What is Depression?

Depression is more than just feeling “down in the dumps” or “blue” for a few days. It’s a serious mental health condition that requires treatment. Depression may cause serious problems with school, work and social relationships. Depression can even lead to suicide.

There are different types of depression, and it’s important to get the right diagnosis and treatment. Depression is treatable, and most people with depression feel better with medication, therapy or both.

What Are the Symptoms of Depression?

The symptoms of depression can vary depending on the type of depression you have. But in general, symptoms may include:

– Feeling hopeless, worthless or helpless

– Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy

– Sleeping too little or too much

– Feeling tired all the time

– Overeating or loss of appetite

– Having trouble concentrating, making decisions or remembering things

– Restlessness or irritability

– Physical pain, such as headaches, stomachaches or back pain, that doesn’t go away even with treatment

If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to see your doctor or a mental health provider. Depression is a serious condition, but it’s treatable.

Depression can happen at any age, but it often starts in the teens or early 20s. Women are more likely than men to experience depression. Some groups — such as people who have a family history of depression, are going through a major life change or have experienced trauma — are at higher risk. Depression is also common in people who have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, cancer or heart disease.

Types of Depression

There are different types of depression, and it’s important to get the right diagnosis and treatment. Depression is treatable, and most people with depression feel better with medication, therapy or both.

Major Depression

Major depression is also known as clinical depression or unipolar depression. It’s characterized by severe symptoms that interfere with your ability to work, sleep, study, eat and enjoy life. An episode of major depression may occur only once in your lifetime, but more often, it recurs throughout your life.

Persistent Depressive Disorder

Persistent depressive disorder, also known as dysthymia, is a less severe form of depression. But it lasts longer – at least two years. With persistent depressive disorder, you may have episodes of major depression along with periods of less severe symptoms, but your symptoms must last for at least two years to be considered persistent depressive disorder.

Bipolar Depression

Bipolar depression is different from other types of depression because it’s characterized by mood swings or changes. People with bipolar depression have extreme highs (mania) and lows (depression). During the low, or depressed, phase, symptoms of depression are present. Bipolar disorder used to be known as manic depression.

Seasonal Depression

Seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a type of depression that happens at the same time each year. It’s usually related to the changes in seasons and begins and ends at about the same times each year. Seasonal depression is more common in winter, when there is less natural sunlight.

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is a type of depression that can happen after you have a baby. It’s thought to be caused by hormonal changes, tiredness and the stress of caring for a newborn. Postpartum depression can make it hard to take care of your baby and do your daily tasks.

Psychotic Depression

Psychotic depression happens when a person has severe depression plus some form of psychosis, such as hallucinations or delusions. Depression with psychosis is also known as major depressive disorder with psychotic features.

Situational Depression

Situational depression, also known as adjustment disorder with depressed mood, is a type of depression that happens in response to a stressful life event, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, job loss or even retirement. Situational depression is usually short-term and goes away once the stressful event has passed.

Atypical Depression

Atypical depression is a subtype of major depressive disorder. The symptoms of atypical depression are similar to those of other types of depression, but with atypical depression, you may also have:

-Increased appetite

-Weight gain

-Sleepiness

-Heavy feeling in your arms or legs

-Problems with concentration and attention

-Mood that improves in response to positive events