Depression is a mood disorder that consumes the entire body and mind. Depression is subjective and each person has a unique experience, yet there are commonly shared symptoms marked with a sense of being weighted down mentally, physically, socially, and spiritually.
There are a wide range of characteristics in a depressed state. This includes affective symptoms, cognitive symptoms, and behavioral/physical symptoms. The symptoms include but are not limited to:
Major Depressive Disorder (Unipolar Depressed Mood)
When people talk about clinical depression or major depression, they are talking about an advanced state called, Major Depressive Disorder. This kind of depression totally consumes a person with sadness and melancholia, and other symptoms (listed above) that have become disruptive to daily functioning. The episodes have occurred for at least 2 weeks.
Depression is sometimes categorized into two divisions: endogenous depression and exogenous depression. Exogenous Depression (also known as situational or reactive depression) is attributed to an external event, such as a loss of a loved one, job loss, divorce, or trauma. Endogenous Depression is attributed to an internal issue, having no apparent association to an external event. Of course, an external event must still be processed through our thoughts, beliefs, and ideas about the world. Thus, exogenous depression is still making use of internal processes. Endogenous depression is mostly used to describe a biochemical type of depression that does not respond well to medication.
Dysthymic Disorder (Dysthymia)
Formerly referred to as neurotic depression, Dysthymic Disorder is a mild or moderate form of depression that is chronic and long lasting. This low-grade type of depression is fairly common, but in order for it to fall under the category of Dysthymia, it must have persisted for at least 2 years. Children with this form of depression may not seem depressed, yet appear moody and irritable, or have poor social interactions.
If both major depression symptoms and dysthymic symptoms are present, this is referred to as "double depression."
The term “double depression” refers a major depressive episode that has developed after living with dysthymia. Typically, people with double depression return to Dysthymia after recovering from Major Depression.
Depressive Personality Disorder
When depressed mood has integrated into the personality, the term Depressive Personality Disorder is used. It's difficult to differentiate between Dysthymia and Depressive Personality because they both involve a low-grade depression, though Depressive Personality is less serious. Symptoms may include: self-criticism, low self-esteem, chronic feelings of worthlessness or shame, a pessimistic and negative attitude, and brooding.
Depression is subjective and each person has a unique experience, yet there are commonly shared symptoms marked by a sense of being weighted down mentally, physically, socially, and spiritually.
Depression has a wide range of characteristics. This includes affective symptoms, cognitive symptoms, and behavioral/physical symptoms. The symptoms include but are not limited to:
Bipolar Disorder is a condition marked by extreme highs and lows. The person alternates between periods of extreme depression and periods of extreme elevated mood. These are called manic episodes. Mania is the polar opposite of depression, hence the name of the disorder. Bipolar depression is less common than major depression. It can be hard to identify bipolar depression because the first mark of this type of depression is generally major depressive disorder.
What is a manic episode?
During a manic episode, a person may experience a variety of symptoms.
There are different affective symptoms, cognitive symptoms, and behavioral symptoms. Let’s take a closer look:
Euphoria/elevated mood, heightened energy, and increased self-confidence
Other type of mania: increased agitation / irritable mood, wound up in a state of extreme anger, irritated, etc.
In many cases, manic episodes are mild (hypo-mania).
Hypo-manic episodes are similar to manic episodes, but they are less intense & do not cause impairment or require hospitalization
Racing thoughts, high load of ideas, increased goal-directed activity, grandiosity, distractibility, extreme confusion,
Behavioral / Physical Symptoms
Impulsiveness or risk-taking extremes, decreased need for sleep, acting irrationally, extremely talkative (pressured speech), psychomotor agitation (restlessness or muscular activity associated with mental tension)., engaging in unusual activities, engaged in indiscriminate sexual acts, spending enormous amounts of money, acting irrationally.
Forms of Bipolar Disorder:
Bipolar I disorder
Bipolar I Disorder is characterized by one or more episodes of mania as well as episodes of major depression. The person alternates between feeling depressed and feeling “manic.”
Bipolar II disorder
Bipolar II has similar characteristics to Bipolar I, but the manic episodes are milder and so are referred to as hypo-manic episodes (hypo-mania). The person with Bipolar II alternates between feeing depressed and hypo-manic episodes.
Cyclothymic disorder is a more chronic and less severe form of Bipolar Disorder. There are many episodes of low and high mood, but are much less intense. Unlike Bipolar II, the depression is moderate. A person has had the symptoms for at least 2 yr (1 year for children and adolescents
Despite being named, ‘atypical,’ this form of depression is quite common. It generally follows an unwelcoming experience such as a break-up or loss of job. Atypical depression does not follow “typical” characteristics of depression, thus the name. Although, it’s not as severe as major depression, it can interfere with daily functioning and lead to major depression if not dealt with.
Symptoms may include: Overeating, oversleeping, panic attack episodes, binging,
Atypical depression will sometimes manifest in Bipolar or Major Depression.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a condition in which a person experiences mood changes during the fall and winter months. When spring returns, the condition comes to an end. A person with SAD will typically have normal mood throughout most of the year.
Symptoms may include: depressed mood, crying spells, weight gain, excessive sleepiness, carbohydrate cravings, changes in appetite, daytime fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and decreased activity.
Postpartum Depression ("Baby Blues")
Changes in mood may occur during hormonal shifts. Pregnancy can affect the mood due to these shifts. This is called Postpartum Depression. The symptoms can be mild, moderate, or severe. Postpartum Depression should not be taken lightly.
Symptoms may include: depressed and sad feelings, intense moodiness, loneliness, feelings of worthlessness and shame, changes in appetite, lack of motivation, sleep changes, aches and pains without physical reason, inappropriate risk-taking behavior, or thoughts of suicide.
New findings reveal that men can also get the baby blues.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Among the most common symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) are irritability, fatigue, anxiety, moodiness, bloating, increased appetite, food cravings, aches, and breast tenderness. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) produces similar symptoms to premenstrual syndrome (PMS), but the symptoms are e more pronounced.
It is important to distinguish between various subtypes of depression and bereavement. Bereavement is a a natural response to the shocking experience of losing someone important. It shares similar features to major depression.
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