How The Various Types Of Depression Can Affect You

different types of depression

There are many different types of depression that fall under the “clinical depression” umbrella that millions of people suffer from every day. Clinical depression is more than just a general sense of sadness that most people experience at different times during their lives, but it is an illness that can severely disrupt and affect someone’s everyday life and activities.

Clinical depression involves a combination of depression symptoms that last at least two weeks that disrupt a person’s normal routine or well being, such as not wanting to leave the house, sleeping the day away and total withdrawal or isolation from family and friends to name some examples. General sadness usually subsides after a few days or a couple of weeks but anything longer lasting might be cause for concern and professional help may be advisable.

Some of the different types of depression include major depression, seasonal depression, bipolar disorder, psychotic depression, dysthymia, postpartum depression and atypical depression. Below is a quick rundown of some of these various types of depression.

Major Depression

Major depression refers to a change in a person’s mood that directly disrupts and affects once normal activities such as sleep, working, appetite and eating habits and loss of interest in sex or hobbies. It is usually characterized by irritability and loss of interest. A person suffering a major depression episode loses the ability or is extremely limited in their ability to function normally. Physical symptoms usually manifest themselves and may include insomnia, weight gain or loss, fatigue, agitation and trouble thinking clearly or concentrating.

People may suffer just one major depressive episode in their lives but multiple episodes are not uncommon. According the National Institute for Mental Health, just under 7% of US adults are affected by major depression. Women suffer major depression almost twice as much as men although it can affect anyone from children to the elderly.

Seasonal Depression

This is basically what it sounds like, depression that occurs during certain parts of the year, usually winter when there is less daylight and more hours of darkness. Known as Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) most people just think of it as “winter blues”. Long cold winter nights can cause some people to develop this type of disorder. It can be severe and treatment should be sought if a pattern is noticed.

Bipolar Disorder

Formerly referred to as manic depression, bipolar disorder is characterized by episodes of severe depression that can alternate with episodes of extreme elation or excited happiness known as mania. The depression suffered by those with bipolar disorder is often called “bipolar depression”. The mood changes with bipolar disorder cycle between the extreme highs of mania and the extreme lows of depression. The cycling can be rapid in some cases but most of the time it happens gradually.

Bipolar depression may include any or all of the common signs of depression. Bipolar mania can manifest itself in the form of hyperactivity, fast talking and extreme elation.

Psychotic Depression

A person suffering from psychotic depression shows the usually symptoms of depression, in addition they also may suffer from hallucinations or delusions. They may hear or see things that aren’t actually real or may have irrational fears or thoughts. A significant break from reality may occur. Around 25% of patients admitted to a hospital for depression suffers from psychotic depression. Unlike people who suffer from schizophrenia, a mental illness that also involves a break from reality, those suffering from psychotic depression realize their delusions or hallucinations are not real. This causes a sense of shame and causes them to try and hide their illness which makes a proper diagnosis that much harder.

Dysthymia

This is a less severe type of depression, however it may last for years. People who suffer from dysthymia typically are able to function normally however they may feel unimportant, displeased, sullen or generally disconcerted. This is often referred to as melancholia. Dysthymia sufferers are usually unaware of their condition. General anti-depressants can usually significantly help those with this disorder.

Postpartum Depression

This involves mothers who have an episode of major depression within one month of giving birth. While it is a normal occurrence for new mothers to have what is known as “baby blues” which is less serious, nearly 10% will have a more serious depressive episode and develop postpartum depression. It is often tied to the chemical (hormonal) and psychological adjustments associated with having a baby.

Atypical Depression

This type of depression may be harder to diagnose since a person with atypical depression may experience few of the common symptoms of depression while also having periods of normal mental balance. Someone with atypical depression may return to a normal mental state with the influence of positive outside factors such as personal success. They can be brought out of a depressive state with a job promotion for example whereas this would have no affect on someone suffering from a typical major depressive episode. Some experts believe this form of depression goes underdiagnosed due to this factor.

