Depression is no longer a strange disease to most people anymore as we have heard of so many deaths and sicknesses that have been as a result of depression. However, what we may not know is that every depressive disorder is not the same.
There are different categories of depression, and it only takes the symptoms as well as the causes to differentiate between the types of depression.
According to a psychiatry instructor at Havard Medical School, Dr. Nancy Donovan, there are so many reasons why the depressive disorder can occur in adults. However, depression generally is the feeling of sadness and being withdrawn from the crowd.
It triggers a feeling of loneliness and as well as disinterest in activities one once enjoyed. Depression has the ability to lead to a series of mental, emotional, and behavioral problems. It also has the capability to decrease one’s ability to fiction properly both at school, office, or at home.
The symptoms of depression range from mild to severe. The general signs one would display when feeling depressed includes;
- Feeling sad and generally depressed
- Loss of interest in activities that were once fun and pleasurable
- Changes in diet ranging from mild to severe. These changes can either lead to weight loss or weight gain.
- Inability to sleep
- Sleeping too much
- Increased tiredness and fatigue
- Increase in constant and rapid purposeless activities such as pacing around the room or floor unnecessarily, hand wringing, shaking of heads, hands, and legs repeatedly, and so on.
- Unintentional Slowed movements and slurred speeches.
- Constant feelings of worthlessness, guilt, and shame
- Inability or difficulty in thinking, focusing, and making coherent decisions
- Constant thoughts of pain, suicide, and ultimately death.
Although these problems can arise from psychological disorders, however, some medical conditions such as thyroid problems, brain tumors, especially those close to the emotional aspect of the brain, as well as vitamin deficiencies have been known to cause depression.
There are seven different types of depression disorders that a patient can be diagnosed with having. The symptoms can range from mild to severe, and treatment varies between each one of them. The types include;
1. Major depressive disorders
Major depressive disorders are also known as Major depression, clinical depression, unipolar depression, or simply depression is one of the major types of depression that is usually seen by psychiatrists.
This kind of depression shows depression to be a disorder that involves the sudden withdrawal from activities that were once pleasurable to the patient. It usually involves total loss of interest in activities that go on around them, feelings of sadness or melancholy, and so on.
The symptoms are usually experienced for days and can span into at least two weeks. The signs of this kind of depression can stop someone’s activities. People dealing with this kind of depression may have thoughts of suicide, and they may even try to kill themselves and end it all.
Depending on the severity of this depression, treatment can follow different patterns. For those who have mild major depressive disorders, they may be treated with psychotherapy as well as with antidepressant medications.
However, for those who have moderate to severe major depressive disorder, psychotherapy may not work for them. Instead, these patients may be made to undergo electroconvulsive therapy, which has been known to be effective in treating depression.
2. Persistent depressive disorder (PDD)
The persistent depressive disorder, which was formerly called dysthymia, occurs when a person has continuously been depressed and has been experiencing low mood for a long while.
This condition may have taken root and lasted for almost 2 years; however, the intensity is not as severe as the major depressive disorder.
Many experience this type of depression, and you may not know. This is because people who experience PDD can go ahead and function every day running their day-to-day activities, but most of the time, they feel low and/or joyless.
Symptoms patients with PDD exhibit include low energy, low self-esteem, lack of appetite, disturbed sleep patterns, and the constant feelings of hopelessness.
Melancholia can be defined as that kind of depression where the patient experiences many the physical symptoms of depression.
This kind is classified as one of the most severe forms, and it is characterized first with the patient moving very slowly and complete or partial loss of interest in everything that surrounds them.
Most of the time, patients who suffer this kind of depression are seen to always walk away from gatherings, always want to be alone, and most of the time, they are experiencing sadness.
4. Bipolar disorder
This kind of depression was formerly known as maniac depression. This is because the person often experiences three different periods in one; periods of depression, periods of healthy mood, and period of mania.
Mania is the exact opposite of depression, and its intensity varies from one person to another. The symptoms can include having great feelings alongside lots of energy, always having thoughts that are racing, and little need to rest and sleep.
Other symptoms include always talking fast, lack or inability to concentrate on a particular set task, as well as the feelings of frustration, and constantly feeling irritable.
For people who experience bipolar disorder, it is not just a one time experience; rather, it is persistent. Sometimes, the person will lose touch with reality and may span into psychosis. The patient will experience mild psychosis at first but later become full-blown psychosis which includes:
- Hallucinations: which is the patient seeing things that are not there or hearing voices that are not present.
- Delusions: Delusions occur when the patient starts to believe he possesses superpowers and can try to do something drastic like jumping off the rooftop and thinking he could fly.
Bipolar disorder is mostly linked to genetics and family history. One of the most common triggers for people with this condition is conflicts and stress.
For people with this form of depression, it is not unusual for them to be misdiagnosed as having only depression, symptoms of drug or alcohol abuse, schizophrenia or sometimes ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
Most times, diagnosis is mostly made when there is when a person has an episode of mania. Once the person hasn’t had a case of mania, it can sometimes be challenging to detect that the patient has bipolar disorder.
Sometimes, a patient can have bipolar disorder for years without it being detected; hence, they end up having a misdiagnosis or no diagnosis. Once you notice that you usually experience high and low moods intermittently, it is time to discuss it with your doctor.
Research has shown that bipolar disorder tends to affect about 2% of the American population.
5. Antenatal and Post Natal depression
Women have been seen to experience an increased rate of depression, especially during or after pregnancy. When they experience depression during pregnancy, it is known as antenatal depression, whereas, when they experience depression in the year following after childbirth, it is known as Postnatal depression.
The causes of depression during these periods can appear to be very complicated, and more often than not, they are a combination of two or more factors. Women have been recorded to experience “baby blues” shortly after childbirth. This condition is mostly caused by hormonal changes, and it has been seen to affect about 80% of women after birth.
Baby blues, as well as the stress of adjusting to the addition of a newborn, are what women mostly experience after pregnancy; however, this is quite different from antenatal or postnatal depression.
The duration for Antenatal and postnatal depression tends to last longer than baby blues, and this affects the relationship between the mother and the baby. Post Natal Depression can cause the mother to have the feeling of helplessness, hatred, and disdain towards her child.
Post Natal Depression can also cause a strained relationship with the mother, her partner, and other members of her family, causing her to withdraw from them. Research has shown that about 10% of women will experience depression during pregnancy, and about 16% of women will experience depression after delivery.
6. Cyclothymic disorder
Cyclothymic disorder is often referred to as a milder form of bipolar disorder. In this situation, the person often experiences fluctuating moods, which has been consistent for about two years.
The patient might also experience what is known as hypomania as well as periods where the patient will experience depressive symptoms with some periods of normality experienced in between.
The time the patient experiences the symptoms is, however, concise and the symptoms may appear irregular and less severe. It may not be easy to detect the patient has a cyclothymic disorder.
7. Dysthymic disorder
Patients who have dysthymic disorder tend to have almost the same symptoms as those who have a major depressive disorder; however, the symptoms are less severe than that of major depression.
Before a patient can be diagnosed with having this disorder, the patient must have exhibited symptoms for two years and above. Triggers might be an environmental factor or a social factor.