Types of Depressive Disorders

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‘Did You Know’ there are many types of depression?

Most people occasionally feel sad; however these feelings don’t usually last more than a few days.  When a person has a depressive disorder, it may interfere with daily life, normal functioning, and may cause pain for both the person with the disorder and those close to him or her.  Depression is a common but serious illness, and most that experience it can get better with treatment.  Research into this illness has resulted in the development of medications, psychotherapies, and other methods to treat people with this disabling disorder.

While there are many types of depression, the most common are Major Depressive Disorder and Dysthymic Disorder.  The symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder may interfere with a person’s ability to work, sleep, eat, and enjoy pleasurable activities.  An episode of major depression may occur once or more often in an individual’s lifetime.

Dysthymic Disorder, also called Dysthmia, is characterized by two or more years of depressive symptoms that are not as disabling as Major Depressive Disorder.

Other forms of depressive disorders exhibit additional symptoms or develop under unique circumstances.  Bipolar Disorder is a type of mood disorder that is characterized by cycling periods of depression and mania or hypomania (less severe mania), by severe depression only, or by mania only.

Antenatal Depression refers to depression in a mother-to-be that may occur during the time period of gestation; Perinatal Depression refers to depression common to the prenatal and postnatal periods of motherhood; and Postpartum Depression refers to depression during the mother’s experience after labor and delivery through the infant’s first year of life.

Depression may also be diagnosed as a direct physiological consequence of a general medical condition.

Substance-Induced Mood Disorder, which may include depression, is the direct physiological consequence of a drug of abuse, a toxin exposure, or a medication.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is characterized by the onset of depression primarily during the winter months when there is less natural sunlight.

Symptoms of these many types of depression may include the following:  sadness, despair, emptiness, loss of the ability to experience pleasure, low self-esteem, apathy, low motivation, social withdrawal, feelings of worthlessness, excessive sensitivity, negativity, pessimism, irritability, low frustration tolerance, excessive or inappropriate guilt, fatigue, low energy, agitation, impaired concentration, forgetfulness, difficulty making decisions, appetite disturbance (eating too much, eating too many carbs or sugars; not eating enough), sleep disturbance (excessive sleeping, frequent awakenings, early morning awakening, decreased need for sleep), anxiety, euphoria (in an extraordinary good mood for no reason), grandiosity (big ideas or puffed up ego), pressure to speak (unusually talkative), racing thoughts, distractibility, self-destructive behavior (alcohol, drugs, speeding, gambling, many sexual partners, cutting, etc.), psychomotor agitation (restlessness), excessive goal-directed activity (long working hours; other extremes in life), hallucinations, impairment in social or occupational functioning, thoughts or attempts of suicide, aches and pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not go away.

Psychotherapy, medication, and other methods are used to treat these disabling types of depression.  The uses of psychotropic medications for Perinatal, Postnatal, and Postpartum Mood Disorders are controversial.

For an assessment of and psychotherapy for your type of depression, please call Carol Ann Worthing, PhD at 303-663-5846.

Carol Ann Worthing, PhD of Individual & Family Wholeness is a psychotherapist in private practice since 1992. She provides a safe and caring approach to your psychotherapy and evaluations for individuals, couples, families, and children. Her practice represents integrity, competency, and confidentiality, a safe and caring place for psychotherapy. It is her mission to guide you and your family to become emotionally and physically whole and to help you deliberately build your lives and families on that wholeness.

For additional information, please visit the National Institute of Mental Health page here.