If you or someone you know is dealing with depression, then you should be aware of the various types of depression. Finding out how to fight depression can be easier if you understand which type you’re actually dealing with.
The main categories of depression are: bipolar disorder (also called manic-depressive disorder), dysthmyia, and major depression.
Bipolar depression: Sufferers of manic-depressive or bipolar disorders experience sudden extreme shifts in moods in a cyclic pattern. They switch from feeling mania to depressed to “normal”, then back to mania or depressed. Some individuals do not even undergo the period of “normal” mood in their manic-depressive episodes. These sudden episodic swings, if left untreated, can make it difficult to maintain relationships or even a stable job. Fortunately, there is treatment available for this disorder.
Dysthymia: Someone who suffers from this condition experiences depression on a constant, persistent basis. The depression they experience is typically less severe than major depression (it is in fact classified as mild depression), but has been with them for so long that it has pretty much become their “normal” mood. Sufferers of dysthymia may or may not be able to cope with their everyday lives. Support from friends and family as well as therapy will greatly help such people.
Major depression: This is the most common type of depression. It is also called clinical or unipolar depression. Symptoms of major depression vary across individuals. Sufferers will feel worthless and feel everything is pointless. This leads them to isolate themselves and prevents them from doing any activities, which further strengthens their feelings of despair. At this point, they may feel as if they are stuck in some kind of pit, unable to even bother to take the first step to climb out, or that they don’t deserve to be happy. People dealing with depression of such severity see suicide as their only reasonable option, and absolutely need support from others to help them climb out of their pit.
Dysthymia and major depression can be further divided into the following subcategories: atypical depression, melancholic depression and postpartum/postnatal depression.
In atypical depression, the sufferer is actually able to feel happiness (or at least experience a lift in mood) in reaction to some good news or events, but lapses into deep feelings of sadness and despair the rest of the time. This condition is frequently associated with excessive eating and sleeping.
This is in contrast to melancholic depression, where the sufferer is absolutely unable to feel any tinge of happiness in reaction to positive news or events. It is typically associated with severe weight loss, excessive feelings of guilt and insomnia. This is one of the most severe forms of depression, and dealing with depression of this type requires medication as part of the overall treatment.
Postpartum or postnatal depression occurs after pregnancy. It is actually fairly common for women to experience this within 3 months after their labor. This can be a difficult condition to diagnose, as women typically feel sad and tired after pregnancy. The difference with postpartum depression is that these feelings are more severe and can significantly impact on their day-to-day activities and relationships.
Depression during pregnancy itself is also a fairly common occurrence, and again, can be difficult to diagnose. Such depression is caused by the hormonal changes in the woman’s body, which causes intense feelings of despair and gloom during pregnancy.
Dealing with depression, regardless of what type it is, is never easy. Medication is necessary in more severe cases. Do not feel embarassed to seek professional help as well as support from your loved ones.