While it is natural to feel sad or low at times, these feelings typically dissipate in time. When these feelings persist or affect our ability to function, depression could be the cause.
To be diagnosed with depression, symptoms must present for at least two weeks. Forms of depression can differ or develop under unique circumstances. These can include:
- Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia) – A depressed mood that lasts for at least two years
- Postpartum Depression – Symptoms of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion experienced by many women during pregnancy or after delivery.
- Psychotic Depression – Symptoms of severe depression coupled with some form of psychosis (delusions or hallucinations).
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – The recurrent onset of depression during winter months, due to less natural sunlight. Symptoms include social withdrawal, increased sleep, and weight gain. Depression generally lifts at the onset of spring or summer.
- Bipolar Disorder – This disorder is a separate diagnosis from depression, however, individuals with bipolar disorder can experience extremely low moods (major depression). Individuals with bipolar disorder also experience extreme mania or hypomania (excessively euphoric or irritable moods).
- Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD) – A childhood condition of extreme irritability, anger, and frequent, intense temper outbursts causing severe impairment.
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) – A severe premenstrual syndrome causing many women to experience distressing physical and psychological changes prior to their menstrual period. Although symptoms may be similar to the more commonly known premenstrual syndrome (PMS), PMDD symptoms are often debilitating, interfering with a woman’s daily life, including work, school, social life, and relationships.