Although depression is often used as an umbrella term for various conditions, it is essential to understand the different types to receive a correct diagnosis and the best treatment possible.
Most people will often feel sadness over a specific circumstance. Anything from grief, relationship problems to stress from a job or school can cause someone to feel sad. Depression is a mental health condition that goes beyond periods of sadness. Someone suffering from depression will feel severe feelings of hopelessness or despair, often for no precise reason. Many disorders can also affect a person’s physical well-being.
While depression is commonly discussed as an umbrella term, there are many different types of disorders. Other types of disorders can be caused by various factors, affect people differently, and require unique treatments.
Major depressive disorder, also referred to as clinical depression, is a chronic mental health disorder that causes a person to feel symptoms of depression almost every day for an extended period. Clinical depression is usually a disorder that can increase and decrease throughout a person’s life.
Clinical depression is a common condition, with over 16 million adults in the United States claiming to have experienced clinical depression at least once in their lives (1).
Major depressive disorder causes a person to feel intense feelings of sadness or worthlessness for no reason. It can also lead to a loss of energy, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, loss of interest in activities, and difficulty concentrating. In severe cases, a person with clinical depression may begin to experience thoughts about death or suicide.
Although bipolar disorder is not necessarily a type of depression, it can cause depression. Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition and mood disorder that causes swings between high-energy and low-energy episodes. The high-energy episodes are referred to as manic or hypomanic episodes. A manic episode is defined by a burst of energy, high self-esteem, and reckless behavior.
The low-energy episodes caused by bipolar disorder are referred to as depressive episodes. A depressive episode causes all the same symptoms seen in clinical depression and usually lasts a few weeks.
Postpartum depression is a type of depression that occurs either in the late stages of a woman’s pregnancy or soon after the baby is born. Postpartum depression is caused by drastic hormonal shifts that occur during a pregnancy. Although mood swings are common during all pregnancies, postpartum depression can be long-lasting and usually requires treatment.
Postpartum depression can cause irritability, sadness, feelings of inadequacy, and trouble bonding with the newborn child.
Seasonal affective disorder also referred to as SAD, is a mental health condition that relates symptoms of depression to weather or seasons of the year. For most people, winter and cold weather can cause symptoms closely associated with major depressive disorder.
Symptoms may often start gradually and worsen as the season progresses or the weather gets colder. Even though symptoms tend to improve as the weather gets warmer, a person should still seek treatment for any symptoms associated with major depression.
Psychotic depression may also be referred to as major depressive disorder with psychotic features. This term refers to when someone experiences the symptoms of major depressive disorder alongside symptoms of psychosis. These conditions could be co-occurring disorders or related directly to one another.
Psychosis is a mental health condition that causes someone to lose touch with the reality around them. This may take the form of perception issues, such as visual or auditory hallucinations or delusions of beliefs that are not true.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD, is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, that may occur during a woman’s menstruation cycle. Although PMS can cause mood swings or irritability, PMDD can cause significantly worse symptoms.
PMDD often makes it difficult for some women to complete daily activities due to their symptoms. During PMDD, women may experience the full slate of symptoms of a major depressive episode, as well as feelings of anger, anxiety, and volatile moods. While PMS usually causes both physical and mental symptoms, PMDD generally only causes a worsening of psychological symptoms.
Atypical depression is a form of depression that can be lessened by positive or happy events in a person’s life. While major depressive disorder and persistent depressive disorder cause a feeling of hopelessness or despair regardless of what is happening in someone’s life, symptoms of atypical depression may be made better or worse by life events.
Someone suffering from atypical depression often feels symptoms associated with clinical depression. Positive life events, such as marriage, job promotion, or other happy occurrences, can reduce these symptoms or even make them disappear potentially. However, the symptoms of depression will always return.
Depending on the type of depression, treatment usually consists of a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Depression does not have a cure and may often be a life-long battle. However, with proper treatment, the symptoms associated with depression can be managed to the point that it stops interfering with daily life.
While antidepressants can be a helpful cure, they should not be viewed as a solution to depression. Medication is best thought of as one aspect of a more comprehensive treatment plan that includes psychotherapy approaches.
At AM Health Care, we are to help you deal with your mental health in any way possible. We believe in designing a treatment plan that precisely suits your condition and your needs. Mental health disorders can be disruptive and potentially dangerous when left untreated, so there is no reason to wait any longer. Please call us today at 818-383-1297 to learn more about how we can help you and potential treatment options.