Society has broad interpretations about depression – some may see it as clinical illness, some dismiss it as regular mood fluctuations, and few are ambivalent. It is understandable that even as a clinical condition, depression can be difficult to comprehend. The term “depression” carries not just one type of clinical condition, but various types of mood disorders that vary by their symptoms and causes entailing each case.
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
One of the most known type of depression is MDD or also known as clinical depression. Individuals experiencing MDD usually show at least five symptoms lasting for two weeks or more. Some of the most common feelings felt these individuals are low self-esteem, guilt, hopelessness, and lack of interest in activities. The extreme falling in the mood heavily influences the body as well, most often resulting in drastic change of weight and sleeping pattern. In a lot of cases, suicidal thoughts often come up in addition to the self-loathing feelings experienced.
Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)
Related to its term, individuals experiencing PDD have depressive mood on most days along with two substantial symptoms that can last reaching for two years or more. This mild yet long-term depression is also referred to as Dysthymia. Examples of symptoms include sleep problem, low energy / fatigue, low self-esteem, low appetite, and difficulty in concentrating. Usually, PDD requires combination treatment of medication and psychotherapy.
Bipolar Disorder / Manic Depressive Illness
Aside from depression, bipolar mood disorder is most likely one of the more common term we usually hear in passing. People tend to misuse the term with disregards of knowing what it actually is, reducing the disorder to simple mood fluctuations of ups and downs. However, there’s so much more to bipolar than simple mood swings. Of course, bipolar mood disorder can be characterized by extreme mood swing – from manic behavior to depressive behavior. Nevertheless, the mood entailing the manic and depressive behavior is more than just being happy or sad. Manic episodes in bipolar mood disorder can make the individual surged with high energy, reducing one’s need to sleep, and even making them lose touch of reality. However, in their depressive episodes, bipolar individuals express depressive behavior similar to those of MDD: low self-esteem, anxiety, hopelessness, lethargy, anxiety, and loss of interest in daily activities. The episodes can last as quick as days, up to longer time of months at a time. To date, there are several treatments for bipolar mood disorder, such as antipsychotic medicines, talk therapy, and use of mood stabilizers. Bipolar cases are dominantly experienced by young adult, with men tending to have more manic episodes, whereas women are found to have more depressive episodes.
Perinatal and Post-Partum Depression
Cases of depression in pregnant women occur more often that one might think. During pregnancy, women tend to experience extreme mood changes as the outcome of significant hormonal changes. This condition might last for the whole year, and may persist after the pregnancy. Depression during pregnancy is termed as ‘perinatal’ depression, whereas those after is termed as ‘post-partum’ depression. The significance of these cases actually contributes to common complication of child births and are affecting up to 15 to 20% of women following child birth. Post-partum depression is usually explained due to the sudden drop in hormones, estrogen and progesterone, after child birth is carried out, resulting in a hormonal crash that affects the mother’s mood heavily. Post-partum depression is a more serious type of post pregnancy depression, different from Baby Blues which is shorter and less severe occurring for 1-2 weeks after giving birth, whereas post-partum cases can last up to and more than 6 months. Mothers often times feel severe exhaustion, in addition to irritability, anxiety, and constant feeling of being overwhelmed that left them feeling uninterested in their newborn. In the most severe cases of post-partum depression, mothers can have hallucination to suicidal thoughts, requiring immediate care and hospitalization for the sake of both the mother’s and the baby’s safety.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
There’s more truth to the saying that seasons can affect your mood. When you fall asleep frequently and gain weight during fall to winter, yet you are doing fine in spring and summer, you might have a condition of this seasonal-pattern depression. Though, it’s not as simple as that. The condition of seasonal affective disorder is still unclear, but research suggested that it might be related to imbalance of the brain chemical serotonin, as well as overabundance of sleep hormone melatonin. Similar to your sleeping biological clock, reduced level of sunlight during colder weathers such as fall and winters has been suggested to disrupt our body’s internal clock that results in depressive symptoms. As such, individuals with this type of disorder experience depressive symptoms occurring around the same time every year, with most common occurrence happening in winter. Though cases occurring in summer is as prevalent its winter counterpart with symptoms starting out mild and progressing more severe as the season continues.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder is considered as severe form of PMS (Premenstrual cycle) that includes both physical and emotional symptoms, such as abdominal bloating, breast tenderness, headache, mood lability, irritability, depression, feeling anxious and lethargic. PMDD causes extreme mood shifts that can eventually disrupt and interfere the activities in daily life. Antidepressant and lifestyle change may treat these hormonal alterations.