Types of depression: its symptoms, causes and characteristics

It’s common to feel a downturn once in a while or to be sad about something that may have happened in your life. Sadness is part of life, an emotion that is not inherently pathological, although we associate it with discontent and try to avoid it.

However, it should be noted that not all of the ways in which discomfort is experienced are the same, and sometimes what we believe to be sadness intrinsic to the “normal” lifestyle can be one of the many types of depression. that exist.

In this article, we will focus precisely on this topic: the main types of depression that has shaped scientific research in mental health.

    Depression, a multifactorial disorder

    If the pain is persistent, you are sad most of the time and this affects your daily life, you may be depressed, A mood disorder which can seriously affect our lives and which also comes with the risk of trying to die or developing a lifestyle that is very harmful to health in the medium and long term.

    In addition, depression is a very complex phenomenon, because we do not know exactly what causes it; the most accepted hypothesis is that it has a multifactorial origin, so it has both a behavioral component (that is, of the way we interact with the environment and perceive what is happening to us) and biological (in particular based on genetic predispositions).

    It is not always easy to know when this phenomenon took effect on us, as there are different types of depression and therefore the ways in which its presence can be identified vary. However, all psychopathologies that can be grouped into this category have several common characteristics, as we will see.

    So let’s see what are the characteristics of these types of depression to find out what we are facing in each case.

    Types of depression and their characteristics

    Depression is common around this time, and it is common for people to use medication to relieve the pain they experience with this disease. the prozac (Fluoxetine), also known as the happiness drug, is commonly used in developed societies.

    However, the truth is that this set of psychopathologies can hardly be overcome simply by using drugs. This is due to its complexity and the diversity of its symptoms and characteristics. While the active ingredient in these drugs is always the same, depressive-type disorders interact in very unexpected ways with all the biological and contextual elements of each individual.

    Drug treatment is recommended in severe cases, but psychotherapeutic support should always be available to manage and overcome types of depression (in psychotherapy, moreover, the risk of experiencing side effects is much lower). It is important to understand that psychologists can also help you overcome depression by using their techniques and methods tailored to you so that you adopt new habits that weaken the symptoms of this disorder and help it go away depending on how the disorder is on you. affected.

    But … what are the different types of depression and how do they usually express themselves through symptoms? Depression is part of mood disorders and always affects our general well-being.Our social interaction, our sexual appetite and desire, and many other behavioral aspects, but how we do it depends on the specific type of depressive disorder we have developed. Below are variations of depression.

    1. Major depression

    Major depression is the most serious type of depression, as the name suggests, and it is characterized by the high intensity of the symptoms and the fact that they are present most of the day.

    In this psychopathology, there is the appearance of one or more depressive episodes lasting at least 2 weeks. It usually begins in adolescence or young adulthood. The person suffering from this type of depression, may experience normal mood phases between depressive phases which can last for months or years.

    It is classified as unipolar episodes because there are no manic phases and can cause very serious problems for the patient if not treated effectively. In fact, suicidal thoughts can lead to death if they are translated into effective actions to end one’s own life.

    Symptoms of major depression

    Here Are Some Of The Symptoms Of Major Depression According To The Handbook DSM-IV-TR:

    • Depressed mood most of the day, almost every day (1)
    • Loss of interest in previously rewarding activities (2)
    • Weight loss or gain
    • Insomnia or hypersomnia

    • low self-esteem

    • Concentration issues and decision making issues
    • Feelings of guilt
    • suicidal thoughts

    • Restlessness or psychomotor retardation almost every day
    • Fatigue or loss of energy almost every day

    According to the DSM-IV, there must be the presence of 5 (or more) of the above symptoms over a 2 week period, Which represent a change from the previous activity; one of the symptoms should be (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or the ability to feel pleasure.

    Types of major depression

    In major depression there are different type of major depression:

    1. Depression with a single episode: Caused by a single event in life and depression only has this event.
    2. recurrent depression: Onset of depressive symptoms during two or more episodes in the patient’s life. The separation between an episode should be at least 2 months without showing any symptoms.

    2. Dysthymia

    In types of depression, the dysthymia it is less severe than major depression. It is a type of unipolar depression (does not include manic symptoms) and interferes with the normal functioning and well-being of the individual who suffers from it.

    The essential characteristic of this disorder is that the patient feels depressed for most of the day, most of the time for at least 2 years. We can say that it is a kind of major depression “stretched” in time: it lasts longer, but it is a little less intense in view of the discomfort it generates and the danger it represents. You don’t necessarily have to feel a great deal of sadness, but often the most common thing is that there is a feeling of lack of purpose and motivation, as if nothing matters.

    Many people with dysthymia can also experience severe depressive episodes at some point in their lives.

