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  • Amy Shannon

Types of Depression

Updated: Dec 7, 2020

In this post, as you can probably tell by the title, I will be going through and explaining the different types of depression. A lot of people think depression is just depression but, there are many types.


Clinical Depression

This is the most commonly known type of depression. Everyone has days where they feel down, but this is not depression. Depression is when you have been feeling down for at least 2 weeks or more. It affects about 1 in 10 people, both male and female of all ages, at least once in their lifetime.


Signs and Symptoms

There are 3 different severities of depression. Mild, moderate and severe.

Mild - This severity will have a bit of an effect on your daily life

Moderate - This severity will have a significant effect on your daily life

Severe - This severity will make it almost impossible to continue on with your daily life

These are the Psychological symptoms that can be caused by depression:

- Continuously feeling down and sad

- Losing interest in things you love

- Losing the motivation to get up and do things

- Feeling anxious

- Feeling helpless

- Getting irritable easily

- Finding it hard to make even the simplest of decisions

- Unable to tolerate people for lengthy periods of time

- Suicidal thoughts

- Self-harm

These are the physical symptoms that can be caused by depression:

- Insomnia

- Aches and pains

- Constipation

- Speaking and moving slower than usual

- Decreased libido

- Lethargic

- In women, depression can make menstrual cycles become irregular


Causes

There are many triggers for depression. Triggers for depression include:

- People can be affected by depression when major life events occur, such as the loss of a loved one or the loss of a job.

- Some people develop depression when they find out they have a life-threatening or incurable disease

- Drug and alcohol addiction can be a trigger for depression

- Giving birth can make women especially vulnerable to depression. Also known as post-natal depression

- If either of your parents has had/have depression this could make someone vulnerable to developing depression

- Personality traits such as low self-esteem can make someone more vulnerable to develop depression

- If you do not speak to your friends and family very much this can increase the odds of developing depression


Treatments

Depression can be treated using anti-depressants, talking therapies such as counseling and psychiatry (there are various types of psychiatry and counseling), cognitive behavioural therapy, meditation, exercise, and self-help.


Psychotic Depression

Psychotic depression is depression with the added symptom of having hallucinations or thinking delusionally i.e. psychosis. A person with delusions may think or believe in things that are more than likely untrue. A person who hallucinates may hallucinate visually, through taste, through smell, through hearing or through touch. A person with psychosis may develop something called psychomotor agitation or psychomotor retardation. Psychomotor agitation is when someone will find it hard to sit still and may constantly fidget. Psychomotor retardation is the exact opposite i.e. movements and thoughts may be slow. People with psychotic depression are more likely to experience suicidal thoughts than that of a person with clinical depression.


Causes

Psychotic depression can be caused by exactly the same things as clinical depression.


Treatments

The treatment for psychotic depression is the same as the treatment for clinical depression except, someone may be given antipsychotics as well as the other treatments.


Persistent Depressive Disorder

Persistent Depressive Disorder is when depression lasts over 2 years. It has the same symptoms as it technically is clinical depression and it is treated in the same ways.


Bipolar Disorder (formerly known as Manic Depression)

Bipolar Disorder is a form of depression that comes with signs of mania i.e. extremely high mood and energy and severe depression i.e. extremely low mood and energy.


Symptoms

Symptoms of Bipolar disorder include

- Signs and symptoms of depression and psychosis

- signs and symptoms of mania including excitement, agitation, impulsive behaviour, increased libido, racing thoughts, feeling that you can't be harmed and you may feel like you can do or hear things other people can't.


Causes

Childhood trauma can cause Bipolar Disorder to occur i.e. sexual or physical abuse, neglect, traumatic events or losing someone close to you as this can affect how a child regulates their emotions.


Stressful life events can cause Bipolar Disorder to occur i.e. insufficient financials, experiencing a traumatic loss, going through a traumatic experience and a breakdown in a relationship. Low levels of stress are more likely to cause a depressive or manic episode rather than cause Bipolar Disorder itself.


Brain chemistry can cause Bipolar Disorder to occur i.e. if there is a problem with the functions of the neurotransmitters in your brain although, due to insufficient information about how these transmitters work, it's not definitive as to whether this is a cause of Bipolar Disorder.


Genetics can cause Bipolar Disorder to occur i.e. people with Bipolar Disorder are more likely to have family members that have had it or experienced symptoms of it.


Treatments

Treatments of Bipolar Disorder can include anti-depressants and mood stabilizers and talking therapies such as counseling and psychiatry.


Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

SAD is a type of depression that affects people mostly in the autumn and winter months and usually subsides during spring and summer. This can also be vice versa where you have the symptoms during spring and summer and the symptoms will subside during autumn and winter. This has the same symptoms as depression just with a shorter lifespan.


Causes

Doctors don't know how SAD comes to be but they have some theories. One of which is that due to the longer nights during winter, the brain starts producing less and less serotonin which is the hormone that stabilises your mood.


Treatments

SAD is treated using anti-depressants and light therapy where you sit in front of a special lightbox or go out into the sun, for 15 - 20 mins.


Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

This is when someone has depression from the start of their period and shows all the same symptoms as clinical depression, but only during someone's period, also, this can be treated by both anti-depressants and sometimes oral contraceptives.


Atypical Depression

This type of depression is similar to clinical depression although, something positive may improve your mood temporarily. when a person with atypical depression is in a depressive mood, they will display the same symptoms as someone with clinical depression and it is treated in the same ways.


Just so you know, I'm sure there are many things I've missed during this blog but this is what I have found both through personal experience and through extensive research through the internet. I hope anybody reading this finds it helpful and understands more about each type of depression.


Amy Shannon

Belfast

N.I.

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Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

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