What is depression?

What is Depression - Sign

What is depression?

When it comes to a person’s overall mental health, it’s important to know exactly what is depression, and how it differs from the average person’s day-to-day or other periodic mood swings. After all, no one is up all the time, and everyone gets “blue” from time to time; that is perfectly normal. There are several different types of depression as well as many different causes. The more you know about depression and the more you know about those around you, like your friends and loved ones the easier it will be for you to tell if someone close to you is experiencing depression. 

The Different Types of Depression 

There are a number of types of depression as there are its causes. Here are some types and causes of depression:

  • Major Depressive Disorder: 
    • This type of depression is signified by a combination of symptoms that seriously affect a person’s ability to work, eat, sleep, study, or take enjoyment from once enjoyed activities, like hobbies for example. While it’s normal to feel down for a few days or so but major depression, or clinical depression can last for prolonged periods of time and is disabling. It can prevent a person from functioning normally.
      Clinical depression may happen only once, or it can be recurring throughout a person’s life. To be major depression, one of the symptoms has to be loss of interest or depressed mood. Symptoms must last for at least two weeks and be present all day long to be classed as major or clinical depression. Symptoms of major depression cannot be those caused by medication, drug abuse, or a medical condition like hypothyroidism, or occur with the loss of a loved one. 
  • Chronic Depression (Dysthymia): 
    • This is characterized by long-term depression lasting two years or more. Symptoms will be like that of major depression but not severe enough to warrant the diagnosis of major depression. A person with chronic depression is typically not disabled by the condition. This can happen once or even off and on over a person’s lifetime. 
  • Atypical Depression: 
    • The key symptoms of atypical depression include overeating, oversleeping, fatigue, moods that worsen or improve in direct response to events, and extreme sensitivity to rejection. A person with atypical depression may have one or all the symptoms; it just depends on the person. A person with typical/regular depression, on the other hand, will have pervasive sadness and difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Their appetite may also be affected. 
  • Bipolar or Manic Depression: 
    • Bipolar disorder is sometimes called manic depression and is a complex mood disorder that can alternate between extreme depression and periods of unbelievable elation. Patients with bipolar I, have a history of at least one manic episode with or without a major depressive episode. Those with bipolar II, have a history of at least one major depressive episode and at least one mildly elated episode. 
  • Seasonal Depression (SAD): 
    • Also called, seasonal affective disorder, this form of depression is linked to the seasons and usually begins in the fall or winter and ends in early spring. There is also summer depression and begins in late spring and ends in the fall, but that is rare.  
  • Psychotic Depression: 
    • With psychotic depression, a person often has delusional thoughts or other symptoms of psychosis along with the usual symptoms of depression. With psychotic depression, there has been a break from reality. Many patients experience hallucinations and delusions. 
  • Post – Partum Depression: 
    • As many as 75% of new moms get the “baby blues” and about 10% of these develop into a serious condition known as postpartum depression. This is a major form of depression that usually develops within one month of delivery and those with major depression symptoms should seek immediate medical help. 
What is Depression

What is depression? A Common Condition 

It is important to know that depression is quite common; more so than you may think. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1 in 10 Americans struggle or have struggled with depression at some point in their lives. Depression often affects the outcome of treatments for many diseases like asthma, diabetes, and cancer. It is important to get treatment early to minimize the impact it can have on your life.