You are down and feeling blue. Somebody ate all of your chocolate ice cream or moved your cheese or something has simply made you feel bad. Perhaps things aren’t going well at work with your boss and you’re frightened that a pink slip is in your near future. Are you depressed? Maybe. Is it serious? In all probability not. There are different types of depression, according to the AMA. Some can be quite serious and require medication, other’s are fleeting, lasting a few days to a week and are situational in origin.
Major Depression. This depression is recognized by a persistent sadness and a few sufferers experience the inability to experience any pleasure in their lives. A Major Depression isn’t fleeting-it’s constant and interferes with a person’s life. They might miss work, family gatherings and if severe may not leave the house at all. A depressive episode of this magnitude may be treated medically. If it is not taken care of it might last as long as six months or more. If they’re fortunate a person might experience a severe depressive episode such as this once in their lifetime. Sadly it is more common for major depression to be a reoccurring disorder.
Atypical Depression. It is a fairly common subtype of Major Depression. Those that experience this type of depression can feel a short-lived elevation of their mood when confronted with positive issues happening in their lives. The elevation in mood, whether it is being out with friends or getting a piece of good news, is always fleeting. With Atypical Depression you can have weight gain, increase in appetite, and an increased need to sleep, lethargy and hyper-sensitivity to any type of rejection.
Dysthymia is a form of low-grade depression that can last for two years. It’s not as debilitating as a Major Depression, however it can and does interfere with the day by day life of those who suffer from it. Most days a person affected by dysthymic disorder will feel anywhere from mildly to moderately depressed with brief periods of feeling normal. Some with dysthmic depression also fall into Major Depressive Episodes and this is known as double depression.
SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder is the name used to refer to a seasonal pattern of major depression that happens through the fall and winter months when sunlight is in short supply, particularly in northern climates. The symptoms disappear as soon as the sun reappears or the person affected by SAD uses a special light.
Postpartum Depression affects many women who have recently given birth and is considered to be brought on by the hormonal upheavals that new mother’s experience. It usually lasts longer and is more severe than a simple bout of the ‘baby blues’ and may occur right after birth or up to six months afterwards.
The good news is that depression is a treatable illness and seeing your physician is your first step on the road to feeling like yourself again. If someone you know is affected by some of these symptoms, talk to them about what you think might be going on. It might help them.