Depression is a state of mind that can be caused by a variety of factors, from life events to chemical changes in the brain. It can range from mild to severe, and can manifest in different forms. In this article, we'll explore the three primary types of depression: major depression, persistent depressive disorder, and bipolar disorder. Major depression, also known as clinical depression, is a state in which a dark mood consumes everything and you lose interest in activities that are usually pleasurable.
To be diagnosed with major depression, you must have five or more symptoms most days for two weeks or more. At least one of these symptoms must be a depressed mood or loss of interest in activities. If you have depression that lasts two years or more, it's called persistent depressive disorder. Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is a type of mood disorder characterized by periods of abnormally elevated mood (mania) and depressive episodes.
People with bipolar disorder experience both low (bipolar depression) and high levels (manic episodes). When they experience the lows of bipolar disorder (bipolar depression), their symptoms are very similar to those experienced by people with unipolar depression.
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.
A combination of antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs can treat psychotic depression, while electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) can also be an option. Women who have major depression in the weeks and months after childbirth may have peripartum depression. About one in 10 men also experience depression in the peripartum period. Antidepressant medications may help in a similar way to treating major depression that is not related to childbirth.
Dysthymia, also known as persistent depressive disorder, is a chronic, ongoing state of low-level depression. The depressive state of dysthymia is not as severe as that of major depression, but it can be just as disabling.
Symptoms include feelings of sadness, indifference, exhaustion and anxiety.Cyclothymic disorder is often described as a milder form of bipolar disorder. People with cyclothymic disorder experience chronic fluctuating moods for at least two years, including periods of hypomania (a mild to moderate level of mania) and periods of depressive symptoms. Traditional antidepressants are not always recommended as first-line treatments for bipolar depression because there is no evidence that these drugs are more useful than a placebo for treating depression in people with bipolar disorder. In addition, for a small percentage of people with bipolar disorder, some 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.Talk therapy can help you recognize what triggers mania and depression and help you better manage your symptoms. Medicines may not work for some people with psychotic depression; therefore transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is sometimes recommended.
No matter what type of depression you're dealing with, it's important to seek help from your doctor or mental health professional. With proper treatment and support, you can manage your symptoms and live a full life.