Have you been experiencing negative feelings like misery, unhappiness or sadness lately? Do you feel as if the whole world is turning against you? Are you feeling unloved or do you feel despondent for no apparent reason? If so, you may be suffering from depression.
What is Depression?
Depression in layman’s terms can be defined as the opposite of happiness or euphoria. In some people, depression can last for a very short period of time, while others battle with depressive feeling for years and sometimes even decades. Depression can affect a person’s thoughts, moods and even their physical well being. People who suffer from depression have difficulty in concentrating on any given task, cannot make decisions and are unable to retain information.
When Do People Suffer from Depression?
People often wonder as to what factor or factors trigger off episodes of depression in them. Depression can be caused by either a single life changing event or it could even be the result of a combination of factors. Sometimes something as simple as insomnia, or the inability to get sleep properly, can leave you feeling sad and frustrated. Others suffer from depression when they lose a close family member. Divorce, illness, social isolation, and some unpleasant childhood event, like sexual abuse, can lead to depression.
Losing a job, excessive stress, divorce, losing a child can all trigger bouts of depression. While some people are able to overcome their depressive feelings, others end up in a depressive morass from which they are unable to escape.
Who is At Risk?
No one section or group of people is spared from the negative feelings associated with depression. Irrespective of age, gender, race, or even economic status depression can affect anyone and everyone. Almost everyone goes through depressive spells at some point or the other in their lives.
Types of Depression
When we talk of depression we use the word in an expansive and all encompassing manner. Although depression refers to a state of mind, it has to be understood that there are many different types of depression. It is very important to understand what type of depression an individual is suffering from in order to treat it effectively.
Major depression goes by many different names. Major depression is also called major depressive disorder, uni-polar depression or clinical depression. Most people suffer from major or clinical depression at some of the other point of their lives. Some of the classic symptoms exhibited by individuals suffering from this particular type of depression include loss of interest, feeling extremely depressed or sad, difficulty in falling asleep, significant weight gain or loss, extreme fatigue, feeling of guilt and harboring negative thoughts like suicide.
Atypical means veering from the normal or something that is unusual. In the same way people with atypical depression exhibit symptoms which are generally different from what is generally associated with depression. People with this type of depression feel elated one moment and they may feel as if they are down in the dumps the very next moment.
In individuals with this kind of depression, outside events or factors can control their mood. For example if some one praises them they feel elated or happy and extremely depressed when they are criticized. People with atypical depression also exhibit symptoms like over eating and over sleeping.
This is a serious yet rare form of depression wherein the person may suffer from delusions and hallucinations. The delusions and hallucinations which are common to this type of depression are of a very ‘negative’ nature. These individuals harbor beliefs which are utterly and completely untrue. Those who suffer from psychotic depression are not able to remove themselves from their depressive state without some major medical intervention.
Manic Depression which has recently been termed bipolar depression is a mood disorder where a person’s emotions literally swing between extreme feelings. The individual suffers from mood shifts between mania and depression. Symptoms which are generally associated with this kind of depression include being extremely talkative, having an inflated ego, the need to sleep for fewer hours, getting distracted easily and getting involved in risky ventures.
Cyclothymic Depressive Disorder
When an individual experiences mild episodes of elation followed by depression over an extended period of time, then that person is said to be suffering from cyclothymic depressive disorder. Most people with this kind of depressive disorder do not seek medical help as the mood swings are not violent like other types of depression.
Derived from a Greek word, dysthymia refers to ‘ill humor’ or ‘a bad state of mind’. People with this disorder exhibit fewer symptoms as compared to major depression but can be trapped in a depressive state for a longer period of time, sometimes exceeding two years. This depressive disorder shares many symptoms with major depression.
Some women complain of feeling blue after giving birth. While giving birth is normally associated with joy a small percentage of women experience negative feelings like sadness, depression and loss of joy. These negative or depressive feelings can be due to hormonal changes, extreme tiredness or reduced sleep. Women normally get out of this depressive state after they bond with their infant and fall into a routine.
When an individual feels depressed for no particular reason then that person is said to be suffering from endogenous depression. Endogenous depression is not triggered by outside factors but it is the result of simply feeling low for no special rhyme or reason.
The symptoms that are associated with this type of depression are generally different from symptoms related to depressive disorder. This kind of depression is characterized by a state of emotional and physical restlessness. Instead of having low energy levels and feeling physically drained, people with agitated depression are in a hyper active state. People who suffer from this depression tend to get irritated faster as well.
Single Episode Depression
When a person suffers from a single or one episode of depression then he or she is said to have suffered a single episode depression. Unlike other recurrent types of depression people single episode depression only have one or single depressive incident.