Depression is a serious mood disorder that affects about 16 million Americans every year. It can be mild or severe, but there are effective treatments. If you or someone you know is feeling depressed, you should talk to a doctor or therapist. There are also support groups and mobile health apps that can help you learn about depression and other mental health concerns.
Different types of depression share common symptoms, but they differ in causes and treatment. The National Alliance on Mental Illness offers education, counseling, and support to people with depression and other mental health disorders.
Resources: Red Hill Recovery
Mood disorders can be caused by a number of factors, including chemical changes in the brain, life events, and medical conditions. A person who experiences depression may feel irritated or agitated most of the time, or they may lose interest in their normal daily activities. People who have depression also may have trouble concentrating, and they may have thoughts of suicide.
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
is one of the most common forms of depression. This type of depression is defined by a feeling of extreme sadness that lasts for two weeks or more. Although it can occur in adults of any age, women are more likely to suffer from it. Symptoms include feelings of guilt, hopelessness, and loss of pleasure in everything. Some adults may have difficulty with normal daily activities and they may also experience weight loss.
Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)
is a less severe form of depression. Usually, it doesn’t reach the same level of intensity as major depression, but it can prevent you from functioning as well as you can. You may have problems sleeping, eating, and concentrating. Other symptoms include low self-esteem, low energy, and appetite changes.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
is a type of depression that usually occurs in the winter and spring. Symptoms of SAD are believed to be caused by a disturbance in the body’s natural circadian rhythm. They typically begin in late fall or early winter and then dissipate in the spring. During the spring, you may have more energy and a desire to eat carbohydrates.
Atypical depression is a type of depression that is often treated with light therapy. When you have this type of depression, you may have heaviness in your arms and legs and you may feel very sluggish. In addition to light therapy, you may also need to take medication or participate in psychotherapy.
Perinatal depression occurs when a pregnant woman has intense and prolonged feelings of sadness. Up to 16 percent of new moms have depression. However, most of these symptoms go away within a few days.
Many people develop depression during childhood, but it is becoming more commonly diagnosed in adults. Studies show that genetics, alcohol use, and other health issues increase the risk of depression. Getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and participating in regular self-care activities can help prevent depression.
There are a variety of types of depression, each with its own symptoms. Everyone has times when they are sad. But if you are experiencing long-term depression, you should seek treatment as soon as possible.