Depression Around You: See, Spot, Help

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Depression does not discriminate or differentiate. It can affect anyone around us thus it is our responsibility to know and be aware of the conditions and specific symptoms of the different types of depressive disorders. In certain cases symptoms can be quite hard to pick up as they range from relatively minor to very severe. In this article we will look at the different types of depressive disorders and how they affect the people around you.

1. Clinical depression

This depressive disorder is more commonly known as depression.

Symptoms: It’s normally characterised by a general low mood and/or loss of interest and pleasure in usual activities. These symptoms can range from days to weeks. Such symptoms can interfere with the work and social aspect of one’s life. Depression can be mild, moderate or severe.

2. Melancholic depression

This describes a severe form of depression where it affects the patient’s physical capabilities.

Symptoms: Besides having an extreme depressed mood (that is displayed by a complete loss of pleasure in everything), the patient will also start to move very slowly.

3. Psychotic depression

This describes depressive patients that lose touch with reality and start experiencing psychosis. Psychosis is a mental health problem that causes people to perceive of interpret things differently from those around them.

Symptoms: This might involve hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there) or delusions (falsely believing that things exist when they don’t). Patients can be paranoid or start believing that they are being watched or followed.  They also generally feel that everyone is against them or that they are the cause of bad events happening around them.

4. Antenatal and postnatal depression

This describes women who are depressed during pregnancy (prenatal) and in the year following childbirth (postnatal). Up to 80 percent of women are affected by “baby blues” in the days following a baby’s birth due to the hormonal changes happening in a woman’s body. Baby blues, a result from adjusting to a new baby, are common experiences. However it is important to note that this is different from depression.

Symptoms: Mothers with newborns might feel anxious and a bit down within the first week of giving birth. If these symptoms last longer, you could have postnatal depression. Postnatal depression can start any time in the first year after giving birth. New mothers with post natal depression might feel sad persistently, with a general lack of energy. Often, they have difficulties concentrating and making decisions. A task that used to take 15 minutes to finish might take twice the time or longer. They often have difficulty bonding with their baby, and stay up all night because they are worried and they can’t sleep. Relationships with people around her will also be affected.

5. Bipolar disorder

This disorder used to be known as “manic depression” because the person experiences periods of depression and periods of mania in between periods of normal mood. It is common for bipolar disorder patients to be misdiagnosed or undiagnosed as episodes of mania can be hard to detect. If you are experiencing highs and lows over a prolonged period, it is important to make this clear to your doctor.

Symptoms: Bipolar patients may look normal on the outside, but their mood fluctuates from being depressed to being normal to being manic (might not necessarily be in this order). Mania is the opposite of depression and can vary from individuals—symptoms include having lots of energy along with racing thoughts, with little need for sleep. Despite feeling great, patients experiencing mania have extreme difficulties focusing on tasks and constantly feel frustrated and are easy irritated. This experience isn’t fleeting and the person will eventually lose touch with reality and have periods of psychosis.

It is also important to know that depression is treatable and a wide range of treatments are available. We also shouldn’t let society’s stigma on depression affect the way we see or behave around depressive patients. Remember, the earlier you seek support, the better.

Written by: Evelyn

Sources: NHS, beyongblue.org.au

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