Depression – Types, Signs, and Treatments

Depression is an intense feeling of sadness that takes over a person’s will to do anything. It can make someone persistently sad without them being aware of the cause. Although people suffering from depression often don’t know what has caused it, there can be multiple factors that lead them into clinical depression. Understanding the causes and signs of depression becomes crucial to treat the condition from the roots.

Major depressive disorder (MDD)
Also known as clinical depression, the major depressive disorder has a lot to do with the moods of a person. It causes the person to feel depressed, lose interest in any activity that they once enjoyed, changes in sleep patterns, fatigue, face difficulty in concentration, feel worthless and guilty, and have suicidal thoughts. The exact cause of this type of depression is unknown; however, it is believed to be caused by certain life events, troubled childhood, triggers by alcohol or drug abuse, and even certain types of medication.

Persistent depressive disorder
Also known as dysthymia, this depression is chronic and can be mild to severe. Someone with the persistent depressive disorder might experience symptoms like difficulty in sleep, low self-esteem, feelings of hopelessness, and fatigue. Persistent depressive disorder can be caused due to exposure to long-lasting and severe stress that interferes with brain chemistry. It can also be inherited from one or both parents or can be a result of other factors like trauma, loss, or hardship.

Bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder was formerly known as manic depression. It is a mood disorder where the person experiences an abnormally elevated mood called mania. Someone with a bipolar disorder often experiences mood swings that range between extreme energy to complete sadness or hopelessness. Sometimes the feelings of sadness can even provoke suicidal thoughts in a person. Some common symptoms of this depression type are poor decision-making, unusual talkativeness, an exaggerated sense of well-being or euphoria, and being abnormally upbeat. Bipolar disorder cannot be completely treated, but with the right medication and treatments, it can be managed to keep the patient away from danger.

Postpartum depression
This occurs in some women after they have delivered a baby. As pregnancy comes with significant hormonal shifts, it can affect a woman’s mood that can range from persistent lethargy and sadness that needs medical attention. If medical attention is not given, it can lead to postpartum psychosis that is accompanied by confusion, hallucinations, and delusions. Some common symptoms of postpartum depression are insomnia, excess sadness, loss of energy or fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, guilt, long-lasting baby blues, and crying.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
This is an extension of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) where a woman can feel irritated, fatigued, anxious, extremely moody, and bloated. Although this depression type is not persistent and often resolves with the onset of menstruation, it needs medical attention if the symptoms are too frequent or long-lasting. Women going through this depression can undergo hormonal therapies along with other treatments. Along with this, a healthy diet and lifestyle are recommended.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
This depression is related to changes in the seasons that often occur at the time of autumn and continue until winter months. People with this depression feel moody and less energetic in certain months. Though this type of depression usually fades away as the summer approaches, it is important to take the right treatments to cure depression when it occurs.

Medical attention is important if the depression affects one’s sleep patterns and appetite or if one turns to alcohol for comfort or relaxation. Light therapy, psychotherapy, and certain medications can help cure seasonal affective disorder.

Atypical depression
This is a subtype of major depression or MDD that often occurs in people who faced depression in their early years of life or during teenage years. Signs of this depression include sleep-marked fatigue, weight gain, increased appetite, moods that are highly sensitive to environmental circumstances, and even rejection. Other signs are sleeping too much, increased appetite, and feeling weighed down or paralyzed.

Doctors often recommend psychotherapy for atypical depression along with certain medications upon weighing the severity of the symptoms. The patient is also referred to a psychiatrist or a psychologist.

Treatments for depression
Any type of depression includes treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, psychodynamic therapy, brain stimulation therapies, and interpersonal therapy. These therapies use different approaches to treat the patient. They also help the therapist to get to the root cause(s) of the depression and help the patient recover mentally.

Doctors also recommend certain medications like antidepressants, antipsychotics, anxiolytic, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). Antidepressants are usually effective when they are combined with other therapies. In cases where two different antidepressants are ineffective, then doctors recommend other medications like Trintellix, especially in cases of MDD. This medication is similar to other antidepressants and is taken orally.

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