This blog describes the typical symptoms of depression – which can range from relatively minor to severe – so you know what to look out for if you think you, or a loved one, might be depressed. It also outlines the 6 most common types of depression that can affect anyone at any time.
What is depression?
Do you feel constantly depressed? If so, you are not alone. Depression is a common mental health disorder affecting more than 264 million people worldwide. Everyone goes through periods of feeling down, but depression is different. According to the World Health Organization “it is characterized by persistent sadness and a lack of interest or pleasure in previously rewarding or enjoyable activities.”
When you are permanently unhappy, things may feel like they will never change. But you don’t have to live with depression. People can and do recover completely. At Kindbridge, our highly-trained therapists use the latest evidence-based practices to deliver the most effective treatment for depression and any co-occurring mental health problems.
What are the symptoms of depression?
There are many symptoms of depression. How intense they are – and how long they last – varies from person to person. However, when these symptoms become overwhelming, cause physical problems, and stop you from leading a normal, active life, it is time to seek professional help.
Here are some of the most common psychological and physical signs of depression to look out for:
Psychological symptoms of depression
- Constantly feeling sad and gloomy
- Irritable, agitated and restless
- Dark moods or mood swings
- Low self-esteem or feelings of inadequacy
- Struggling to do normal activities
- Lack of interest in things you used to enjoy
- Feeling hopeless or helpless
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Unable to feel joy, even at happy occasions
- Thinking of harming yourself or others.
Physical signs of depression
- Appetite or weight changes
- Inability to concentrate or make decisions
- Aching muscles and joints
- Disrupted sleep (too much or too little)
- Lack of energy
- Chest pain
- Gastrointestinal problems
- High blood pressure
- Weakened immune system.
Causes of depression
There is no single cause of depression. It can occur at different times for a variety of reasons. Many things can trigger depressive symptoms such as an upsetting or stressful life event including bereavement, relationship breakdown, illness, redundancy, money worries or giving birth.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, there is a high degree of heritability (approximately 40%) when first-degree relatives (parents/children/siblings) have depression. The COURAGE study in Europe found that depression is more common in people who live in difficult social and economic circumstances.
Types of depression
Depression can manifest itself in different ways. It can range from mild to severe and be short-lived or chronic. The most common types of depression are listed below:
Major depression is a severe form of depression that negatively affects how you feel, think and act. People experience symptoms most of the time for two weeks or more. Also known as major depressive disorder.
Persistent depression is continuous mild depression that lasts for two years or more. It might not feel as intense as major depression but can still make life very difficult. People with this condition may also have bouts of major depression at times. Also known as chronic depression or dysthymia.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is depression that occurs at a particular time of year, or during a particular season. For most sufferers, it tends to happen during the winter. Also known as seasonal depression.
Adjustment disorder is brought on by a traumatic event, such as the death of a loved one, serious illness, divorce or job loss. It is normal to feel sad when faced with a major life change but adjustment disorder occurs when a person struggles to come to terms with it. Also known as situational depression.
Prenatal depression occurs during pregnancy. The condition makes the mother-to-be feel constantly sad for weeks or months. It can vary from mild to severe. Also known as antenatal depression and perinatal depression.
Postnatal depression (PND)
Postnatal depression occurs anytime in the first year after giving birth. It can affect men and women. Symptoms include a persistent feeling of sadness, lack of energy and difficulty bonding with the baby.
Get help for depression
We can all feel out of sorts for a few days or weeks, but if you are feeling constantly depressed and it is negatively affecting your life, it is time to seek professional support.
We know that reaching out for therapy can be daunting, especially if it is your first time. At Kindbridge, our personalized approach means you, or a loved one, will be guided through the different stages of therapy from your first contact with us. We will work with you to set and achieve goals that regain your emotional well-being and get your life back on track.
Our therapy for depression offers a high level of confidentiality and flexibility. Experienced counselors can provide different online options – individual, couples, family and group therapy – accessible from any location. Contact us to book a free 30-minute consultation for you or a loved one.