Major Depression is also called Clinical Depression or Major Depressive Disorder. This type can happen to anyone and any age. It’s debilitating, impacting someone’s ability to do even the most basic daily activities. This isn’t just ‘a mood’. There are strong feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness. The sufferer’s view of who they are is dominated by guilt, self-blame, and shame. Notably, there can also be thoughts of suicide.
The person can feel lonely and disconnected from other people. Yet, have little interest in being around others. And they can find being around others too stressful or exhausting. Thus, they self-isolate as a way to cope. Sufferers can feel sad and tearful or agitated and angry. They can be easily annoyed and frustrated with small problems. Similarly, they can be completely discouraged by minor challenges. In fact, some individuals struggle with anxiety or become completely impassive. Clinical depression disrupts sleep. Some sufferers oversleep while others have difficulty sleeping at all. Due to the lack of energy, even small tasks can seem exhausting.
And, this illness disrupts appetite. Some people experience a complete loss of appetite, while others have cravings for specific foods, like junk food. There’s a loss of interest in things and an inability to experience joy or pleasure. Brain activity slows, making concentration and focus difficult—the ability to retain information and remember things decreases. As difficult as this type of depression can be, the latest research shows that the most effective treatment for clinical depression is anti-depressant medication combined with counselling.
Persistent Depression, Dysthymia, or Persistent Depressive Disorder is chronic and lasts several years. There are breaks in the depression lasting from several weeks to a few months. Symptoms are similar to clinical depression but less intense.
Dysthymia can fluctuate in intensity from mild, moderate to severe. However, this type can have episodes of clinical depression, sometimes called “double depression.”
As with Chronic Depression, the latest research shows that the most effective treatment for Persistent Depression is anti-depressant medication combined with counselling.
Seasonal Depression which is also referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD occurs seasonally. In the northern countries, this begins with the coming of winter and the decrease in hours of sunlight, increased cold weather, and a decrease in outdoor social activities.
Sufferers can notice a decrease in mood starting in the fall. For some, the symptoms deepen in winter. And with the coming of spring and an increase in daylight hours, SAD symptoms subside.
Symptoms are similar to persistent depression, but symptoms vary from person to person. From low energy, poor sleep, and irritability to more severe symptoms of SAD consistent with clinical depression.
Light therapy, with lights that reproduce the blue-white spectrum of light that mimics the sun-lit sky, along with medication and psychotherapy is an effective treatment.
Often, Situational Depression occurs after a significant life event or serious hardship. Things such as the loss of a loved one, a major injury or illness, financial loss, or divorce could cause this form of depression in some people.
The symptoms tend to start within a few months of a significant event or loss. Some of these symptoms include:
- experience of intense grief
- bouts of crying
- feeling hopeless and despondent
- decreased energy and motivation
- social isolation and feeling of loneliness
- inability to find enjoyment in things that were previously pleasurable
- withdrawal from usual activities
- poor concentration, focus and memory
- suicidal thoughts or wishing ‘I was dead.’
It’s normal for anyone to experience some of these feelings on occasion. If you have any of these symptoms for an extended period, then they need attention. If these symptoms make it hard for you to live your life, then you may need to get help from a qualified therapist. We can help you resolve those problems with counselling for depression.