May 23, 2024
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Depression is one of those mental illnesses that many don’t know much about. So there’s a misconception about the illness. Depression is at least partly hereditary, from my understanding. That it could be passed down from generation to generation. The same can be said about any type of mental illness. If you have a family member that was diagnosed with any type of mental illness then you have a higher chance of experiencing the same mental illness in the future. Keep in mind that not all depression is hereditary. Depression can be caused by environmental factors as well. Certain types of medications can cause depression. Stress can cause depression.

The stigma of depression

In the past depression and mental illness used to be looked down upon as something bad or evil. So these people were cast aside by the general public and forced into institutions for years at a time. For others, they try to hide that they are depressed, and suffer in silence.

Depression is a disease and a disability. It’s not a choice, and we can’t necessarily control it. Other chronic diseases like heart disease or arthritis aren’t looked down upon or stigmatized, so why is depression any different?

If you’re feeling depressed, remember that:

  • You can be beautiful and depressed.
  • You can be successful and depressed.
  • You can be young and depressed.
  • You can have everything going for you and still be depressed.

Types of Depression

There are four different types of depression that a person can be diagnosed with.

  • Major depression.
  • Persistent depressive disorder/Dysthymia
  • Postpartum Depression/Baby Blues.
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

Major depression

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is also called clinical depression. It is classified as a mental disorder. The characterization for MDD  is at least two weeks of pervasive low mood, low self-esteem, and loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities. Those who suffer from the major depressive disorder may also occasionally have delusions or hallucinations.

If you or someone you know is exhibiting symptoms of Major depressive disorder, seek medical attention immediately.

Symptoms

Although depression may occur only once during your lifetime, people typically have multiple episodes. During these episodes, symptoms occur most of the day, nearly every day, and may include:

Symptoms include:

  • Feelings of sadness
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Loss of interest/Lack of pleasure
  • Short temper
  • Irritation
  • Tiredness
  • Memory Loss
  • Sleep disorders
  • Crying uncontrollably
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss (sometimes weight gain)

Persistent Depressive Disorder

The persistent depressive disorder which is also known as dysthymia is a continuous long-term (chronic) form of depression. Those who suffer from this disorder may lose interest in normal daily activities, feel hopeless, lack productivity, and have low-self esteem. Sadly these feelings may last for years and may interfere with their relationships, school, work, and daily activities.

Symptoms

Symptoms of persistent depressive disorder can cause significant impairment and may include:

  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Sadness, emptiness, or feeling down
  • Hopelessness
  • Tiredness and lack of energy
  • Low self-esteem, self-criticism, or feeling incapable
  • Trouble concentrating and trouble making decisions
  • Irritability or excessive anger
  • Decreased activity, effectiveness, and productivity
  • Avoidance of social activities
  • Feelings of guilt and worries over the past
  • Poor appetite or overeating
  • Sleep problems

In children, symptoms of persistent depressive disorder may include depressed mood and irritability.

Postpartum Depression

A mood disorder or depression occurs in mothers after the birth of a baby. Usually, this will be a short-term disorder.

Symptoms

Though symptoms are most commonly seen in the first few weeks after birth, they can occur anytime within the first year. Emotional, behavioral, and cognitive changes may be caused.

  • The feeling of sadness and anxiety
  • Sleeping a lot or too less
  • Eating too less or too much
  • Unexplained aches, pain, or illness
  • Anxiety, irritation, or anger for no reason
  • Sudden mood changes
  • Poor concentration
  • Difficulty in remembering things
  • Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, and hopelessness
  • Recurrent thoughts of death and suicide
  • Lack of pleasure in things that were earlier enjoyable
  • Feeling disconnected from the baby

Seasonal affective disorder

A type of mood disorder associated with seasonal changes. Commonly seen as depression arising during the winter months. It happens due to a disturbance in the circadian system of the body.

Symptoms

Most cases of SAD begin during late fall or early winter and go away during spring or summer. Some cases may be reported during spring and summer. Winter SAD and summer SAD show similar and different symptoms including

  • Feeling depressed on most of the days, during the season
  • Sadness
  • Reduced energy
  • Loss of concentration and interest in activities
  • Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
  • Trouble sleeping/oversleeping
  • Nausea, loss of appetite/craving for fatty or carbohydrate-rich foods
  • Weight loss/weight gain
  • Suicidal thoughts

Conclusion

Depression is a serious illness that can affect both men and women, young and old. It can happen at any time in a person’s life. Many are lucky that they have never had an issue with depression. Some are able to get over depression while others have a long time effect. Regardless of the timeframe, we should not joke about this mental illness. We should try to reach out to the ones that need help.

If you are experiencing new, severe, or persistent symptoms, contact a health care provider.

 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255