Depression is a serious mental health condition that can have a significant impact on a person's life. It can range from mild to severe, and there are several different types of depression. Clinical depression, bipolar depression, dysthymia, seasonal affective disorder, peripartum depression, and psychotic depression are all types of depression that can affect people in different ways. Treatment options for depression vary depending on the type and severity of the condition.
When it comes to clinical depression, also known as major depressive disorder (MDD), it is characterized by five or more symptoms that last for two weeks or more. These symptoms include a depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, changes in appetite or weight, difficulty sleeping, loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, difficulty concentrating, and thoughts of death or suicide. Traditional antidepressants are not always recommended as first-line treatments for MDD because there is no evidence that these drugs are more useful than a placebo for treating depression. Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is characterized by mood episodes that range from high-energy extremes with a high mood to low depressive periods.
During the low phase, people with bipolar disorder experience symptoms of major depression. Traditional antidepressants may increase the risk of causing a high phase of the disease or speed up the frequency of having more episodes over time. Therefore, treatment for bipolar disorder usually involves a combination of antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs and/or electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of major depression that occurs most often during the winter months when days get shorter and you get less sunlight.
It usually disappears in spring and summer. Treatment for SAD typically involves light therapy and/or antidepressant medications. Peripartum depression is a type of major depression that affects some mothers after childbirth. It is more serious than sadness and can last for weeks or even months.
Treatment typically involves antidepressant medications and psychotherapy. Dysthymia (persistent depressive disorder) is a type of mild and long-lasting depression. People suffering from dysthymia experience symptoms that are less severe than those experienced by patients with MDD. Since the symptoms may not have a major impact on your life, you may not even realize you have the condition. Treatment typically involves psychotherapy and/or antidepressant medications. Psychotic depression is a type of major depression that includes periods of psychosis such as hallucinations and delusions.
Treatment typically involves a combination of antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs and/or transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is another type of depression that affects some women before their period starts. Symptoms often start right after ovulation and begin to subside once you have your period. Treatment typically involves lifestyle changes such as exercise and dietary changes as well as antidepressant medications. Situational depression, also known as adjustment disorder with depressed mood, resembles major depression in many ways but is usually triggered by an event such as the death of a loved one or job loss. Treatment typically involves psychotherapy and/or antidepressant medications. Depression can be difficult to endure and it is also a risk factor for heart disease and dementia.
If you experience cognitive or mood changes that last more than a few weeks, it's important to contact your doctor or see a mental health specialist to help determine possible causes.