As you can see, there are quite a few different types of depression each with their own set of criteria, and in some cases, some extra set of symptoms. You should never self-diagnose a mental illness but rather leave it to a trained mental health professional. If you or a loved one are concerned that you may be suffering from some type of depression you are encouraged to seek the help of a mental health care provider in your area. Reaching out for help is often the hardest step to take, but it also the most important step to take

How To Spot The Signs Of PTSD

The development of modern warfare has seen an increase in the effects on individuals after the event. However, despite the common occurrence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in military personnel, PTSD is a serious disorder that can affect anyone of any age dealing with a significant trauma in their life. Most people, at some point in their lives, will experience traumatic events, but only a small percentage of these will become affected by PTSD. The symptoms are similar to how a majority of people react to trauma, but the difference is in duration. Usually symptoms will abate within a few weeks, but it is characterized by the enduring symptoms that last for a month or more. Sometimes the disorder will not start to develop until several months after the trigger event.

What is PTSD?

Understanding post-traumatic stress disorder and how it differs from other conditions is important in helping an individual deal with the disorder. It is classified as a type of anxiety disorder, and those affected will display similar symptoms to those with anxiety and depression.

After a traumatic event, many people experience what is known as an acute stress response. This is a more short-term response and more common, but if symptoms last longer than a month and significantly affect work and home life, it may be PTSD.

Causes of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

As previously mentioned, PTSD is commonly associated with soldiers returning from war, but in reality any number of traumatic events can trigger the development of the disorder. Physical, mental, or sexual abuse, particularly over a long duration, is linked to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder, particularly in children. Accidents, such as car or plane crashes, fires, etc., and terminal illness diagnosis are other significant triggers. Severe natural disasters, including tsunamis, hurricanes, and earthquakes have a major link to PTSD in those affected and also the service workers called to respond to the disaster.

These types of experiences are truly traumatic, but not everyone who experiences events like these will develop PTSD. Other factors, including a neurobiological predisposition and psychological history, can determine the onset and severity of PTSD. While there is still a lot of different speculation on this front, doctors have determined several factors related to hormone levels and genetic conditions that may have an affect.

Symptoms of PTSD

There are two main symptom groups for individuals suffering from PTSD: the physical and the mental/emotional. The physical responses are similar to those of anxiety disorders such as:

– Disrupted sleep or irregular sleep patterns
– Elevated heartbeat
– Nausea
– Sweating
– Tension (including aches and pains)
– Irregular breathing

The emotional responses can be the more disturbing and disruptive of the symptoms associated with PTSD. These can include:

– Vivid flashbacks and nightmares
– Increased anxiety and unease
– Loss of interest in everyday tasks and hobbies
– Difficulty concentrating
– Emotional detachment
– Alcohol and drug abuse

Treatment Options

After a traumatic event occurs, there are several preventative treatments that might inhibit the development of post-traumatic stress disorder. Immediately following an event, psychological debriefing is often used to help the individual understand what happened. This form of treatment is very common in disasters, accidents, and warfare, but the ultimate success is under debate by medical professionals. Low levels of cortisol are linked to the development of PTSD, so a treatment of cortisol may be effective.

Once post-traumatic stress disorder has been diagnosed, a number of treatment options exist to help the individual affected. Medications are commonly prescribed to help ameliorate the physical symptoms, though these seem to be most effective when used with other forms of treatment. Individual counseling helps to deal with thoughts pertaining to the trauma and coping with how suffering from PTSD has affected daily life. Many professionals also recommend family therapy and support groups to emphasize the individuals are not alone and help better the stresses placed on families dealing with a member with PTSD.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a very serious condition, but with proper care and treatment, individuals can hope to return eventually to a normal pattern of life. While this is often associated with soldiers coming back from combat, anyone who has gone through a traumatic, extremely stressful event may suffer from its effects. The development of PTSD is a result of a number of factors and does not result from a lack of bravery or an inability to cope.