Depression is a disorder that causes prolonged deep sadness, anxiousness or hopelessness in its victims. Although depression symptoms can be easily confused with normal sad feelings associated with disappointing or traumatic events, clinical depression is an ongoing condition. Different types of depression keep sufferers from functioning normally and usually won’t go away without treatment.
Fortunately, sufferers may find relief from several treatment options, including therapy and medication for depression.
Types of Depression
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), there are several types of depression, including:
- Chronic depression: A major depressive condition that consistently lasts for at least two years.
- Dysthymic disorder: A recurring depressed condition that lasts for at least two years. Unlike other types of depression, symptoms usually last less than two months, then clear up.
- Major depressive disorder: Characterized by a depressed mood or a severe decrease of interest in activities. These depression symptoms last most of the day for at least two weeks.
- Manic depression or bipolar disorder: A condition characterized by cycling between manic periods â€” extremely elevated or irritable moods â€” and depressive periods.
- Postpartum depression: A major depressive disorder condition that prompts depression symptoms and occurs after giving birth.
- Seasonal affective disorder: Characterized by major depression that occurs during specific times of the year (for example, during the fall and winter).
Depression manifests itself in a variety of ways. What is depression, exactly? According to the DSM-IV, a person experiencing at least five of the following depression symptoms at the same time is suffering from the condition:
- Depressed feelings that last most of the day and are especially strong in the morning
- Feeling restless or slow
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Lack of interest in normally pleasurable activities
- Sleeping problems, either sleeping too much or too little
- Thoughts of suicide or death
- Trouble concentrating and making decisions
- Weight loss or gain (more than 5 percent of total body weight over the course of a month).
If you are experiencing at least five of these symptoms almost every day for at least two weeks, you may be suffering from depression. Talk to a friend or family member and seek help from a doctor or therapist to resolve these depression symptoms.
Causes of Depression
A number of factors can lead to depression. Following are some common causes of depression:
- Death of a loved one or other personal loss
- Major events, such as a new job, a move, or a marriage or divorce
- Medications, particularly ones that contain beta blockers or reserpine
- Personal conflicts
- Serious illness
- Substance abuse.
Many scientists now believe that biology plays a role in many types of depression. For example, many people with depression have fewer receptors for serotonin, a chemical involved with mood, in their brains.
However, depression is a complex disorder: In some cases, there may not be any clear causes of depression.
Treatment of Depression
Most types of depression can be treated through a combination of several methods, including therapy, lifestyle changes and medication for depression. It’s important to not rely on depression medication alone: You’ll want to identify the causes of depression that you’re experiencing. Reaching out for support and making changes to your daily lifestyle will help you to beat many types of depression.
Depression Help Resource Staff. (n.d.). Types of depression. Retrieved April 5, 2010, from the Depression Help Resource Web site: http://www.depression-help-resource.com/types-of-depression.htm
Dryden-Edwards, R., Lee, D. (2001). Depression. Retrieved April 5, 2010, from the Medicine Net Web site: http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=2947
Help Guide Staff. (n.d.). Depression treatment. Retrieved April 5, 2010, from the Help Guide Web site: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/treatment_strategies_depression.htm