Is all Depression the Same?
Outward appearances can be deceiving: you never know what is really going on in a person’s life. Even someone who has a loving family; a beautiful home; a fancy car; hordes of friends and a well-paying, satisfying career can suffer from depression. There is no singular reason why someone could experience inner feelings of sadness, darkness, hopelessness and lethargy – despite their outward smiles and maintenance of their perfect life. Depression does not discriminate. It can affect anyone at any time with varying levels of severity.
Types of Depression
There are different types of depression that can have temporary or long-lasting symptoms. Depression treatment in Spartanburg, SC, can help.
Situational Depression: certain events in our lives can create feelings of sadness, anxiety, exhaustion, insomnia, lack of concentration and even lead to physical ailments. The death of a loved one, learning you have a life-threatening illness, divorce, financial troubles, unemployment – these are all difficult situations that can take a toll on your mental health.
Seasonal Depression: as we get closer to winter and the days grow shorter, some people experience depression symptoms due to seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – although it can occur any time during the year. SAD may become more widespread this year, especially with COVID-19 isolation. This type of depression makes you want to sleep more often and withdrawal from social activities. It can also lead to weight gain and subsequent feelings of unworthiness.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PPMD): a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), this may be related to hormonal changes that occur around a woman’s menstrual cycle. In addition to normal physical symptoms of PMS such as cramps, bloating, headaches, etc., PPMD can cause extreme mood swings, anxiety, sadness, irritability, lack of energy and more. PPMD symptoms may go away as the menstrual cycle ends.
Perinatal or Postpartum Depression: most people have heard of new mothers suffering from bouts of depression after their baby is born. However, this type of depression can also affect women who are pregnant. At a time when people expect women to be excited about motherhood, this condition can cause uncontrolled feelings of sadness, anxiety, excessive worry and even anger or rage.
Chronic or Persistent Depression: ongoing feelings of sadness, hopelessness and inadequacy can morph into a lack of interest in activities, social withdrawal, low energy, sleep problems and difficulty functioning on a daily basis. If you find yourself unable to be happy – even when your life seems perfect and there are celebrations all around you – you may be suffering from this condition.
Major Depression: this form of depression can affect your life every day, all day. Life may feel like all gloom, worry and anxiety. It can lead to feelings of self-harm or suicide. It can affect your overall health, causing sleep and eating problems, physical aches and pains and a lack of energy. This is not something that you can just “snap out of” and there may be no obvious reason why you are experiencing such feelings.
Bipolar Disorder: similar to major depression, bipolar disorder causes alternating swings of mania (extreme happiness and energy) with extreme depression (sadness, suicidal thoughts, lethargy, lack of interest). Within this type of depression, there are different types of bipolar disorder, so it’s important to have this condition diagnosed and monitored by a physician. Severe cases can lead to hallucinations.
Depressive Psychosis: if your depression becomes extreme, you may suffer from hallucinations, causing you to experience sensations that are not real. You may hear voices, see images, feel objects or smell/taste things that others cannot see. Losing touch with reality is a serious form of depression.
If you or a loved one is experiencing any ongoing feelings of depression, realize that you are not alone. According to the World Health Organization, more than 264 million people globally – of all ages – suffer from depression. If your feelings are interrupting your daily life and causing you to withdrawal from society, seek medical help. This is nothing to be ashamed of – especially during these very difficult pandemic times.
The team at Westgate Family Physicians are family doctors in Spartanburg, SC, who can help diagnose depression and make treatment recommendations to help stabilize your moods and improve your quality of life. If you are concerned about depression in your life, please call (864) 574-0070 or click here to schedule an appointment.