Depression's Many Forms

While we all may experience depression throughout our lives, the extent and severity may vary greatly from person-to-person. When one experiences sadness or depression it may represent a number of possible, underlying problems including:

  • Situational depression: brief depression with a spontaneous recovery

  • Adjustment disorder: a mild depression due to temporary stress

  • Grieving: sadness due to a significant loss such as death of a loved one

  • Major depression (also known as clinical depression): sadness and/or lack of pleasure, in usual activities, accompanied by a number of other problems such as sleep problems, feelings of guilt/ hopelessness, low energy, poor concentration, lack of appetite (or markedly increased appetite), difficulty moving, and suicidal thoughts (or thoughts one might be better off dead)

  • Major depression with psychosis: the most severe form of depression that includes significant difficulties with disorganized thinking/ behavior, sensory disturbances (hallucinations), unusual thinking (delusions)

  • Seasonal depression (seasonal affective disorder): Regular worsening of depression during fall/winter

  • Postpartum and prepartum depression: depression that occurs during or just after pregnancy

  • Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia): chronic low-level depression that lasts for at least six months and is usually associated with significant irritability

  • Depression secondary to medical conditions or substances: Many forms of depression occur secondary to underlying medical problems (hypothyroidism, anemia, certain Vitamin and hormone deficiencies, diabetes, autoimmune conditions, cancer, chronic pain, heart disease)

  • Depression due to the use of either prescribed or non-prescribed substances, such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, blood pressure medication, cocaine, opioids, marijuana, etc.

  • Bipolar depression: Episodes of depression occur periodically along with episodes of mania or hypomania (i.e. episodes with increased distractibility, goal directed behavior, elevated mood, racing thoughts, pressured speech, marked changes in behavior that are potentially dangerous to self and others)

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