Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder characterized by periods of abnormally elevated mood known as mania. These periods can be mild (hypomania) or they can be so extreme that they cause a marked deterioration in a person's life, require hospitalization, or affect a person's sense of reality. The vast majority of people with bipolar disorder also have episodes of major depression. Currently classified as peripartum onset depression, postpartum depression (PPD) is more than just postpartum melancholy..
There are many different types of depression. Events in your life cause some and chemical changes in your brain cause others. Your doctor may diagnose major depression if you have five or more of these symptoms most days for 2 weeks or more. At least one of the symptoms should be a depressed mood or loss of interest in activities.
If you have depression that lasts 2 years or more, it's called persistent depressive disorder. This term is used to describe two conditions formerly known as dysthymia (persistent low-grade depression) and chronic major depression. A person with bipolar disorder, which is also sometimes called manic depression, has mood episodes that range from high-energy extremes with a high mood to low depressive periods. When you're in the low phase, you'll have symptoms of major depression.
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 (a sugar pill) 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. Seasonal affective disorder is a period of major depression that occurs most often during the winter months, when days get shorter and you get less and less sunlight. It usually disappears in spring and summer.
A combination of antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs can treat psychotic depression. ECT can also be an option. Women who have major depression in the weeks and months after childbirth may have peripartum depression. About 1 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. If these problems persist for more than 2 weeks, a mental health professional will usually diagnose a person with MDD. Major depressive episodes usually last a few months, but they can often recur in people affected. About 3-8% of women who are menstruating will experience symptoms of PMDD.
Symptoms tend to start around the first stage of the menstrual cycle and usually end soon after menstruation begins. However, during this time, PMDD can have serious negative effects on your life. Bipolar disorder used to be known as “manic depression” because the person experiences periods of depression and periods of mania, with periods of normal mood between them. Bipolar disorder seems to be more closely related to family history.
Stress and conflict can trigger episodes in people with this condition, and it's not uncommon for bipolar disorder to be misdiagnosed as depression, alcohol or drug abuse, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or schizophrenia. The diagnosis depends on whether the person has had an episode of mania and, unless observed, may be difficult to detect. It's not uncommon for people to spend years before they get an accurate diagnosis of bipolar disorder. If you're experiencing ups and downs, it's helpful to make it clear to the doctor or healthcare professional who treats you.
Bipolar disorder affects approximately 2 percent of the population. Cyclothymic disorder is often described as a milder form of bipolar disorder. The person experiences chronic fluctuating moods for at least two years, including periods of hypomania (a mild to moderate level of mania) and periods of depressive symptoms, with very short periods (no more than two months) of normal between. The duration of symptoms is shorter, less severe and not as regular and therefore does not fit the criteria for bipolar disorder or major depression.
The symptoms of dysthymia are similar to those of major depression, but are less severe. However, in the case of dysthymia, the symptoms last longer. A person has to have this milder depression for more than two years to be diagnosed with dysthymia. Major depressive disorder and persistent depressive disorder are two of the most common types of depression people experience, however, there are many types of depression.
Most mood disorders have major depressive episodes in common. This is also true for bipolar disorder, another type of mood disorder. People who have major depressive disorder have had at least one major depressive episode (five or more symptoms for at least a two-week period). For some people, this disorder is recurrent, meaning that they may experience episodes once a month, once a year, or several times throughout their lives.
People with recurrent episodes of major depression are sometimes said to have unipolar depression (or what was once called “clinical depression”), because they only experience periods of low or depressed mood. Persistent depressive disorder (formerly dysthymia) is a chronic, ongoing state of low-level depression. The depressive state of persistent depressive disorder is not as severe as that of major depression, but it can be just as disabling. Postpartum depression is characterized by feelings of sadness, indifference, exhaustion and anxiety that a woman may experience after the birth of her baby.
It affects one in 9 women who have had a child and can affect any woman, regardless of age, race or economic status. People diagnosed with bipolar disorder have mood swings that include both low (bipolar depression) and high levels (called mania if severe or hypomania if mild). When people experience the minimums of bipolar disorder (bipolar depression), their symptoms are very similar to what a person with unipolar depression might experience. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) usually begins in late fall and early winter and dissipates during spring and summer.
Summer-related depressive episodes can occur, but are much less common than winter episodes of SAD. Psychotic depression occurs when psychotic characteristics, such as hallucinations and delusions, are accompanied by a major depressive episode, although psychotic symptoms generally have a depressive theme such as guilt, worthlessness, and death. People with major depression experience symptoms most of the day, every day. These symptoms can last for weeks or even months.
Some people may have a single episode of major depression, while others experience it throughout their lives. Regardless of how long symptoms last, major depression can cause problems with your relationships and daily activities. Persistent depressive disorder is depression that lasts 2 years or more. People may also refer to this as dysthymia or chronic depression.
Persistent depression may not feel as intense as major depression, but it can still strain relationships and make daily tasks difficult. Persistent depression lasts for years in a row, so people with this type of depression may begin to feel that their symptoms are only part of their normal view of life. Manic depression involves periods of mania or hypomania, in which you feel very happy. These periods alternate with episodes of depression.
Manic depression is an outdated name for bipolar disorder. Hypomania is a less serious form of mania. Some people with major depression may experience periods of psychosis. This may involve hallucinations and delusions.
Medical professionals refer to this as major depressive disorder with psychotic characteristics. However, some providers still refer to this phenomenon as depressive psychosis or psychotic depression. Similar to perinatal depression, PMDD may be related to hormonal changes. Your symptoms often start right after ovulation and begin to subside once you have your period.
Situational depression, or adjustment disorder with depressed mood, resembles major depression in many ways. Clinical depression means that a doctor has given you a diagnosis of depression. If you have had at least 2 depressive episodes, your doctor may say you have a recurrent depressive disorder. They may say that their current “episode” is “mild”, “moderate” or “severe”.
You may be diagnosed with cyclothymia if you have persistent and unstable moods. You may have periods of depression and euphoria, but these periods may not be severe or long enough to be diagnosed as bipolar disorder. Manic depression is the name doctors use for bipolar disorder. It's not the same disease as depression, but people with bipolar disorder experience periods of depression and periods of extreme euphoria.
Unlike other forms of depression, people with atypical depression may respond better to a type of antidepressant known as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI). Dysthymia, also known as persistent depressive disorder, is a long-term form of depression that lasts for years and can interfere with daily life, work, and relationships. Unlike other forms of depression, atypical depression can often be treated with MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors), a type of antidepressant that does not normally work for other forms of depressive disorders. However, there are many different forms of depression, and each has different symptoms, signs, and causes.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD, is a hormone-based cyclical mood disorder, commonly considered a severe and disabling form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). This is the term used to describe a severe form of depression in which many of the physical symptoms of depression are present. This information is not intended to replace a physician's independent judgment of the appropriateness or risks of a procedure for a given patient. If you or someone you love is struggling with depression, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.