The symptoms of each type of depression are as follows:
Major depression is one of the most commonly experienced types of depression. A recent study showed that around 7% of the U.S. population struggles with major depression. The more common symptoms of major depression include lack of energy, fatigue, extreme and unexplainable sadness, changes in sleeping patterns, agitation and irritability. In most cases, these symptoms will come on suddenly and will last for two or more weeks. If major depression is left untreated by a psychiatric professional, the symptoms will continue to crop up suddenly and unexpectedly.
Symptoms of dysthymia are more mild than symptoms of major depression, though they last for a significantly longer period of time. Those who experience this type of depression will feel gloomy and sad for at least a year. Typically, symptoms will last for over two years. Dysthymia is a chronic depressive disorder, and if it is not adequately treated then it can lead to a host of other issues such as major depression and substance abuse. Individuals who suffer from dysthymia may turn to drugs and alcohol as a means of self-medication, though it is important to realize that while symptoms might be temporarily reduced, they will only be exacerbated in the long-term.
Those who suffer from an atypical depressive disorder will feel symptoms of depression like sadness and fatigue, though these symptoms might be situationally compromised. Essentially, this means that mood can be changed and happiness can be felt if the individual hears good news or experiences something pleasant. This is unusual in the sense that where other depressive disorders are concerned, mood cannot easily be changed. During the periods of depression, those suffering from an atypical disorder are more likely to engage in suicidal thoughts and self-destructive behaviors because life may feel as if it is not worth living. During these low periods it isn’t uncommon for individuals to turn to chemical substances. However, substance abuse will only lead to long-term behavioral issues and even further emotional damage.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal depression is very common in “gloomy” regions; places that experience long stints of dark and stormy weather. This type of depression is more common in the wintertime and is directly related to levels of light. Some symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) include changes to sleeping patterns, anxiety, changes in mood, and changes in weight often linked to overeating. In order for an individual to be diagnosed with SAD, he or she must exhibit the above-listed symptoms for three or more winters in a row. Substance abuse is a common result of untreated SAD.