-term form of depression that follows a traumatic change to your normal life.
Symptoms of Depression
- Changes in sleep. trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or excessive sleeping.
- Loss of energy. People with depression may feel profoundly fatigued and have trouble performing normal daily tasks.
- Lack of interest. People with depression may lose the capacity to experience pleasure. A person may have no desire to eat or have sex.
- Changes in appetite. Depression can lead to serious weight loss or gain using food as a coping mechanism.
- Lack of concentration. Reading, following the plot of a movie or television show, even making major decisions can be difficult.
- Low self-esteem. Dwelling on losses or failures and feelings of excessive guilt and helplessness are common.
- Hopelessness. Depression can make a person feel that nothing good will ever happen. This is where suicidal thoughts come from and should not be ignored.
- Physical Changes People with depression may look physically exhausted or agitated. An inability to get comfortable in one’s own skin or pacing may be observed.
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Return To: The Definition of Depression
Sources: National Institute For Mental Health, NAMI, Mayo Clinic