    Symptoms of dysthymia

    The main symptoms of dysthymia are as follows:

    • Loss or increased appetite
    • Insomnia or hypersomnia
    • Lack of energy or fatigue
    • low self-esteem
    • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
    • Feelings of hopelessness

    3. Manic depression

    This type of disorder, also called bipolar disorder, is classified as a type of mood disorder. Although we can include in the types of depression, it combines depressive states with states of mania, that is, there are extreme highs and lows. Bipolar disorder is a serious illness and should not be confused with a state of emotional instability.

    Treatment is different from major depression and requires mood stabilizers (such as lithium), as well as professional support through psychotherapy and care of the patients’ family environment.

    Symptoms of manic depression

    the depressive symptoms May include:

    • Persistent feelings of sadness
    • Feeling of hopelessness or helplessness
    • low self-esteem
    • Feeling of ineptitude
    • excessive guilt
    • Wish to die
    • Loss of interest in regular or already enjoyed activities
    • Difficulty in relationships
    • Sleep disorder (for example, insomnia, hypersomnia)
    • Changes in appetite or weight
    • Decreased energy
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Decreased ability to make decisions
    • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
    • Frequent physical discomfort (eg, headache, upset stomach, fatigue)
    • Attempts or threats to escape from the house
    • Hypersensitivity to failure or rejection
    • Irritability, hostility, aggressiveness

    the manic symptoms they can cover:

    • exaggerated self-esteem

    • Less need for rest and sleep
    • Greater distraction and irritability
    • Excessive participation in enjoyable and high-risk activities that can lead to painful consequences, for example provocative, destructive or anti-social behavior (sexual promiscuity, reckless driving, alcohol and drug abuse).
    • Increased eloquence (eg, increased speaking speed, rapid subject changes, intolerance of interruptions)
    • Feelings of “excitement” or euphoria
    • Marked changes in mood, for example unusually happy or silly, strangely angry, agitated or aggressive
    • Greater sexual desire
    • Higher energy level
    • Little common sense in sane people

    4. Seasonal depressive disorder (SAD)

    This depressive state is called Seasonal Depressive Disorder (SAD) and is characterized by occurring during a certain time of the year, usually during the winter.

    Symptoms usually slowly intensify in late fall and winter. These symptoms are very similar to those that occur in other types of depression:

    • despair
    • Increased appetite with weight gain
    • Increased sleep (poor sleep is more common with other forms of depression)
    • Less energy and ability to concentrate
    • Loss of interest in work and other activities
    • slow movements
    • social isolation
    • Sadness and irritability

    There is also another variant of SAD that some people suffer from in the summer:

    • Lack of appetite
    • Weightloss
    • insomnia
    • Irritability and anxiety
    • commotion

    5. Psychotic depression

    Psychotic depression it is a subtype of major depression that occurs when a severe depressive illness includes a certain type of psychosis. Unlike other types of depression, it is characterized by the presence of psychotic symptoms: hallucinations and / or delusions that qualitatively alter the perception of reality.

    6. Postpartum depression

    Within the types of depression we can include postpartum depression. It is characterized because this may occur shortly after delivery.

    This type of depression can appear up to a year later than a woman has given birth, although it is common for it to occur within the first three months after giving birth.

    Causes of postpartum depression

    Some of the causes of postpartum depression are:

    • Body level changes during pregnancy and childbirth (for example, due to a hormonal change)
    • Changes in labor and social relations
    • Have less time and freedom for yourself
    • Alters sleep-wake cycle due to birth
    • Concerns about her ability to be a good mother

    Bibliographical references:

    • American Psychiatric Association (2014). DSM-5. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Madrid: Panamericana.
    • Belloch, A .; Sandín, B. and Ramos, F. (2010). Manual of psychopathology. Volumes I and II. Madrid: McGraw-Hill.
    • Kendler, KS; Gardner, CO (1998). Limits of Major Depression: Assessment of DSM-IV Criteria. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 155 (2): pages 172-177.
    • Klein, DN; Shankman, SA; Rose, S. (2006). Ten-year prospective study on the naturalistic evolution of dysthymic disorder and double depression. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 163 (5): pages 872-880.
    • National Collaborating Center for Mental Health. Depression. (2009). The treatment and management of depression in adults (updated edition). National Clinical Practice Guideline No. 90. London: British Psychological Society and Royal College of Psychiatrists.
    • Gilbert, DT; Schacter, DL; Wegner, DM, ed. (2011). Psychology. New York: Worth Publishers.
    • Goffman, E. (1998). Stigma. Altered identity. Editorial Amorrortu, Buenos Aires, 1998 (1st edition in English: Stigma. Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity. Prentice-Hall, Inc.
    • Wright, SL, Persad, C. (2007). Distinguishing between depression and dementia in the elderly: neuropsychological and neuropathological correlates. Journal of Psychiatry and Geriatric Neurology, 20 (4): pp. 189 – 198.

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