The signs of depression range from very mild to severe. Sadness and loss of interest in things you once enjoyed are two common symptoms of clinical depression. There are several different types of depressive disorders that have unique symptoms.
Types of Depression
The four main types of depression are typical, atypical, chronic, and manic depression. Clinical and manic depression are the types most often treated. Manic depression is also known as bipolar disorder, a condition characterized by dramatic mood swings. The symptoms and treatments received vary depending on the type of depression diagnosed.
Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, postpartum depression, also known as PPD, and psychotic depression are also depressive disorders. SAD occurs in the winter and is thought to be caused by reductions in sunlight exposure, while postpartum depression occurs after giving birth to a child. PPD can be very severe. Psychotic depression is recognized by hallucinations and other delusions.
The symptoms for depression include feeling sad, loss of appetite or eating more than usual, and changes in sleeping patterns. In clinical depression and bipolar disorder, these symptoms can be lifelong and may cause disruptions in everyday life. The symptoms must be present for longer than two weeks and must not be related to other factors, such as alcohol abuse, or life events for a formal diagnosis of depression.
Manic depression symptoms are a little different than those described for other depressive disorders. Bipolar disorder is generally distinguished from other disorders because emotions range from elation to extreme sadness very quickly, often within a matter of hours.
Seeking treatment for depression is the first step toward controlling symptoms. Some disorders, including PPD, require only short term treatment. Other disorders may require treatment for a lifetime, such as manic depression. It is important to learn to recognize the signs of depression if you or a family member are experiencing sadness or a loss of interest. The symptoms of depression can be very mild.
Each type of depression can also lead to suicidal thoughts. If you or your loved one think or talk about suicide, seek help immediately. Both mental health specialists and traditional physicians can provide medications for depressive disorders. You may be referred to a mental health professional for an official diagnosis before being given prescription medications. Medications can include anti-anxiety medicines as well as anti-depressants or anti-psychotics. Therapy may be recommended along with medications to treat depression symptoms.