Background on Depression

Girl by the window

Feeling sadness and despair at some point in life is a typical emotion experienced by everyone. However, if these feelings become difficult to get rid of then this could be a sign of depression. Approximately 14.8 million people suffer from depression a year and only 10 percent seek help. If left untreated, depression can lead to not only physical damage, but also suicide.

Main Causes of Depression

  • Physical, sexual or emotional abuse.
  • Certain medications
  • Lack of support or loneliness
  • Grief from the death of a loved one
  • A family history of depression that could be passed down from generation to generation.
  • Substance abuse
  • A new event in someone’s life such as buying a new house, getting married, starting a new job, etc.
  • Stressful conflicts and issues

Types of Depression

  • Major Depression.This type of depression is the inability to sleep, eat, study and enjoy the pleasures of everyday life. Major depression is a reoccurring disorder that leads to a loss of interest. It could range from mild to severe and could last for six months if left untreated.
  • Atypical Depression. This is a subtype of Major depression. Although a person’s mood could be lifted due to positivity or good news, this is only temporary. Symptoms of Atypical depression include weight gain, oversleeping, sensitivity to rejection and fatigue.
  • Dysthymia (Chronic Depression).This form is considered “low-grade” depression that could last up to two years. Although people feel moderately depressed, they also have days where they feel perfectly normal. This type of depression is not as strong as Major depression, but people may experience Major depression while suffering from Dysthymia.
  • Bipolar (Manic) Depression.This type could range from feelings of depression to extreme manic episodes. Manic episodes include fast speech, little sleep and impulsive behavior. There are two types of Bipolar disorder. Bipolar I is when patients have one or more manic episodes without major depression. Bipolar II is when patients suffer from Major depression at one point in their lives and may suffer from a mild type of manic episode.
  • Seasonal Affective Depression (SAD). This type of depression occurs at the same time each year, mostly in the fall or winter when there is little to no sunlight.

Stigma of Depression

Although depression is a common mental disorder experienced by almost everyone, it still carries a social stigma today. Family and friends who have never experienced any type of long lasting depression are unable to help their loved one. Because of this, many people place a stigma on people suffering from depression and consider them to be "attention seekers." This social stigma placed on people suffering from depression may make them feel inadequate, unloved, shameful and even discriminated against.

Sources:

Depression Symptoms 101

Help Guide

Web MD

Better Your Health