Depression is depression, right? Not so fast. Depression is a mood disorder that can manifest itself in several ways, and understanding what you’re up against can help you better control your mental health.
At the Institute for Advanced Psychiatry, Dr. Diana Ghelber and our team believe that education is an important component in successfully addressing mental illnesses like depression.
If you’re experiencing depressive symptoms, here’s a look at the different types of depression they may fall under.
Signs of depression
Whatever form your depression takes, episodes of depression often include one or more of the following symptoms:
- Feelings of hopelessness or despair
- Overwhelming sadness
- Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Appetite and sleep changes
- Difficulty with concentration or memory
- Physical issues, such as body aches, headaches, or gastrointestinal upset
- Suicidal thoughts
These symptoms vary in terms of degrees and duration, which play a role in distinguishing the type of depression you may be experiencing.
The most common forms of depression
A mood disorder like depression is complex and presents itself in various ways, including:
Major depressive disorder
This is the most common form of depression and affects more than 16 million people in the United States. With major depression, the symptoms we described above overshadow your life and trap you in a very dark place. There’s no timeline for this type of depression as it’s more defined by the pervasiveness of the symptoms.
Persistent depressive disorder
If you experience depressive symptoms that aren’t as severe as major depression, but they last for two years or more, we call this persistent depressive disorder.
This complicated mental health disorder is characterized by periods of manic symptoms (unusually high energy), which are often followed by periods of depression. There are several different types of bipolar disorder, but both manic and depressive symptoms are usually present.
Seasonal affective disorder
If your depressive symptoms tend to develop when the days grow shorter, this is a classic sign of seasonal affective disorder.
Approximately 1 in 8 women experience postpartum depression after childbirth. With this type of depression, you may develop symptoms of depression any time in the first year after the birth of your child and the symptoms persist.
We want to underscore the fact that these explanations of the different types of depression are very basic, but our hope is that they provide a general framework so that you can better understand what’s happening to you.
Any time you’re struggling with symptoms of depression, we urge you to come see us so that we can perform a complete evaluation and get you on the road to better mental health as quickly as possible.
To get started, contact one of our two locations in Granby or Fort Worth, Texas, to schedule a consultation.