We all sometimes feel sad inside and withdrawn from our surroundings without any reason. But then we grow out of it too and become normal. Then there are times some sad happenings of life get us into a withdrawn phase and we feel bad for our misgivings. Most of the time, we grow out of this phase too.
But when one is not able to let go of that feeling of sadness and nothingness OR if that feeling keeps recurring without any relatable reason we could call it clinical depression.
Depression can be described as a feeling of loneliness, melancholy, and loss of interest in matters of daily life which comes to stay with us for a longer period of time. If one is not coming out of this feeling for months, then it’s time to seek professional help. Depression is curable with medication and clinical therapies under a psychiatric/neurological expert’s care. The sooner one identifies it and checks in with a doctor, the better are the chances of managing it and getting back into normal life.
Depression can be of different types depending upon the circumstances, chemical imbalances and general health of an individual. The different types of depression and their symptoms are discussed below.
MDD; Major Depressive Disorder (Clinical depression)
MDD is a mood disorder that is also referred to as clinical depression which puts a person in a low mood for weeks and keeps him away from active participation in matters of routine life.
- Loss of interest in everything and a low self-esteem.
- Loss of energy and fatigue
- Lack of concentration
- Drastic weight loss or gain associated with an eating disorder. May eat very little or too much.
- Sleep disorders such as Insomnia or excessive sleeping.
- Mood variations. Getting restless and hyper or slowing down
- Feeling suicidal
Causes: certain factors are responsible for triggering this type of depression, though no major reason can be pinpointed as a cause. A person’s genes and level of stress he can take along with the chemical composition of hormones in the brain are responsible for MDD. This type of depression can also be triggered due to use of alcohol/drug use or certain types of medications based on steroids.
Psychotic Depression: (Severe MDD or Depressive Psychosis)
This is a severe type of MDD and is also known as Depressive Psychosis. DP will need immediate treatment once it’s diagnosed or identified. A person suffering from DP can experience MDD symptoms to a much greater extreme along with a feeling of melancholy, guilt, and hopelessness. They will be hearing, seeing and smelling things that actually didn’t exist. This is a very dangerous form of depression because the make-believe hallucinations can cause people to become suicidal.The person suffering from DP may be experiencing one or all of the following conditions:
- Hallucinations: the person hears voices in the head and breaks away from reality.
- Delusions: feel worthless, a failure and unpardonable person.
- Paranoid: imagine things away from reality and believe in them. They will feel people look at them and follow them. They will feel ashamed of what goes on in their mind and might turn suicidal.
Treatment: It is better to check into a Psychiatric health facility for treatment if diagnosed with DP. They may give a combination of second generation antidepressants and antipsychotic medications, which are very effective in easing the symptoms. After usually a year’s treatment people are able to recover from this form of depression and spend their lives normally. Follow-up visits later on with their doctor at proper intervals are necessary to ensure continuous and good mental health for them.
This form of depression can strike a pregnant woman usually due to changing hormonal balance triggered by the pregnancy. A woman will experience extreme mood swings and might feel unhappy about her pregnancy, which in turn can send her into a phase of guilt and withdrawal.
- Usually occurs in women with a history of previous depression (but can strike others too)
- Worries about major changes in life and physique due to pregnancy
- Worries about the restrictions one may later have because of motherhood
- Fears related to previous troublesome pregnancy/pregnancies
If a woman feels she has prenatal depression she should talk about it to her spouse and go for a treatment. This is important because if it remains untreated there are chances that it might turn into a postpartum depression once the baby is delivered.
A medic will determine upon examination if the patient requires treatment through medication or therapies or a combination of both.
Bipolar depression has symptoms similar to clinical depression, only that they are much on the severe side. If not recognized and treated in its initial stages, it becomes worse and difficult to treat. Bipolar Depression usually surfaces during the teenage years, but can also happen in any other phase of life.
- Severe shifts in moods resulting in matched energy and behavior.
- Moods are always on extreme. If one is in a low mood it will continue for weeks and days.
- Make impulsive decisions. For example, buying unwanted expensive things or suddenly quitting a job.
Causes: a hormonal/chemical imbalance in the body is one of the reasons which is usually hereditary.
Treatment: Timely therapies and medication can help control this from of depression and people with bipolar disorder can lead successful careers and spend happy satisfying lives.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder is much similar to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) but is a bitmore severe. It can cause extreme irritability and anxiety in the week or two before the start of the periods. The anxiety usually decreases after a couple of days of having the periods. PMDD usually effects 5% of the women who are less than 35 years of age.
- Showing anger and irritability to people
- Extreme fatigue
- Headaches, cramps, muscular & joints pain and bloating/water retention
- Negative feelings of sadness and nothingness.
- Eating disorder
- Sleeping disorder
- Anxiety and hypertension including panic attacks
- Mood swings such as crying or thinking of suicide
- Lack of interest in life and relationships
Treatment: if one finds these symptoms they must consult a doctor for treatment. Treatment will include a combination or individual use of medicines such as anti-depressants and antianxiety pills, birth control pills and pain killers as well as stress management therapies.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
As the name suggests this type of depression happens when people leading normal lives start feeling withdrawn or anxious with an onset of a season every year. For some, it starts in early spring and ends in summers and for others, it begins in autumn and fades in the winters.
- Loss of interest in life with the start of a season
- Loss off focus
- Sleep disorders
- Hunger and weight disorder
- Feel worthless and guilty
- Suicidal thoughts
- More common in women than in men
- Chemical imbalance in the brain.
- Could be genetic too. People who suffer from this type may also have MDD or Bipolar disorder.
- Daylight affects: People living in regions away from the equator and close to North or South Poles may suffer from this syndrome due to longer periods of light or darkness exposures.
Treatment: like the MDD timely treatment and therapy will help an individual to get back to normal, healthy life.
Treatment for all kinds of depressions revolves around serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are the most common type of antidepressants. A doctor after examining the patient and having done the lab tests will determine the potency and dosage of the medicine. The doctor can also suggest psychotherapies or alternate therapies to help a patient release the stress. All depressions are curable if properly monitored and treated on time and the person will return to live their life normally.