Characteristics of Various Types of Depression
What is Depression?
Depression is a mental disorder characterized by a profound feeling of sadness, and loss of interest in activities that were once considered pleasurable. Depression may interfere with everyday life activities and may cause pain. Depression is most common in the mid 20´s; however, depression may affect children, as well as adults and the elderly. There are various types of clinical depression and the onset of the disorder may progress over time periods of weeks, months or even years.
Major depression also known as clinical depression and chronic depression (dysthymia) are the most common types of depression; however, there exist other types of depression, each with characteristic symptoms. Most people experience feelings of sadness or unhappiness throughout their lives; however, by the time these feelings become part of an individual´s everyday life, they become to what is known as depression.
Feelings of Loneliness
Major Depressive Disorder
Major depression or major depressive disorder, which is one of the most common types of depression, is characterized by mood changes. It involves lack of sleep, loss on interest in activities which once were pleasant. Individuals suffering from this type of depression may experience feelings of sadness and loneliness, difficulty at concentrating, hopelessness, and have suicidal thoughts. The symptoms, which are intense, may last from a few weeks to even months. Major depression can make other health problems even worse.
Increased stress at home or work may boost the risk of major depression in women, as well as caring for and aging parent or raising a child alone. the risks of major depression in men include the consumption of alcohol and drugs. men who suffer from clinical depression are less likely to talk about their depression or seek medical help.
Gradual onset of symptoms
Chronic depression (dysthymia) is a long-term disorder whose symptoms may be present for a longer period of time, including two or more years. Chronic depression is less severe than major depression; however, the condition may prevent normal functioning. Individuals suffering from dysthymic disorder may experience a change in eating and sleeping patterns, fatigue, trouble concentrating, low self-esteem and feelings of despair.
The onset of dysthymia is gradual, and an individual may experience periods of normality with episodes of low mood. It is believed that brain chemicals may be involved in the development of dysthymia. Chronic illnesses, life stressors, medications and family relationships, as well as work problems may increase the chances of dysthymia.
Bipolar disorder is an affective mental condition which causes mood swings and emotional changes ranging from alternating episodes of manic highs to depressive lows. Manic episodes may cause insomnia, sometimes for days along with psychosis, hallucinations, delusions and paranoid rage. The symptoms of both depression and mania often occur simultaneously (mixed state).
The rapidly changing mood swings from manic highs to depressive lows do not follow an exact pattern. Mood swings can occur wihtin periods of weeks, months and even years. The symptoms of mania include excessive happiness and excitement, restlessness, increased energy, high sex drive, drug and alcool abuse. during depressive low episodes a person may experience loss of energy, loss of pleasure in once enjoyable activities.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) occurs only during certain periods of the year, most typically during fall or winter and may end in spring or summer seasons. It is usually known as the winter depression. SAD is predictable and it can become extremely severe. It is believed that a reduced production of serotonin in the brain may trigger mood changes. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter with a calming effect. Low levels of serotonin may cause symptoms of fatigue, depression, weight gain and carbohydrate craving. SAD is more common in females than males
Loss of Reality
Psychotic depression occurs when depression and delusions or hallucinations take place at the same time, resulting in severe depression. In this type of depression, an individual may lose touch with reality, for instance schizophrenia. Sufferers of psychotic disorder are sometimes not aware of reality and are unale to cope the ordinary demands of life.
Shared psychotic disorder is a rare condition in which a healthy person shares the dellusions of a person suffering from psychotic disorder. One example of shared psychotic disorder is when a sufferer with psychotic disorder believes someone wants to hurt him/her, and the person with shared psychotic disorder is induced to believe the same thing. The dellusions tend to disappear in the induced person as soon as the two people are separated.
Anxiety, Tearfulness and Sadnes
Postpartum depression occurs just after delivery. postpartum depression appears in two forms: early onset, also known as the baby blues, and late onset. The early onset is mild and can affect 80% of women. It may start just after child birth and may resolve within a few weeks. Late onset is more severe, and is usually recognized after several weeks of delivery. It is believed to affect anywhere between 10-16% of women.
The symptoms of the baby blues include anxiety, tearfulness, sadness, and difficulty trying to fall asleep. The symptoms may usually disappear within 10 to 12 days after delivery. Postpartum depression is usually treated with antidepressants. Some help with household chores and taking care of the baby might be needed. appproximately 20% of women might develop long term postpartum depression and will need to consult their health care practitioner for appropriate treatment.
People who have risk factors of depression should be screened regularly by their health care provider. If identified early, people suffering from depression can be treated. Contact the nearest organization or support group if you need assistance on how to identify the type of depression you suffer from.