Depression is depression, but is it?
Yes and no. Knowing what type will help with treatment, simple but true. Wait.. there are types?
Yes, hence the title of the post 🙂
Outward signs of depression will vary in people I touched on that briefly in my WHEN DO YOU SEEK HELP post. Causes of depression will course vary as well, what will bring depression on, and some will be more susceptible to it. I am going to expand on that a bit in this post.
There are types of depression as well, some simplify them into three types, I feel that model is not conducive for healing. Grouping illnesses in a broad category is too loose, we are all individuals. Something I will go at later, it is the same with disorders. To say you have an anxiety disorder or bipolar, or OCD… it is still a broad stroke, even separating things like bipolar 1 or 2 is not enough, and adding nos or cyclothymia or mixed is still not enough, each case is individual. With most disorders, mental illnesses, there is crossover too. But I am digressing, I will return to this another time.
One size does not fit all
nor does one label.
It can become quite challenging or confusing.
Lets start easy, just using one type as an example, then we can get organized.
SAD. Seasonal affective disorder.
We have heard of this, so right away we know, in the darker winter some will suffer with this, a broad stroke of diagnosis, and this is wrong. The key word is seasonal.
Do I have you thinking now?
Summer is a season too. yes SAD can be reversed, some may suffer with it in the summer, have symptoms start in the spring and gradually become worse through the summer. I am pointing out, labels and types all have sub labels, sub types. Not to confuse you, but to make treatment more effective.
Winter SAD, has a lot to do with light, those living near the equator that enjoy long bright days, well it is very rare there. It also has a lot to do with lifestyle changes over the winter months, less activity. Less exercise, less social interaction. We are a social creature, lack of interaction is as bad as lack of exercise.
So treatment for this is light often therapy, starting in the fall. Anti-depressants and counselling for some lifestyle changes too, are valuable and often part of the treatment.
Winter SAD symptoms will have weight gain, more sleep, eat poorly, more sweets and high carbs… basically hibernation.
Summer SAD is different. Weight loss, less sleep. More irritability even more of a suicide risk than Winter SAD.
Continuing with reversal, people close to the equator will suffer with Summer SAD. So it is often attributed to higher temperature or humidity, but not entirely. Maybe there are triggers for some in the summer as well. So then this may be a sign of PTSD.
wait, is it SAD or PTSD?
labels. Not so easy, or helpful.
Sorting out why, obviously helps with treatment. If it is longer light higher temps, then curtains and AC can help a lot. But if digging deeper one sees it is a trigger causing the SAD, then this is not going to help. This goes back to my “why does it take so long to find out what is bothering me post. No I am not spamming my blogs, lol, just saving going over things again.
So on to the types of depression. The labels.
Major depression / clinical
Dysthymia depression / chronic
These two are the most common.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Knowing more about the depression is needed to treat it properly.
Major – clinical ~ Briefly, this involves depression for the large part of the day, seemingly worse in the morning, each and every day for more than a two week period. People with some disorders will may also have Major Depression Disorder. This depression is very severe. It can cause the person to not be able to function. This really is not all that uncommon, up to 10% may suffer from periods of this in their lifetime. Treatment involves antidepressants and therapy, often CBT (Cognitive behavioral therapy) More on CBT and other therapies soon. 🙂
Dysthymia depression / chronic ~ The depressed states are not as severe as Major depression, but last years. It could be genetic, but most often depression is. Meds and social problems can cause it, work, relationships. Illness too. This depression is usually more mild than major depression, but lasts longer, continuing with life, work, social is possible. This is a bit more rare, though 1 our of 100 may have it. So not that rare. It can be harder to diagnose than Major depression and is often confused with “personality” disorders. Therapy and antidepressants are used to treat this quite successfully.
Double depression is not uncommon, where both Major and Dysthymia coexist.
Bipolar is complex, another post for this, very soon I think.
SAD we covered above.
Psychotic. ~ psychotic depression is accompanied by delusion or psychosis (loss of contact with reality). Hallucinations and delusions will be possible symptoms. They may have feelings of being possessed. Quick to anger. Treatment is mood stabilizers, antidepressants and antipsychotics, normally in a hospital setting to monitor progress. Treatment is usually very effective, it may take a while though, perhaps a year. ECT (electroconvulsive therapy)is successively used to treat this. The risk of suicide is high. Treatment should be sought quickly,
Postpartum Depression. ~ Most new mothers will experience something similar to this, but ten percent may suffer from postpartum depression. This occurs within one month of the birth. This can be a severe depression. It is important to seek help, this depression can cause you to harm yourself or your baby.
Adjustment depression ~ As it sounds, new jobs, schools illness, even work problems can cause this. Normal really unless it lasts for longer periods, or if other things come into play, self destructive thoughts, suicidal feelings. It is stress based.
A slightly simplistic overview, just to show the different types of depression.
Depression is contagious.
This sounds scary, you can catch depression? Yes! An entire household can suffer from depression, yes it can be genetic, but a household of strangers living together as a family, can all end up with depression “catching” it from one of their roommates.
Levels of Depression
Depression “strength” is often categorized normal, mild, moderate and severe. Sounds simple right? We have no indicator lights or gauges attached, so each person is going to have a different “feeling” as to what their level of depression is.
As mentioned before, Serotonin levels, are often looked at in depression. Severe depression instants may have even lower levels . There are lots of studies, mappings tests and theories. Blood flow has been looked at, findings saw that there was a decreased blood flow in cases of major depression in the pre-frontal cortex, which could indicate incomplete development of the cerebral cortex, possibly caused by premature birth.
Depression feeds on itself as well, growing in strength.
Many suffer from depression unknowingly. Symptoms are not always clear and you always have the hope it will soon just go away.
Or you may live with or know someone that is suffering with depression. Be supportive. It is hard to talk about, no one wants to admit they are having difficulties, they don’t want to put someone out, bother them. You know this Lets Talk thing… it is important. Talk to them, expect them to not want to, but be gentle, have the conversation one on one in a quiet setting. Let them know you care and want to help. The big thing to push across is to tell them how important it is that they go see their GP. To get things rolling. This visit is so important, nothing is lost by making it. If you are finally realizing that things are not as they should be…… talk as well.
Check on them often, perhaps the same time each day or night, to see how things are going. It helps so much when they find that there is someone that cares.
Depression can be caused by physical ailments as in hypothyroidism, so one should visit their GP.
Time to preach again. Talk. Depression can be beaten.
Ride the wave, Talk, lets remove the stigma to mental health.