Depression is a common and serious medical illness that affects how you feel, think and act. It causes feelings of sadness and loss of interest in daily activities. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and decreases productivity. Prachika Chopra, a mental health expert and career counsellor
discusses the signs and types of depression.
A person may be suffering from major depression, if depressed most of the time for most days of the week. The other symptoms are loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities, weight loss or gain, trouble getting to sleep or feeling sleepy during the day, feeling restless and agitated, feeling sluggish and slowed down physically or mentally, feeling worthless or guilty, having trouble concentrating on work, difficulty in making decisions and recurring suicidal thoughts.
Clinical depression is a persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest in daily activities. The signs are changes in sleep patterns, appetite, energy level, concentration and behavioural disturbances. Clinical depression is also associated with thoughts of hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness and suicidal thoughts.
Persistent Depressive Disorders is a chronic illness with symptoms occurring on most days for atleast two years. The symptoms include persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness, fatigue, low self-esteem and poor concentration.
Seasonal effective disorder is a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health, throughout most of the year, exhibit depressive symptoms, most commonly in winters. It may include sleeping too much, loss of energy and over eating. The condition may persist in summers and the person may suffer from heightened anxiety.
Bipolar disorder also known as manic depression is marked by periods of depression and periods of elevated mood for not less then a week. A person suffering from bipolar disorder is energetic and happy at times and at times irritable and may thrive on less sleep. During periods of depression, an individual may experience crying and extreme negativity.
People with psychotic depression have the symptoms of major depression along with “psychotic” symptoms, such as hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that don’t exist), delusions (false beliefs) and paranoia (wrongly believing that others are trying to harm you). A combination of antidepressants and anti-psychotic drugs can treat psychotic depression. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may also be an option.
Women who have major depression in the weeks and months after childbirth may have peripartum depression. Antidepressant drugs help in treating Peripartum depression.
Women with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder have depression and other symptoms at the start of their period. Besides feeling depressed, the person has mood swings, irritability, anxiety, trouble in focussing on the tasks at hand, fatigue, change in appetite or sleep habits and feeling overwhelmed. Antidepressants help in treating this disorder.
Situational Depression is a technical term in psychiatry. But a person can have a depressed mood when having trouble managing a stressful event in life, such as a death in the family, a divorce, or losing a job. It is also known as stress response syndrome. Psychotherapy can often help you get through a period of depression that’s related to a stressful situation.
Atypical depression is different than the persistent sadness of typical depression. If a person has atypical depression, a positive event can temporarily improve mood. The other symptoms of atypical depression include increase in appetite, sleeping more than usual, feeling heaviness on the arms and legs and being oversensitive to criticism.
Postnatal depression is a type of depression that women or men and women (parents) experience after having a baby. It is important to seek help as soon as possible, if you think you might be depressed, as the symptoms could last for months together or get worse and have a significant impact on you, your baby and your family. With the right support, which can include self-help strategies and therapy, most women make a full recovery. Many women feel a bit down, tearful or anxious in the first week after giving birth which is known as baby blues. It does not last for more than 2 weeks after giving birth. If the symptoms last longer, a person may be having postnatal depression. The signs are persistent feeling of sadness and irritable mood, lack of enjoyment and loss of interest in daily activities, feeling tired all the time, having trouble sleeping at night and feeling sleepy during the day, difficulty in bonding with your baby, withdrawing contact with other people, problems in concentrating on work and making decisions, having frightening thoughts. Many women do not realise they have postnatal depression, because it can develop gradually.