Depression affects people in every corner of the world. In the United States alone, 7% of adults experience depression each year, and approximately 1 in 6 will have depression at some point during their lifetime. However, there are numerous types of depression that can affect people in different ways.
Our team at Compass Mental Health & Wellness in Houston understands the complexity of mental health conditions, like depression. While depressive disorders can share many symptoms, it’s important to work with someone who knows depression isn’t a one-size-fits-all diagnosis.
There are numerous types of depression, but here are four common forms that our team sees on a regular basis.
1. Major (or clinical) depression
When most people think of depression, it’s often this form. This mood disorder typically lasts at least two weeks and has several key features, including:
- Depressed mood
- Lack of interest in things previously enjoyed
- Fatigue or lack of motivation
- Changes in weight or eating habits
- Changes or disrupted sleep patterns
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Difficulty focusing or concentrating
People with major depression can also have thoughts or preoccupations with death or suicide.
2. Persistent depressive disorder (or dysthymia)
As the name suggests, persistent depressive disorder can last for a long time, even years. It can still evoke feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and lost pleasure, but the feelings may not be as severe as those seen with major depressive disorder. Because of this, people sometimes refer to persistent depressive disorder as “high-functioning depression.”
The ongoing challenges of this form of depression can significantly interfere with a person’s daily life, work, and even relationships. In many cases, someone with dysthymia gets mistaken as a pessimist, “downer,” or complainer, but they struggle with a chronic mental illness.
3. Bipolar disorder (or manic depression)
What sets this depressive disorder apart from other forms is the fact that it comes with extreme lows and highs. For example, a person can feel depressive symptoms during a low period, such as sadness, hopelessness, lack of energy, and suicidal thoughts. However, unlike major depression, these periods alternate with states of boundless energy and feelings of euphoria.
People with bipolar disorder can experience these extreme mood changes frequently — such as weekly — or sporadically, such as a few times a year.
4. Postpartum depression (or peripartum depression)
After childbirth, it’s common for hormonal changes to cause women to experience crying bouts and feelings of sadness, often called “baby blues.” However, these feelings should decrease within a week or two. If they don’t, it’s often due to postpartum depression.
Approximately 1 in 7 women struggle with anxiety, sadness, or worry that goes far beyond the typical baby blues. Common signs of postpartum depression include:
- Feeling depressed or down for several weeks or more
- Being withdrawn or distant from family and friends
- Having changes in sleeping and eating habits
- Losing interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Feeling angry, irritable, or tired most of the time
- Racing thoughts, panic attacks, or anxiety
While postpartum depression symptoms can start within the first few weeks, it can also take months to appear.
Finding help for depression
Now for some good news. While there may be numerous forms of depressive disorders, they’re highly treatable.
Our team takes a personalized approach and customizes each of our treatment strategies to the adults and children in our care. After diagnosing your depression and identifying its type, we can suggest a variety of therapies to help you manage your depressive disorder, so you can lead a healthy, rich life.
Your comprehensive treatment strategy could include a combination of protocols, such as:
- Mindfulness techniques
- Lifestyle changes
- Exercise recommendations
- Nutritional counseling
- Sleep analysis
In some cases, we also recommend antidepressant medications, but it’s not always necessary.