Depression is a serious mental health concern where sadness or a sense of emptiness is prolonged for weeks, months or even years, interfering with our daily life and relationships.
Signs and symptoms of depression can be both physical or emotional. These may include:
• Not going out anymore
• Not getting things done at work/school
• Withdrawing from close family and friends
• Relying on alcohol and sedatives
• No longer participating in usual activities
• Inability to concentrate
• Lack of confidence
• Lack of motivation
• Sleep problems
• Sick and run down
• Headaches and muscle pains
• Churning gut
• Loss or change of appetite
• Significant weight loss or gain
*Not everyone who experiences depression will have these symptoms
Types of Depression
There are many different types of depression with varying symptoms that range from mild to severe.
Some of the most common types of depression include;
Major depression is sometimes called major depressive disorder (MDD) or ‘clinical depression’, or simply ‘depression’. It involves low mood, loss of interest and pleasure in usual activities, among other symptoms. These symptoms are experienced most days and last for at least two weeks.
Bipolar disorder used to be known as ‘manic depression’ because the person experiences ‘lows’ of depression and ‘highs’ of mania, with periods of normal mood in between. Stress and conflict can trigger episodes for people with bipolar disorder and it’s not uncommon for people to be misdiagnosed with depression, alcohol or drug abuse, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or schizophrenia.
Dysthymic disorder or persistent depressive disorder (PDD), refers to a type of chronic depression present for at least two years. The symptoms of dysthymia are similar to those of major depression but last longer.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
SAD is a mood disorder that has a seasonal pattern. The cause of this disorder is thought to be related to the variation in light exposure in different seasons. Symptoms of SAD depression include; lack of energy, oversleeping, overeating and weight gain, starting in the winter and subsiding at the end of the season. SAD depression is more common in places with little sunlight in the winter.
Postpartum (postnatal) Depression
Postpartum depression is more than the “baby blues”, it is longer lasting and affects mother, baby and family. The causes of postpartum depression can be complex and could be caused by a range of factors. It can be triggered by changes in hormones, fatigue, and adjustments to new routines. Symptoms can include intense feelings of sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion.