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|Depression: The Common Types and Symptoms
|Depression is a very common word in our vocabulary. I think just about everyone over the age of about 12 years old knows a little bit about what depression is.
To define a depressive disorder officially: A depressive disorder is an illness that involves the body, mood and thoughts by affecting the way a person eats, sleeps, feels about himself and thinks about things.
A true depressive disorder is not the same as feeling "blue." For a person to be diagnosed with a depressive disorder it does not mean they have a personal weakness or a condition that can be wished away. A person with a true depressive disorder cannot pull themselves together and just get better. A true depressive disorder requires appropriate treatment to improve and to recover.
There are different types of depression just as there are different types of cancers and different types of heart disease.
Three common types of depression are:
- Major depression;
- Bipolar disorder.
Symptoms of major depression are:
- A persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood;
- Feelings of hopelessness;
- Feelings of guilt;
- Feelings of worthlessness and helplessness;
- Loss of interest in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed;
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions;
- Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping;
- Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain;
- Thoughts of death or suicide;
- Suicide attempts;
- Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment like headaches, digestive upsets and chronic pain.
It is important to note that not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom listed. Some people experience a few symptoms, other people experience many of the symptoms listed. Severity of the symptoms also varies with individuals and over time.
A major depression is diagnosed by a combination of the listed symptoms when they interfere with the ability to work, study, sleep, eat and enjoy once pleasurable activities. Such disabling depressive episodes may occur only once. More commonly, however, they will occur several times in a lifetime.
Dysthymia is a less severe type of depression that involves long-term, chronic symptoms that do not disable the person, but does keep him from functioning well or from feeling good.
The third type of depression discussed in this article is bipolar disorder also called manic-depressive illness. Manic-depressive illness is not as prevalent as the other forms of depressive disorders. This disorder is characterized by cycling mood changes: severe highs (mania) and lows (depression).
Symptoms of mania are:
- Abnormal or excessive elation;
- Unusual irritability;
- Decreased need for sleep;
- Grandiose notions;
- Increased talking;
- Racing thoughts;
- Increased sexual desire;
- Markedly increased energy;
- Poor judgment;
- Inappropriate social behavior.
To find help you can check the yellow pages under the following categories:
- Mental health;
- Social services;
- Suicide prevention;
- Crisis intervention services;
In a time of acute emergency or crisis you can seek help in the nearest hospital emergency room, which will be able to provide temporary help and will be able to refer you to other appropriate professionals.