We all go through ups and downs in life. Trials and tribulations can leave us reeling and feeling depressed, but sometimes there may be something more serious going on. It’s important to consider whether you’re just feeling down, or possibly dealing with one of the many types of depressive disorders.
Let’s have a look at some of the most common types of depressive disorders, along with some resources that may be of use for you or someone you love.
(Please contact your health care provider if you have any concerns about your mental health and wellbeing, and keep in mind that you can apply for disability benefits if you are unable to work.)
Common Types of Depressive Disorders
- Major depression – Major depression causes constant feelings of dread, hopelessness and despair. It zaps your energy and makes it difficult to work, study or accomplish even mundane tasks like eating or going to the store. The National Institute for Mental Health estimates that nearly 7 percent of all U.S. adults had at least one depressive episode in 2014. If you experience depressive symptoms for more than two years, it’s called persistent depressive disorder.
- Psychotic depression – In addition to major depression symptoms, people with psychotic depression may experience delusions, hallucinations or intense paranoia. If you or someone you know is exhibiting these symptoms, it’s important to seek treatment immediately.
- Postpartum depression – Childbirth-related depression is very common. It’s estimated that up to 15 percent of women experience depression during pregnancy. Postpartum depression can last for months after the birth of a child – and take a significant toll on mothers and children alike – so it’s important to speak with a doctor sooner rather than later if you are experiencing symptoms.
- Seasonal affective disorder – This can be a serious issue for those living in places where winter means bitter cold, being socked in with snow, and little sunlight. Light therapy seems to be an effective treatment for seasonal affective disorder.
- Situational depression – We all experience loss, stress and trauma. This type of depression can set in when we hit a rough patch or experience a traumatic life event.
- Atypical depression – While other forms of depression can lead to decreased appetite and difficulty sleeping, atypical depression often results in overeating and sleeping too much. Another hallmark is that your mood may improve when good things happen (as opposed to those with a form of melancholic depression).
You’re Not Alone
If you think you might have an issue with some type of depression, it’s important to know you’re not alone.
According to the World Health Organization, depression is the leading cause of disability for people ages 15-44 in the United States.
About one in 10 Americans deal with depression at some point, and yet it’s estimated that 80 percent of people exhibiting symptoms do not receive treatment.
You don’t have to struggle in silence. There are support resources available and many types of treatments for depressive disorders.
Medications, therapies and lifestyle adjustments can make a life-transforming difference for your mental health, but it’s critical to work with your doctor to determine a treatment plan or course of action that’s right for you. And, of course, there are small things we can all do to make our mental health (and our lives) a little bit better each day.
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