Dr. Srivastava, a renowned psychiatrist practising in New Delhi, comes across at least 5 to 10 patient of depression each day. Being a doctor he knows that depression can be of various types. In fact each of his patient each day suffer from a different type of depression. He often tells family members of his patients to be aware of these types to help the distressed person.
Depression can take several forms. It can be a mild spell of a few weeks to a series of severe and persistent bouts for a long period, sometimes lifelong. Depression controls the way a person feels, things and behaves. Knowing its variants help us understand the affected person and be empathic towards them.
Major depression takes place when a person has five or more symptoms mentioned below on most days for at least two weeks.
- Loss of interest or pleasure in your activities
- Weight loss or gain
- Trouble getting to sleep or feeling sleepy during the day
- A sense of restless and agitated, or else very sluggish and slowed down physically or mentally
- Feeling tired and without energy
- Poor self esteem
- Not being able to concentrate or take decision
- Thoughts of suicide
Persistent Depressive Disorder
If the depression last for two years or more it is termed as Persistent Depressive Disorder. This term includes two conditions low-grade persistent depression (previously known as dysthymia) and chronic major depression. The symptoms are:
- Change in appetite (not eating enough or overeating)
- Sleep too much or too little
- Lack of energy, or fatigue
- Low self-esteem
- Trouble concentrating or making decisions
- Feeling hopeless
Bipolar Disorder or Manic Depression
A person suffering from bipolar disorder will experience mood swings that range from extremes of high energy with an “up” mood to low “depressive” periods. During the low phase the person will have symptoms of major depression. Famous artists Vincent van Gogh suffered from this type of depression his entire life. Scientist Issac Newton also showed symptoms of bipolar disorder.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Such type of depression takes place in a particular season, say winter and goes away with the season. It may also take place after a major event in life. American swimmer Michael Phelp suffered from depression which used to take place after each Olympics.
When major depression is associated with Psychotic symptoms including hallucination, delusions and paranoia, it is known as Psychotic depression. Hallucination is seeing or hearing things that are not present there. Delusion is having false beliefs and paranoia is fear of being harmed by others.
If a person is suffering from depression arising out of life events such as death of family member, divorce, lose of job or any untoward incident of life, it is termed as stress response syndrome or commonly called situational depression. famous personality Oprah Winfrey admittedly suffered form such condition.
It is a pattern of depressive symptoms. Symptoms are:
- Increased appetite
- Sleeping more than usual
- Feeling of heaviness in your arms and legs
- Oversensitive to criticism
Each type of depression needs to be dealt with separately with different lines of treatment. Moreover, each patient suffering from depression is unique and needs keen attention of the doctor and his or her family and friends.