In one of my previous articles, I covered the different types of Depression, and now let’s dive into major depressive disorder, also known as clinical Depression. Major Depression seems to run in some families from generation to generation, but it can also affect people who have no family history of the illness. A persistent feeling of hopelessness and despair is a sign that you may be suffering from this type of Depression. With severe Depression, it can be challenging to work, study, sleep, eat, and even enjoy activities with friends. Clinical Depression is characterized by a low mood for most of the day, especially in the morning, and a loss of interest in normal activities and relationships. Some people have had clinical Depression only once in their lives, while others have had it several times. It can affect people of any age or gender, including children.
To be diagnosed with clinical Depression, you must have five or more of these symptoms within two weeks. At least one of the symptoms must be depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the guide used to diagnose mental illness in the United States. These symptoms can include
Fatigue or loss of energy almost every day.
Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
Poor concentration and indecisiveness.
Insomnia or lack of sleep (too much sleep) almost every day
Loss of interest or pleasure in most activities
Restlessness or dullness of the senses
Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.
Significant weight loss or gain (weight change of more than 5% in a month)
Subtypes of Major Depressive Disorder
Five common subtypes of clinical Depression and their characteristics.
Atypical Depression: The three main components include excessive sleepiness (insomnia), a deep fear of personal rejection, and a tendency to come out of a depressive state when something good happens.
Melancholic Depression. Melancholic Depression is a classic biological Depression and is a very distressing condition. It can have a monophasic or biphasic course. The person is known to have different moods and is unhappy with everything they do.
Postnatal Depression: a common type of Depression experienced by women after giving birth, also known as postnatal Depression.
Seasonal Affective Disorder. It usually begins in the fall or winter and ends in the spring or early summer. Affected individuals are thought to react negatively to the reduced amount of sunlight and lower temperatures in the fall and winter seasons. Although seasonal affective disorder usually occurs in the fall and winter, some people also suffer from this condition in the summer. In addition, a rare form of SAD known as “summer depression” begins in late spring or early summer and ends in the fall.
Catatonic Depression: a rare type of major depressive disorder with symptoms that include complete nonverbal, immobility, and visual fixation; this may indicate schizophrenia.
Symptoms of clinical Depression are usually treated with psychological counseling, antidepressant medications, or a combination of both. Many cases of Depression can be managed with psychotherapy alone. Working with a sympathetic psychiatrist may be all a patient needs to keep an episode at bay or reduce its severity. However, it has been widely recognized that certain antidepressants can trigger suicidal thoughts in certain individuals, so some trial and error may be involved like any other powerful drug. In the most severe cases of clinical Depression, showing delusions and hallucinations, and were both medication and talk therapy have failed, electroconvulsive therapy is sometimes used as a last resort.