Invisible illnesses, depressive disorders drain the color out of life making it appear lackluster.
Depression is more than just feeling sad. It is normal within the spectrum of emotions to feel, low, upset, or unmotivated from time to time, but depression is more than an emotion. A depressive disorder or depression is a mood disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. Signs and symptoms can range from hopelessness and fatigue to a loss of interest in life, physical pain, and even suicidal thoughts.
There are many different types of depression, some of which are caused by events in life, and others by chemical changes in the brain. Gaining a deeper understanding of the different types of depression can help to begin the journey to diagnosis and recovery.
Major Depression (Clinical Depression)
Major depressive disorder, also known as unipolar or clinical depression, is characterized by a persistent feeling of sadness or a lack of interest in outside stimuli. Someone with this type of depression may have five or more of the following symptoms on most days for 2 weeks or longer. At least one of the symptoms must be a depressed mood or loss of interest in activities.
- Loss of interest or pleasure in your activities
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Negative thinking with an inability to see positive solutions
- Feeling restless or agitated
- Inability to focus
- Lashing out at loved ones
- Withdrawing from loved ones
- Increase in sleeping
- Exhaustion and lethargy
- Morbid, suicidal thoughts
- Weight loss or gain
Dysthymia (Persistent Depressive Disorder)
Dysthymia, also known as persistent depressive disorder, is a long-term form of depression that lasts for years and can interfere with daily life, work, and relationships. People with dysthymia often find it difficult to be happy even on typically joyous occasions. They may be perceived as gloomy, pessimistic, or a complainer when in reality they are dealing with a chronic mental illness. Symptoms of dysthymia can come and go over time, and the intensity of the symptoms can change, but symptoms generally don’t disappear for more than two months at a time.
Manic Depression (Bipolar Disorder)
Bipolar disorder sometimes referred to as manic depression, is a mental health condition that causes extreme fluctuations in mood and changes in energy, thinking, behavior, and sleep. With manic depression, a depressive state may lead to suicidal thoughts that change over to feelings of euphoria and endless energy. These extreme mood swings can occur more frequently–such as every week–or show up sporadically–maybe just twice a year.
Postpartum Depression (Peripartum Depression)
Sad feelings and crying bouts that follow childbirth are known as the “baby blues.” The baby blues are common and tend to decrease within a week or two. This type of sadness is often attributed to the dramatic hormonal changes that follow childbirth. Around one in seven women will experience something more extreme than the typical baby blues. However, women that give birth and struggle with sadness, anxiety, or worry for several weeks or more may have postpartum depression (PPD). Signs and symptoms of PPD include:
- Feeling down or depressed for most of the day for several weeks or more
- Feeling distant and withdrawn from family and friends
- A loss of interest in activities (including sex)
- Changes in eating and sleeping habits
- Feeling tired most of the day
- Feeling angry or irritable
- Having feelings of anxiety, worry, panic attacks or racing thoughts
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression related to the change of season. People who suffer from SAD notice symptoms beginning and ending at about the same time each year. For many, symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, though it is possible for SAD to occur in the spring or summer. In either case, symptoms of depression, such as hopelessness, fatigue, and loss of interest or pleasure in activities, start out mild and progress to be more severe as the weeks go on. Those who experience SAD in the winter have also noted the following unique symptoms:
- Heaviness in arms and legs
- Frequent oversleeping
- Cravings for carbohydrates/weight gain
- Relationship problems
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, around 20 percent of people with depression have episodes so severe that they develop psychotic symptoms. A diagnosis of major depressive disorder with psychotic features may be given to individuals suffering from a combination of the symptoms of depression and psychosis: a mental state characterized by disorganized thinking or behavior; false beliefs, known as delusions, or false sights or sounds, known as hallucinations.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD, is a cyclic, hormone-based mood disorder, commonly considered a severe and disabling form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). While up to 85% of women experience PMS, only around 5% of women are diagnosed with PMDD, according to a study in the American Journal of Psychiatry. While the core symptoms of PMDD relate to depressed mood and anxiety, behavioral and physical symptoms also occur. To receive a diagnosis of PMDD, a woman must have experienced symptoms during most of the menstrual cycles of the past year and these symptoms must have had an adverse effect on work or social functioning.
Despite its name, atypical depression may, in fact, be one of the most prominent types of depression. Atypical depression is different from the persistent sadness or hopelessness that characterizes major depression. It is considered to be a “specifier” or subtype of major depression that describes a pattern of depression symptoms, including oversleeping, overeating, irritability, heaviness in the arms and legs, sensitivity to rejection, and relationship problems. One of the main hallmarks of atypical depression is in the ability of the mood of the depressed individual to improve following a positive event.
Situational Depression (Reactive Depression/Adjustment Disorder)
Situational depression, otherwise known as reactive depression or adjustment disorder, is a short-term, stress-related type of depression. It can develop after a person experiences a traumatic event or a series of changes to their everyday life. Examples of events or changes that may trigger situational depression include but are not limited to: divorce, retirement, loss of a friend, illness, and relationship problems. Situational depression is, therefore, a type of adjustment disorder, as it stems from a person’s struggle to come to terms with the changes that have occurred. Most people who experience situational depression begin to have symptoms within about 90 days following the triggering event.
Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)
DMDD is a fairly recent diagnosis, appearing for the first time in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) in 2013. The DSM-5 classifies DMDD as a type of depressive disorder, as children diagnosed with DMDD struggle to regulate their moods and emotions in an age-appropriate way. As a result, children with DMDD exhibit frequent temper outbursts in response to frustration, either verbally or behaviorally. In between outbursts, they experience chronic, persistent irritability.
Living with depression can feel like an uphill battle, but it isn’t something you have to face alone. RECO Intensive offers an all-inclusive program that addresses not only substance misuse, but also the underlying issues associated with it such as depressive disorders.