What is Depression? continued..

Different Types of Depression

Everyones experience with depression is different. No one has the same exact symptoms and no one handles it the same way. There are five main types of depression that I would like to talk about. These include:

  1. Persistent Depressive Disorder. This is also called dysthymia. This type of depression is a mood that lasts for at least two years. A person diagnosed with this depressive disorder may have episodes of major depression along with periods of less severe symptoms, but symptoms must last for two years to be considered persistent depressive disorder.
  2. Postpartum Depression. This is much more serious than the “baby blues” that women experience after giving birth. Women with postpartum depression experience full-blown major depression during pregnancy or after delivery. the feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that accompany postpartum depression may make it difficult for these new mothers to complete daily care activities for themselves and/or for their babies.
  3. Psychotic Depression. This occurs when a person has severe depression plus some form of psychosis, such as delusions or hallucinations. The psychotic symptoms typically have a depressive theme, such as delusions of guilt, poverty, or illness.
  4. Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is a type of depression that occurs during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. This depression generally lifts during spring and summer. Winter depression has the symptoms of social withdrawal, increased sleep, and weight gain. It predictably returns every year with the same or similar symptoms.
  5. Bipolar Disorder. This is a different type of depression, but it is included in this list because someone with bipolar disorder experiences episodes of extremely low moods that meet the criteria for major depression, called bipolar depression. A person with bipolar disorder also experiences very high – euphoric or irritable – moods called “mania” or a less severe form called “hypomania.”

How is Someone Diagnosed?

To effectively diagnose and treat depression, the doctor must hear about specific symptoms of depression. A doctor may use a serious of standard questions to screen for depression. By talking to the patient, a doctor can learn about other things that are relevant to making a depression diagnosis. A depression diagnosis is often difficult to make because clinical depression can manifest in so many different way. Some individuals seem to withdraw into a state of apathy, others become irritable or even agitated.

A doctor can rule out other condition that may cause depression with a physical exam, personal interview, and lab tests. A doctor will also discuss family history of depression or other mental illness with you, he/she will evaluate you symptoms and ask questions like when your symptoms began, how long you have had them, and how they were treated. Your doctor will also ask you questions about the way you are feeling, including whether you have any symptoms of depression such as:

  • Sadness or depressed mood most of the day or almost everyday
  • loss of enjoyment in things that were once pleasurable
  • Major change in weight
  • Insomnia or excessive sleep almost daily
  • Physical restlessness or sense of being rundown
  • Fatigue or loss of energy almost daily
  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness or excessive guilt almost daily
  • Problems with concentration or making decisions almost daily
  • Recurring thought of death, suicide, suicide plan, or suicide attempt

To be diagnosed with major depression, you mush have at least five of the symptoms listed above with at leas one of the first two nearly daily for at least two weeks.

If you or someone you know if having trouble dealing with their depression, know that there is help out there for you. It is not something you need to struggle with on your own. It is important to seek help as soon as possible.




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