Depression: Forms, Causes & Symptoms

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Depression is an all-encompassing illness that affects your day-to-day life, body, mood, and thoughts.

What is Depression?

It is a common mood disorder that affects millions of people around the world. While feeling sad or depressed sometimes is perfectly normal in times of loss or struggle, intense sadness that lasts for weeks to months can be diagnosed as having clinical depression. Unfortunately, depression is a treatable condition that often goes untreated.

Forms

There are several forms of depression and some of them include the following:

  • Major depressive disorder: It affects how you think, feel, and behave. This type disables the person and hampers normal functioning.
  • Dysthymic disorder or dysthymia: This type is long-term, but may not be disabling to a person suffering from it. People suffering from dysthymia may also experience major depression in their lives.
  • Bipolar disorder: This is a manic-depressive illness wherein one sees cyclic mood changes from extreme highs to extreme lows.

There are other forms of depression, including:

  • Psychotic depression: People suffering from this condition also normally have some form of psychosis.
  • Postpartum depression: It is experienced by women after giving birth.
  • Seasonal affective disorder: It usually begins during the winter when there is less natural sunlight.

Causes

Factors linked to depression include hereditary, biological, and environmental factors, as well as significant life events, such as physical illness, the loss of a loved one, or the loss of a job. Also linked are certain medications, alcohol, drug abuse, diet, or having a baby (as well as other hormonal fluctuations). These biological causes of depression may be attributed to disturbances in neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers in the brain, although we are yet to learn much about the biochemical causes.

Hormones in the body are also among the reasons in young adults. The hormonal changes due to menopause, thyroid problems, or a number of other medical conditions may trigger the condition.

Symptoms

The symptoms of depression can vary for different people. Some of the common symptoms include:

  • Loss of interest in performing normal day-to-today activities
  • Insomnia, excessive sleeping, and sleep disturbances
  • Irritability and bursting out regularly
  • Increase or decrease in appetite
  • Low energy and restlessness
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Sadness and empty feelings for prolonged periods of time
  • Slow speaking, slow body movements, and slow thinking
  • Reduction in concentration
  • Oppressive feeling of despair and despondency
  • Sense of hopelessness
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Negative thoughts.

Depressed people find it difficult to make even the simplest decisions. Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain and headaches might also be seen. Depressed people may also have difficulty in maintaining normal relationships. Proper treatment can offer relief for most people who suffer from this potentially debilitating condition.

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