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Different Types of Depression

Depression is a common mental disorder, with over 264 million people affected worldwide. Depression isn't just being sad and having mood swings every once in a while, it is a serious health condition. According to the World Health Organization, depression is the second leading cause of death in people between the ages of 15 and 29.

There are many different types of depression. Some common symptoms of depression are sleep changes, appetite changes, deep and consistent feelings of sadness, lack of interest in what you would normally enjoy, and withdrawing from loved ones. The different types of depression may share some common symptoms, but there are also some major differences.

Seasonal Depression:

Seasonal depression (seasonal affective disorder) is a major depressive disorder with a seasonal pattern. This type of depression starts during a certain season and may progressively get worse. Once the season is over, the symptoms will tend to improve. This is most likely related to changes in your bodily rhythms in response to the change in environment. Symptoms include:

  • social withdrawal

  • weight gain

  • increased need for sleep

  • feeling sadness, hopelessness, or unworthiness on a daily basis

Major Depression:

People with major depression (major depressive disorder/ classic depression/ unipolar depression) experience symptoms on a daily basis. The environment around you has little affect over this type of depression. Symptoms include:

  • grief

  • difficulty sleeping/ lack of sleep

  • fatigue

  • loss of appetite/ overeating

  • aches

  • lack of concentration

  • loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities

Persistent Depression:

Persistent depression (persistent depressive disorder/ dysthymia/ chronic depression) lasts for two years or more. The symptoms can slow down before they worsen, and since it lasts for years at a time, people who are affected may start to feel like its just part of their normal life. Symptoms include:

  • deep sadness or hopelessness

  • low self esteem

  • change in appetite

  • change in sleep pattern

  • lack of concentration

  • lack of joy

  • withdrawal from loved ones

  • difficulty doing daily functions

  • loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities

Bipolar Disorder:

People affected by bipolar disorder (manic depression) have manic episodes, where they alternate with feeling very happy and having depressive episodes. To be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you will have to experience a manic episode that lasts for seven days- or less if you are hospitalized. The depressive episodes have the same symptoms as major depression. Symptoms of manic phases include:

  • high energy

  • lack of sleep

  • irritability

  • racing thoughts and speech

  • increased confidence

  • feeling euphoric

Situational Depression:

Situational depression (adjustment disorder) is caused by specific situations, like the death of a loved one, a serious illness, abusive relationships, and financial difficulties. While it is normal to feel distressed during stressful situations like these, symptoms of situational depression have negative effects in your daily life. Symptoms include:

  • frequent crying

  • anxiety

  • change in appetite

  • difficulty sleeping

  • frequent aches

  • social withdrawal

  • lack of concentration

Depression is a very serious and dangerous illness which can, at its worst, result in suicide. If you or a loved one is experiencing these symptoms, it is important to talk to a doctor about it in order to get the correct diagnosis, and to receive the appropriate treatment.





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