If you’re feeling down, have low moods, or experience changes in weight, eating or sleeping habits for an extended period of time, then you may be suffering from one or more kinds of depression. A mood disorder like depression is common, but what kind specifically are you likely experiencing?
What Is Depression?
Depression is different for everyone, and though it normally begins in adulthood, more and more teenagers and children are being affected by it. “Depression is a constant feeling of sadness and loss of interest, which stops you from doing your normal activities. Different types of depression exist, with symptoms ranging from relatively minor to severe. Generally, depression does not result from a single event, but from a mix of events and factors.” Fortunately, treatment is available.
Know The Cause
There’s more than one cause of depression, just like other mental and physical ailments. The condition results from social, psychological, and biological factors. Adverse life events (unemployment, bereavement, or psychological trauma) are other triggers. The condition may lead to more stress and dysfunction, worsening your life and the depression itself.
Types Of Depression
The four most common types of depression are bipolar disorder, major depression, dysthymia, and seasonal affective disorder.
- “Major depression. The classic depression type, major depression is a state where a dark mood is all-consuming and one loses interest in activities, even ones that are usually pleasurable. Symptoms of this type of depression include trouble sleeping, changes in appetite or weight, loss of energy, and feeling worthless. Thoughts of death or suicide may occur. It is usually treated with psychotherapy and medication.”
- Persistent depressive disorder. Also called “dysthymia,” this kind of depression means low mood which has persisted for at least two years but probably won’t achieve the strength of major depression. Many people suffering from this depression type can function daily, but feel joyless or low most of the time. Other symptoms can include sleep and appetite changes, low energy, poor self-esteem, or hopelessness.
- “Bipolar disorder. People with bipolar disorder—once known as manic-depressive disease—have episodes of depression. But they also go through periods of unusually high energy or activity. Manic symptoms look like the opposite of depression symptoms: grandiose ideas, unrealistically high self-esteem, decreased need for sleep, thoughts and activity at higher speed, and ramped-up pursuit of pleasure including […]overspending, and risk-taking. Being manic can feel great, but it doesn’t last long, can lead to self-destructive behavior, and is usually followed by a period of depression. Medications for bipolar disorder are different from those given for other depression types, but can be very effective at stabilizing a person’s mood.”
- Seasonal affective disorder surfaces as days get shorter in the colder months. Your mood change may be driven by changes in your body’s normal daily rhythms, in your eyes’ sensitivity to light, even in how chemical couriers like serotonin and melatonin work. Popular treatments may include light therapy involving daily sessions sitting close to an intense light source, psychotherapy and treatments like ketamine.
Female-specific depression types:
- “Perinatal depression. This type of depression includes major and minor depressive episodes that occur during pregnancy or in the first 12 months after delivery (also known as postpartum depression). Perinatal depression affects up to one in seven women who give birth and can have devastating effects on the women, their infants, and their families. Treatment includes counseling and medication.”
- PMDD or premenstrual dysphoric disorder. This kind of depression is a serious form of premenstrual syndrome, or PMS. Symptoms of PMDD begin shortly following ovulation and as menstruation starts. Your doctor may recommend selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors but be sure to ask about other options in order to make the right decision.
Diagnosis And Treatment
The first step in treating symptoms of depression are recognizing them, followed by a visit to a doctor or clinician specializing in mental health conditions. For diagnosis, you’ll have to undergo a physical evaluation and possibly lab tests to confirm underlying causes. Next up, a psychological evaluation where you’ll discuss thoughts, feeling, behavior, and personal and family history of mental illness. Once you’ve been diagnosed, your doctor can discuss treatment options, including treatments like ketamine.
Depression isn’t like a scraped knee or sunburn, it is not easily curable. But once you recognize the symptoms, work through the causative stressors in your life and commit to treatment as prescribed, you’ve achieved an important milestone – you’re on your way to managing the condition and living a productive life again.