Everyone feels grief from time to time. As humans, sadness is an unavoidable emotion. But sometimes, those periods of unhappiness can last for weeks and lead to other problems. When this happens, it’s no longer just considered sadness. Instead, it is depression.
Depression sounds scary, and truthfully, it can be. It’s a dark monster that can cause some people to feel empty and hopeless. In others, this condition can lead to anxiety, lack of energy, and excessive sleepiness.
There are many different types of depression too. Overall, most types share some common symptoms. But, there are also some prime differences. Continue reading to learn more.
What Is Depression?
Before taking a look at the different types, take some time to learn what “depression” even is.
In simple terms, depression describes a group of mental conditions related to the highs and lows of an individual’s mood. With depression, there can be long periods of sadness that come and go.
Besides the fact that it lasts longer, depression also interrupts day-to-day life. Victims of depression may feel uninterested in usual hobbies or socializing. They may isolate themselves completely.
If you’re worried that you may be depressed, know that you are not alone. At least 7% of American adults have experienced a depressive episode. Depression is even one of the most common mental disorders.
So, what causes depression? Well, that is a little tough to answer. No one knows for sure, but there are many factors from which it can stem.
Some typical causes can include:
- Substance abuse
- Major life events, like divorce or job loss
- Loss of a loved one
Depression can also be rooted in a chemical imbalance in the brain or genetics.
How Many Types Of Depression Are There?
A lot of classic symptoms, like extreme grief, are associated with clinical depression. But what if it isn’t ordinary sadness or clinical depression?
Well, it is still possible that it is a different type of depression. There are a handful of known types. Some only affect certain groups, like postpartum depression. Others can cause manic behavior, like bipolar depression.
In this article, we’ll discuss six types of depression. Afterward, read on to learn how to find help if you believe you or a loved one struggle with one of these conditions.
As you have read, clinical depression is where the classic depressive symptoms stem. Also known as major depression, this is what most think of when discussing depression.
Common symptoms are a loss of appetite, lack of concentration, and suicidal thoughts. Some people can also experience overeating and thoughts of guilt. (If you or a loved one are having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline right away.)
For a diagnosis, these symptoms should be lasting a minimum of two weeks. The long-lasting effects differentiate it from average sadness.
The key symptom in bipolar depression is periods of mania. These manic phases can be so intense that one’s sense of reality becomes distorted.
In addition to mania, there are some other symptoms associated with bipolar depression. Irritability, disorganization, and fatigue are common. Insomnia and unexplained aches can occur too.
There are also symptoms associated with manic phases. Rapid thoughts, risky behavior, and feelings of euphoria often mean one is coming on.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) affects women the week before their period. You may have heard of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It brings mood swings, irritability, and grief during that time of the month. PMDD is a more intense and severe version.
PMDD can bring symptoms of breast tenderness, food cravings, and extreme fatigue. Some women also experience feelings of despair and intense stress levels.
Hormones likely influence PMDD. The symptoms are at their worst right before a woman’s period. Then, after the period ends, symptoms ease up.
As the name suggests, the seasons of the year impact seasonal depression. This form of depression is most common during the winter months. After all, the extended periods of darkness affect some people.
Also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), it can worsen as the season progresses. Common symptoms are loss of energy, oversleeping, and withdrawal from social activities.
It’s believed that SAD gets triggered by a disruption in the body’s natural circadian rhythm. The reduced amount of light entering the eyes could interrupt the rhythm. The interruption is what leads to depression.
Though less common, SAD can also occur during the spring and summer months. In this case, the disruption begins as the amount of light entering the eyes increases.
Persistent depression gets its name from the fact that it lasts for two years or more. More days are spent depressed than not. Also known as dysthymia, this condition can be mild or severe.
Even with a mild case of this depression, daily life can be interrupted. Common symptoms are hopelessness, low self-esteem, and difficulty concentrating. Some people experience difficulty functioning at work or school.
The symptoms of this condition can vary in intensity over time. At times, the symptoms may feel intense. Then, feelings of relief may arise before the depression comes back and the cycle repeats. Sometimes, people with persistent depression can also experience major depressive episodes.
Postpartum depression is a type that affects mothers and mothers-to-be. While it usually occurs after pregnancy, it can also happen during it. This condition can affect a woman as she adjusts to life with a new baby.
Many mothers experiencing postpartum depression face anxiety. Difficulty bonding with and extreme worry about the baby are also typical symptoms. In dire cases, mothers may have thoughts of self-harm or harming the baby.
The symptoms associated with this condition are often severe and long-lasting. If it is left untreated, it can last up to a year.
Get The Help You Need
You may have found that you resonate with one of these types of depression. Or, you may still be wondering, “Which type of depression do I have?”
No matter your situation, you deserve happiness. At the Mental Health Center of San Diego, you can find the resources and aid that you may need. If you’re ready to take the first step towards getting help, then contact us today.