Depression is characterized by feelings of sadness, despair and hopelessness: a lack of energy and a lack of ability to experience joy and happiness, feelings of anxiety and worthlessness, difficulties in concentrating and remembering and increased concerns about one’s health. Suicidal thoughts are not uncommon.
Depressive disorders are classified in the following ways:
Major Depressive Disorders
These disorders are categorized as those in which there is a single episode and those disorders which are recurrent. These disorders are serious and the symptoms typically interfere with one’s capacity to function in life.
The severity of the symptoms are manifested by a disturbance in sleep ( either excessive sleeping or an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep); changes in appetite usually manifested by a decrement in appetite and a loss of weight, an inability to work and often difficulty in performing simple tasks and an inability to experience pleasure.
One’s dominant mood is that of sadness, hopelessness and despair. Suicidal thoughts and attempts are not uncommon in this severe disorder. Hospitalization may be required for treatment and medication.
This form of depression, often called dysthymia, is long-termed in nature. This form of depression is not as disabling as a Major Depression but the symptoms lead an individual not to feel like their normal self. There are typically problems with the quality of sleep as well as a disturbance in appetite.
The predominant mood is that of sadness and the individual often wonders if life is worth living and if there is anything to look forward to.
Feelings of sadness, hopelessness and despair are common along with periods of tearfulness. There is a decreased ability to experience joy, happiness and contentment. Once again, the best mode of treatment is a combination of medication and online psychotherapy.
While. it is not uncommon for a woman to experience some degree of sadness following the birth of their child, longer termed depression following birth is called postpartum depression.
While hormonal changes may play some role in this type of depression, women with a prior history of depression are more susceptible. Situational factors such as problems with one’s spouse of a general lack of support can also play a contributing role.
The symptoms usually occur within six months after the child’s birth. Online individual counselling, either only with the mum or online couples counselling with both parents is often helpful. Medication may also be required
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
This form of depression seems to be related to the amount of natural sunlight that the individual experiences. It is most prominent during the winter months and tends to dissipate as spring approaches and the days are longer. Because the amount of available sunlight plays a causative role, treatment with an available light source is often helpful. In most cases, however, anti-depression medication also needed.
Paradoxically, some seasonal depression is triggered during the summer months. As with other forms of depression, online therapy and medication are the best treatment options.
Bipolar Disorder was formerly called Manic Depressive Disorder. It is characterized by periods of elevated mood, the manic phase of the illness, sometimes followed by periods of depression. There is no clear consensus on how many types of bipolar disorders exist and the current Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM IV).
The disorder is differentiated between Bipolar I and Bipolar II Disorder, which relate to the severity of the disorder. The categories are further broken down into the most recent episode, whether it is manic, depressive or mixed (both manic and depressive).
These medications address brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. When these medications are successful, the individual feels like their “normal” self. They do not feel that they are on medication. Unfortunately, trials of different medications are often needed. Some individuals feel over-medicated, experiencing lethargy and sluggishness. These medications need at least two to three weeks for them to be effective. They must be taken on a regular basis, even though the patient doesn’t feel depressed.
There is a great deal of concern for those depressed individuals who should be on medication but are resistant to taking it. The concern is that these people may resort to the abuse of alcohol to get relief for their symptoms. While this may provide short term relief, alcohol often produces a greater degree of depression.