We often hear the term "Depression" as it's frequently used to describe a mood or emotion. The joyless sadness of depression hardly needs description, so common is its part in the human condition. In technical terms it is described as a symptom of a syndrome or psychological disorder and only the duration separates the mood from the symptom. When this feeling of depression is present consistently for long periods of time it is considered a symptom of a depressive disorder.
There is a long tradition of categorizing depression into types, and there are a number of diagnostic schemes currently in use. The DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) has long been the predominant diagnostic framework used by psychologists and psychiatrists in North America now for several decades.
This is what people have in mind when referring to "clinical depression." When the symptoms of depression are present and significant for most of the day, at least, and for a minimum of 2 weeks, they may have a Major Depression. This category of depression is further divided into Major Depressive Disorder Single Episode and Recurrent subtypes.
This is a generally milder, but more enduring type of depression. While Sufferers may not exhibit their symptoms every day, but rather on most days for a period of at least two years.
Formerly known as Manic Depression, in Bipolar disorder, individuals either alternate depressive lows with manic or hypomanic up-swings, or experience a so-called "mixed mood states" where they exhibit features of depression and mania at the same time.
Adjustment Disorder with Depressed Mood
Formerly recognized as "reactive depression," this is a depressive response to a life stress that is more severe than expected for the type of stress experienced.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Often discussed in the media as if it is a unique disorder, this is a variation of either depression or bipolar disorder where the episodes coincide with seasonal changes.
This is a variation of Major Depression where, with increased severity, psychotic symptoms (e.g., hallucinations, delusions) are exhibited.
Another variation of Major Depression that is precipitated by childbirth in women. While not usually applied to men, a post-partum reaction among new fathers might be better accounted for as an adjustment disorder, or understood in terms of "separation anxiety."
While some are less affected by depression others may suffer greatly. We hope this article provided some insight about various disorders and if do suffer from any of these don't hesitate to a qualified professional for assistance.
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