Whether it’s happening to you or someone you love, depression can be upsetting. Understanding the different types of depression, as well as available treatment, is an important step towards returning to balance.
The six types of depression
1. Situational depression – This is when a person has something going on in their environment that’s causing them to have symptoms of depression, such as death, the end of a marriage, or something else that’s happening in their life.
2. Dysthymia – With dysthymia, over time someone’s typical way of feeling and being is lowered. There’s more sadness and discontentment, and even when they are happy they appear more subdued or flatter than what most people would consider happy. They become content with this lower level and don’t recognize that anything is wrong. This becomes their “normal.”
3. Mild depression
4. Moderate depression
5. Severe depression
With mild, moderate and severe depression, people exhibit the following symptoms at increasing levels of intensity, duration and frequency.
Symptoms of depression
- Lack of motivation
- Sleeping too much, or can’t sleep (insomnia)
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Loss of interest in things
- Difficulty making decisions
- Hard time concentrating
- Memory problems
- Suicidal thoughts
6. Clinical depression – This is when someone struggles with depression for long periods of time. For some of our clients at Family TLC, this has been a life-long challenge. Their symptoms are severe and debilitating, and negatively impact every area of life.
It’s a frustrating cycle that the symptoms of depression can make it hard to get over the symptoms of depression. If you lack motivation and have trouble making decisions, you’ll have trouble implementing some of the lifestyle changes that can help improve your mood.
That may be why so many people end up on anti-depressant medications. A CBC radio show reported the alarming statistic that 265 million prescriptions were written for anti-depressants in 2011 in the United States.
As many of our clients have told us, being on anti-depressants can make you feel flat, like a subdued version of the real you. It’s not as unpleasant as the full-blown depression, but it’s definitely not how they want to feel.
For some people, particularly those with clinical depression, anti-depressants can literally be a lifesaver. Yet for people with the other five types of depression listed above, anti-depressant medications can be better used as a springboard to other therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
The drugs are not designed for people to stay on for life. Instead, it is hoped that the medication will alleviate the symptoms of the depression long enough for you to build up momentum with a different treatment method.
Depending on the type of depression, you can work with a professional counsellor or therapist to learn how to change your life habits, thoughts and behaviours, so you can improve your mood without the need for long-term anti-depressants.
P.S. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is based on the philosophy that if you change your thoughts and/or change your behaviours, you can change the way you feel. It has been researched and proven to have a positive impact on the symptoms of depression.