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What Is Depression?
Depression is a disorder that is characterized by sadness, loss of interest, and feelings of hopelessness. There are many different types of depression and each presents with different symptoms, and each individual experiences their depression differently. When someone has a depression disorder, it will affect their everyday life, their relationships, and work or school performance.
Symptoms of Depression
- Lack of energy
- Inability to concentrate
- Feelings of guilt, helplessness, anxiety, or emptiness
- Insomnia or excessive sleeping
- Changes in appetite
- Weight loss or gain
- Lack of interest and pleasure in activities they used to enjoy
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Common Types of Depression
Depression comes in many forms. Some types are caused by biological factors while others are a result of a traumatic event. These are some of the most common types of depression.
Major Depression Disorder
- Major Depression Disorder, or MDD, is characterized by a depressed mood, lack of interest, changes in weight, fatigue, changes in sleep, and feelings of worthlessness or guilt.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
- Seasonal Affective Disorder also known as Major Depression Disorder with Seasonal Pattern, is caused by the loss of daylight that occurs in the winter. Individuals with SAD will often experience the same symptoms as Major Depression Disorder, but only during the winter months.
Persistent Depressive Disorder
- Persistent Depressive Disorder, also known as dysthymia, causes symptoms such as anger and irritability, feelings of guilt, sadness, loss of interest, fatigue, and others similar to that of Major Depression Disorder. This type of depression lasts for at least two years. The individual may experience happier days or even weeks, but never for more than two consecutive months. The symptoms may be mild, moderate, or severe.
- Bipolar Disorder is characterized by periods of elevated moods known as mania followed by major episodes of depression. These are not just average feelings of happiness or sadness that everybody experiences. They are extreme and can sometimes require hospitalization.
- Psychotic Depression is characterized by delusions and sometimes even hallucinations. People suffering from psychosis typically experience false beliefs and a detachment from reality.
- Postpartum Depression is unique to women. It occurs after a mother has given birth and is usually caused by readjusting hormone levels. Although it's a result of giving birth, Postpartum Depression can last for months or even years in some cases.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder is characterized by many of the same symptoms as PMS, but more mood-related. Individuals will experience fatigue, irritability, food cravings, feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, and more.
- Atypical Depression occurs when someone experiences signs of depression, but their mood can lift with a positive event or situation. An individual with Atypical Depression will suffer from symptoms such as excessive eating, weight gain, sensitivity to rejection, strongly reactive moods, fatigue, and excessive sleeping.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a healthy part of everyday life for most. It’s completely normal to feel a bit nervous or anxious before a big test, a job interview, or public speaking. However, for an individual that suffers from an anxiety disorder, it routinely interrupts their daily life. Someone with an anxiety order often finds themselves avoiding triggers. So, instead of preparing for situations like tests and job interviews, they find themselves avoiding them altogether, no matter the impact it has on their life.
The American Psychological Association, or the APA, defines anxiety as, “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure.” People who suffer from anxiety don’t just feel worried, but they also suffer from physical symptoms.
Symptoms of Anxiety
There are many types of anxiety disorders and each type can cause different symptoms. In addition, two individuals with the same anxiety disorder can suffer from different symptoms. Each person experiences their anxiety disorder in a way that is unique to them, but most suffer from a range of these particular symptoms:
- Uncontrollable feelings of worry, panic, or fear
- Difficulty concentrating
- Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
- Feelings of being on-edge
- Shortness of Breath
- Chest pains
Most Common Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders are characterized by how they interrupt an individual’s everyday life. A person with a disorder will oftentimes avoid situations that have caused anxiety for them in the past. This avoidance could even negatively impact their life, but the anxiety or fear of anxiety proves stronger. Each type of anxiety disorder presents itself differently. For example, social anxiety is characterized by anxiety in groups, while specific phobias are triggered by certain situations or objects.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder is characterized by chronic irrational worry and tension. Individuals with generalized anxiety disorder worry about many aspects of everyday life including work, health, family, financial issues, and more.
- An individual who suffers from panic disorder will experience panic attacks characterized by intense, overwhelming feelings of anxiety that have physical effects including shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, and chest pain. Symptoms can oftentimes feel like a heart attack.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, consists of irrational and intrusive thoughts and fears. An individual with OCD will try to relieve these thoughts and fears by carrying out certain behaviors or rituals.
Social Anxiety Disorder
- An individual with social anxiety disorder will suffer from an intense fear of being judged or criticized in every day public situations.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, affects someone who has experienced a traumatic event. Symptoms can include nightmares, flashbacks, difficulty relaxing, and the avoidance of anything that might trigger symptoms.
- When an individual suffers from a specific phobia, they are fearful of a particular object or situation. Examples include fear of heights, enclosed spaces, or spiders.
“There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why.”
Today you can begin to get on the road to health. Start by reaching out to our new patient coordinator.