Depression means many things to many different people. Some people describe themselves as being depressed when they’ve heard bad news or when things just aren’t going right, however usually they pick up again in a few days. This reaction is seen as a normal response to difficult or sad situations and is sometimes described as ‘normal depression’.
It is important to diagnose and seek rapid treatment for depression, this is often difficult since people often find it difficult to confront those feeling or to admin that they are suffering or experieincing depression.
Many people at various times in their lives will experience ‘the blues’, a drop in self esteem or self worth, feel self-critical, lack pleasure in life, and feel pessimistic about the future. Often this is transient in nature and feelings are not disabling. On the other hand, someone with clinical depression will experience these types of symptoms for more than 2 weeks and often they are unable to function at their normal psychological and social level.
- Two weeks of an abnormal depressed mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that used to be enjoyable
- Reduced energy, or feeling tired
- Loss of confidence and self-esteem
- Disturbed sleep (not enough/too much/poor quality)
- Change in appetite (increase or decrease) with weight change
- Decreased libido
- Feeling guilty and unworthy
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, or any suicidal/self-harming behaviour
- Reduced ability to think or concentrate
- Agitated or slow movements
- Unexplained physical symptoms
There are many different types and sub-types of depression that are currently used to describe people’s experience of depression. Types of depression are mostly determined by the intensity of the symptoms, the duration of the symptoms, and the specific cause of the symptoms, if that is known.
The most widely diagnosed types of depression are:
- Mild/Minor Depression and Dysthymic Disorder
- Moderate Depression
- Major/Severe Depression
- Bipolar Disorder (BPD) and Cyclothymic Disorder
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
- Postnatal Depression (PND)