Depression, also known as major depressive disorder or clinical depression, is a type of mood disorder that negatively affects how you think, behave, and feel. Untreated depression can lead to a range of emotional and physical issues.
According to Psychiatry.org, depression affects nearly one in fifteen adults, with one in six people experiencing depression at least once in their lifetime.
Depressive disorders will cause different symptoms in different people. These thoughts and sensations will vary from person to person.
Common symptoms of depression include:
- Feelings of sadness
- Loss of interest in or pleasure in most normal activities
- Outbursts of anger or frustration
- Troubles with sleep such as sleeping too much or insomnia
- Fatigue or lack of energy
- Anxiety or agitation
- Loss of appetite or increased craving for food
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Suicidal thoughts
If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, talk to a doctor or mental health care provider right away.
If you think you might hurt yourself or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call your doctor or a suicide hotline to speak to a mental health professional. In the U.S., the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or text 741741.
Types of Depression
Depression can make it difficult to carry out day-to-day tasks and affect personal relationships.
There are many types of depression caused by a variety of triggers, sometimes chemical and sometimes the result of traumatic life events. These include:
Major depression: People with major depression have depressed moods most of the day for most days of the week.
Persistent Depressive Disorder: If a person has depression for 2 or more years, this is known as persistent depressive disorder. This type of depression has two subgroups called chronic major depression and dysthymia, or low-grade persistent depression.
Bipolar Disorder: Also known as manic depression, a person with bipolar disorder has extremes, ranging from states of low energy and/or mood to periods of high energy and/or mood. Also known as manic depression, bipolar disorder can be treated with mood stabilizer medication, such as Latuda, Seroquel, and Olanzapine-fluoxetine combo.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): A person who has seasonal affective disorder will often feel periods of major depression during winter. Because winter days are shorter than the rest of the year, a person receives less and less sunlight which can cause seasonal affective disorder. Antidepressants may be a great option for someone who has SAD.
Psychotic Depression: If a person has paranoia, hallucinations, and/or delusions during periods of major depression, they may be suffering from psychotic depression. This type of depression can be treated with antipsychotic drugs along with antidepressants.
Peripartum (Postpartum) Disorder: Postpartum depression affects new mothers, typically in the weeks and months post-childbirth.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD): This type of depression affects people at the onset of their monthly period. Along with depression, you may feel tired, irritable, unfocused, anxious, overwhelmed, or have changes in your sleep patterns. PMDD can be treated with some birth controls and antidepressants.
‘Situational’ Depression (Stress response syndrome): This is caused by a traumatic or stressful event like moving, divorce, losing your job, or a death in the family, and can likely be treated with psychotherapy.
Atypical Depression: Unlike typical depression, this depression follows more unusual patterns such as feeling overly sensitive to critique, finding you have increased your appetite, sleeping more than usual, or your arms and/or legs feeling heavy.
Complications of Depression
Depression is more than just feeling sad. These feelings are persistent and require treatment. If left untreated, depression can lead to complications such as:
- Social isolation
- Anxiety disorders
- Weight gain/ weight loss
- Eating disorders (like anorexia or bulimia)
- Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
- Alcohol or drug abuse
If you or someone you know is dealing with symptoms of a depressive disorder, seek help from a licensed mental health care provider right away.