Types of depression
A definition of depression is two fold: in physiology, it is the decrease in function or activity. In psychology, it is a dejected state of mind with two or more of the depression symptoms that we have listed, occurring for a certain period of time.
There are three main types of clinical depression: major depressive disorder; dysthymic disorder; and bipolar depression (the depressed phase of bipolar disorder).We will briefly profile major depressive and dysthymic disorders.
MAJOR DEPRESSIVE DISORDER
A person experiencing major depressive disorder suffers from, a depressed mood or loss of interest in normal activities – this lasts most of the day, nearly every day for at least two weeks. Such episodes may occur only once, but more commonly occur several times in a lifetime. Medical illness, loss of a loved one, stressful life events, and drug or alcohol abuse can magnify symptoms of this disorder.
Dysthymic disorder is a chronic but less severe type of depression that doesn’t strike in episodes, but is instead characterized by milder, persistent symptoms that may last for years. Although it doesn’t usually interfere with everyday tasks, people with this milder form of depression rarely feel like they are functioning to their full potential. Interest is rapidly growing in the use of herbs,flower essences, essential oils, and other natural sources for treating this milder form of depression or depression symptom.
DEPRESSION IS MORE THAN A MOOD SWING
The depression symptom listed for a major depressive episode may include:
- loss of interest or pleasure in activities previously enjoyed
- change in appetite or weight
- difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
- physical slowing or agitation
- energy loss
- feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
- difficulty thinking or concentrating
- recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
Notes: Medical professionals generally base a diagnosis of mental illness on the presence of certain symptoms listed in the 4th edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV).
A Major depressive disorder is diagnosed when an individual has five or more of these depression symptom and has not been functioning normally for most days during the same two-week period.
Dysthymic disorder is diagnosed when depressed mood persists for at least two years (one year in children) and is accompanied by at least two other symptoms of depression.
Not all people experiencing depression, will experience the same symptoms or have them to the same degree.