Types Of Depression
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Depression disorders are medical conditions with emotional and physical symptoms. While scientists are still studying the causes of various types of depression, possible contributing factors include:

• Genetics

• Environmental changes

• Neurotransmitter levels and activity.

Depression disorders can occur independently, or with anxiety symptoms or an anxiety disorder. Several types of depression exist, each with its own symptoms and contributing factors.

Major Depression

Also called clinical depression or major depressive disorder, major depression is a medical condition that affects emotional and physical well-being. Symptoms of major depression include:

• Aches and pains

• Changes in sleep or diet

• Depressed mood

• Desire for self-injury or suicide

• Difficulty concentrating• Feelings of guilt or hopelessness

• Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed

• Reduced energy.

Like other types of depression, major depression treatment often includes a combination of antidepressants and psychotherapy.


Dysthymia, or dysthymic disorder, is a milder, chronic form of depression. It is characterized by chronic depressed mood and low energy. Symptoms are similar to those of major depression, but are both milder and more prolonged.

Antidepressant medications are not as effective for dysthymia as they are for other depression disorders. Treatment often includes a combination of different medications and psychotherapy.

Postpartum Depression Signs

While many women experience conflicting emotions after giving birth, postpartum depression causes abnormal, dramatic changes in feelings and behavior. Affected women can experience depression symptoms and other postpartum depression signs, such as:

• Difficulty bonding with the baby

• Severe fatigue

• Significant mood swings.

Lifestyle and hormonal changes can contribute to postpartum depression signs, and treatment often includes:

• Counseling

• Hormone therapy

• Medication.

Depression by Age

The elderly population experiences depression as well. Geriatric depression symptoms are similar to those of major depression, as well as self-destructive or suicidal warning signs. Major life changes associated with aging, such as death of loved ones or serious illness, can contribute to these types of depression. The elderly are also at higher risk of depression due to age-related changes in brain chemistry.

Bipolar Disorder

Unlike other depression disorders, bipolar disorder is associated with both:

• Severe highs (mania), characterized by high energy and impassivity

• Severe lows (depression), characterized by loss of interest and depressed mood.

Bipolar disorder sufferers fluctuate between these two states, and treatment addresses both aspects of the condition.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

SAD is a type of depression with symptoms that fluctuate during different times of the year. Changing seasons can lead to depression symptoms, particularly appetite and sleep changes. These symptoms typically appear in the winter; loss of daylight seems to affect neurotransmitter activity in the brain. Treatment for seasonal affective disorders varies from that of other depression disorders, and may include photo-therapy.

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