Are You Experiencing Depression?
Feelings of sadness, anger and agitation are a completely normal part of the human experience. But if these feelings persist for more than two weeks and are interfering with your ability to carry out your daily activities, than you may have depression. Not everyone experiences depression in the exact same way.
In many cases, depression doesn’t disappear on its own, so if you consistently experience two or more of the following symptoms, it may be time to speak with a professional:
- Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, emptiness and/or worthlessness
- Persistent irritability, anger, agitation and/or negativity
- Difficulty concentrating and/or making decisions
- Unexplained fatigue
- Loss of energy
- Avoiding responsibilities
- Excessive anxiety and restlessness
- Change in appetite (overeating or not eating enough)
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Significant weight loss or weight gain
- Loss of interest in activities normally enjoyed
- Lack of motivation
- Thoughts of self harm, suicide or wishing to be dead
Types of DepressionNot only does depression affect different people in different ways, there are also different types of depression. The most recognized categories are:
- Acute: Also labeled as major depression, major depressive disorder or simply depression, acute depression is an illness characterized by low mood and/or loss of interest in normal activities (plus an assortment of other possible symptoms) for a period of two weeks or longer. An episode of acute depression can be a one-time thing but commonly, a person will have several episodes over their lifetime.
- Chronic: An episode of depression that lasts two years or longer is categorized as chronic depression or persistent depressive disorder.
- Psychotic: This type of depression is characterized by the same types of symptoms found in acute depression but are combined with some form of psychosis, such as hallucinations or delusions.
- Postpartum: More than just “baby blues,” postpartum depression is experienced by 3-6 per cent of mothers following childbirth. It arises due to a combination of hormonal changes, fatigue and the psychological adjustments needed to adapt to motherhood.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): This type of depression occurs during the long, dark winter months we’re all too familiar with in Thunder Bay. Lack of natural sunlight is the primary cause of SAD, with symptoms disappearing in spring thanks to the onset of longer, brighter days.
- Bipolar Disorder: Bipolar disorder is in fact a very different type of illness than depression. However, those who have the illness do experience episodes of extreme low mood that are akin to depression, in addition to periods of extreme high mood.