Knowing Your Depression

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Mental Health

More than 350 million people globally are affected by depression. While it’s normal to be sad and have tearful moments on occasion, it can evolve into a disorder. Experiencing a loss of interest in activities that you used to enjoy and changes in sleep and appetite patterns for a period greater than six months are symptoms of depression.

Depression is a very complex disorder that has multiple degrees of severity. Knowing which type of depression you might have is important to recovering.

Major Depression

Major depression is the most commonly diagnosed depression. Symptoms include extreme sadness, lack of energy, difficulty concentrating and changes in sleep and eating habits. Those with major depression often experience a rollercoaster ride between feeling better and worse.

Dysthymia

People with dysthymia experience a more chronic depression. Dysthymia allows for a more functional way of living coupled with a higher sense of hopelessness. Those with dysthymia can be cheered up by others, but experience more self-esteem issues. Dysthymia tends to be a hidden and pervasive form of depression.

Bereavement

It’s normal and understandable to grieve the loss of a loved one, but it can develop into something serious. Grieving prolonged past six months, which prevents the person from functioning and living daily life is known as complicated bereavement.

Atypical Depression

Atypical depression is a common depression that goes underdiagnosed. Heaviness in the arms and legs, excessive sleeping and an increased appetite coupled with irregular, unhealthy eating habits are signs of atypical depression.

Postpartum Depression

A large number of new moms feel a serious sadness after their baby is born for various reasons. Serious symptoms such as fatigue, hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, fears about hurting the baby and a feeling of disconnect from their child may occur.

Bipolar Depression

People often go undiagnosed with bipolar illness, and instead of simply being depressed, may be in the depressive state of their bipolar illness. Symptoms for bipolar depression align with those of major depression, with the exception of a past experience of manic or hypomanic episodes. 

Psychotic Depression

Psychosis is a severe mental disorder in which thought and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with external reality. Psychosis can develop into a depressive state where an individual becomes catatonic and unresponsive.

Depression due to a History of Substance Abuse

Drugs can induce depression in an individual even after they’ve been drug-free for some time. For example, meth tends to burn out dopamine receptors which are required to feel happy and instill motivation. If an individual has done an excessive amount of meth, it can lead to chronic depressive feelings, regardless if that individual has been clean from drug-use for years.

Getting Help

Although stigmas associated with depression can prevent individuals from receiving care, symptoms can be severe. If you, or someone you know, suffers from depression, it’s best to seek immediate help.

The MemorialCare Center for Mental Health & Wellness at Community Hospital Long Beach offers treatment for individuals suffering with mental illnesses. For more information, visit MemorialCare.org/MentalHealth.

Azad P. Kurkjian, MD
Featured physician:

A. Paul Kurkjian, MD

Medical Director, MemorialCare Center for Mental Health & Wellness, Community Medical Center Long Beach
Specialties:
  • Psychiatry - Pediatric, Psychiatry