It is normal for everyone to feel down once in a while, however, if an individual feels sad most of the time and it affects the quality of their life, they may be experiencing a form of depression. Thankfully, depression can be treated with medication, talking to a therapist, making lifestyle changes, meditation, or a combination of these. There are numerous types of depression with various causes, ranging from stressful life events or chemical imbalances in the brain. Understanding the different types of depression is incredibly helpful for effective treatment.
With this in mind, discover the various types of depression and how they can each be treated now.
Over sixteen million Americans, a majority of them being women, experience major or clinical depression, an incredibly common form of depression. An individual might have major depression if they feel depressed the majority of the time for most days of the week. Symptoms a patient can experience include a loss of interest or pleasure from their activities, weight loss or gain, difficulty sleeping or constantly feeling tired throughout the day, and a lack of energy. Other symptoms include feeling restless and agitated, very sluggish and slowed down mentally or physically, feeling worthless or guilty, difficulty concentrating, and thoughts of suicide.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, a doctor can diagnose an individual with major or clinical depression if they display five or more of these symptoms on most days for two weeks or longer, with one of the symptoms being a depressed mood or loss of interest in activities. Treatment options for patients include talk therapy with a mental health professional, antidepressants, and if therapy and medication do not work, electroconvulsive therapy, or repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation.
Next, learn what persistent depressive disorder is and how it is similar to major depression.
Persistent Depressive Disorder
If a patient displays signs of depression for two years or longer, it is known as persistent depressive disorder. This term describes two conditions on opposite sides of the spectrum previously known as dysthymia, which is low-grade persistent depression, and chronic major depression. The symptoms of persistent depressive disorder include a change in appetite, sleeping too much or too little, fatigue or a lack of energy, low self-esteem, difficulty concentrating and making decisions, and feeling hopeless, similar to the symptoms of major depression. Again, similar to major or clinical depression, a patient can be treated with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two.
Keep reading to find out about manic depression, often known as bipolar disorder, next.
A patient dealing with bipolar disorder will experience mood swings with an extreme range from high energy or an 'up' mood to low 'depressive' episodes. Bipolar disorder is simply a brain disorder that causes unusual mood shifts. When the patient is in a low phase, they often display symptoms of major depression. Medication can help with controlling the frequency and intensity of these episodes, regardless of if the patient is in a high or low period. A doctor may suggest a mood stabilizer, such as lithium, or the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved medications Seroquel, latuda, or olanzapine-fluoxetine to treat a patient when they are in a depressed phase. Doctors may also prescribe an anticonvulsant or atypical antipsychotic medication as well.
Continue reading to reveal what seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is and how it is treated next.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal affective disorder is a type of major depression that often affects an individual during the winter when the days become shorter and they receive less sunlight. This kind of depression affects more than 500,000 patients annually, and its symptoms include fatigue, symptoms of clinical depression, and other psychological signs. This condition generally lessens as the spring and summer begin, and when the patient can receive natural sources of vitamin D. If a patient has seasonal affective disorder, antidepressants, as well as light therapy, where the patient will need to sit in front of a special bright lightbox for an estimated fifteen to thirty minutes a day, can alleviate some symptoms.
Next, reveal what psychotic depression is and how it differs from major depression.
Individuals with psychotic depression typically have the same symptoms of major depression, such as a lack of interest in activities, constant fatigue, difficulty sleeping and concentrating, and feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness. However, patients with this type of depression also display symptoms of psychosis, such as hallucinations or seeing and hearing things that are not present, delusions or false beliefs, and paranoia or wrongly believing others are trying to harm them. Similar to other forms of depression, a combination of antidepressant and antipsychotic medications can be used to treat psychotic depression. Electroconvulsive therapy may also be an option.
Keep reading to learn more about peripartum and premenstrual depression, which only affect women.
Peripartum Depression And Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Women who experience symptoms of major depression in the weeks or months following the birth of their child is peripartum, or postpartum depression. According to research, one out of every seven new moms can experience postpartum depression, and is unique to every new mom as their severity and symptoms may differ. Antidepressants can help as well, similar to those who suffer from major depression.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a form of depression a woman can experience at the beginning of her menstrual cycle that will often leave her feeling depressed. Other symptoms of this kind of depression are mood swings, irritability, anxiety, difficulty concentrating and focusing, fatigue, change in appetite or sleep patterns, and feeling overwhelmed. Again, antidepressants and in some cases, oral contraceptives, can help treat the symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder
Find out what situational and atypical depression is and why both of these types are incredibly common next.
Situational And Atypical Depression
Although it is not a technical term recognized in psychiatry, many individuals at some point in their lifetime have been in a depressed mood when experiencing difficulty in managing a stressful life event, such as a death, a divorce, or loss of a job. Doctors may call this 'stress response syndrome,' where psychotherapy, or talking to a mental health professional, can help an individual get through a traumatic episode in their life that triggers symptoms of depression.
Atypical depression is characterized as different from persistent sadness associated with typical depression, as it is considered to be a 'specifier' that describes a pattern of depressive symptoms. For instance, if an individual has atypical depression, a positive life event can temporarily improve their mood and mindset. Symptoms of atypical depression include increased appetite, sleeping more than usual, a feeling of heaviness in the arms and legs, and oversensitive to criticism. Antidepressants can help, and a doctor may prescribe a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) as the first source of treatment, or an older form of antidepressant, called a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI).
By spreading awareness about the different types of depression, individuals will be better equipped when it comes to helping themselves or a loved one dealing with depression. Become informed and take action when necessary, and know there is hope for those struggling with depression.