Understanding Depression Disorder And The Different Types

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There are many forms of depression disorder.  Each one has its own characteristics and its own diagnostic criteria.  An overview of several of the main types will give you an idea of just how distinct each of these forms can be.  You may think depression is depression, but there is a lot more to the matter.  There is a whole spectrum of conditions that are considered depression disorders.

Major Depressive Disorder

This form is marked by symptoms that interfere with every aspect of life from sleep and work to eating and daily activities.  Because it so severely affects all of these areas, it is disabling for the individual.  Major depressive disorder is the form that people often think of when they think of depression.

Dysthymic Disorder

Dysthymia is marked by symptoms that are less severe but that last for at least two years.  This condition may not be disabling but does interfere with normal activities and feelings of wellbeing.  Although it may seem like a low-level version of major depressive disorder, it can interfere with quality of life.

Psychotic Depression

Psychotic depression is depression that includes a form of psychosis.  This psychosis could manifest as hallucinations, delusions, or a break with reality.  This element of psychosis is the distinguishing factor.

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is the diagnosis given when a new mother experiences a major depressive episode within a period of one month following the delivery.  This form has gained more public attention in recent years.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

SAD is when an individual experiences a depressive illness with its onset during winter months as this relates to the presence of less sunlight.  Typically, symptoms recede during the spring and summer months.  This condition is often treated using a form of light therapy.  Antidepressants may also be included in the treatment regimen.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is characterized by the presence of both manic and depressive periods.  There is a sort of cycling from an extremely high or agitated state to an extremely low or depressed state.  It is sometimes incorrectly diagnosed because the individual is observed at one point in the cycle without the health professional having access to an adequate history of the patient.

Depression disorders can take on many forms.  All have their distinguishing characteristics, and all are serious conditions.  Being able to tell the differences between them can help with treatment because the proper diagnosis is essential for the proper treatment.

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