Depressive Conditions Essay, Research Paper
TYPES OF DEPRESSIVE CONDITIONS
DEPRESSED MOOD DUE TO GRIEF
Grieving the loss of someone significant in one?s life is a necessary but usually painful
and difficult process. The symptoms of grieving are actually a very normal and healthy
reaction to the death of a family member, lover, or friend. The grieving process may
involve guilt, despair, anger, insomnia, changes in appetite, and obsessive thoughts
about the lost person, and in some cases people report transiently seeing the image or
hearing the voice of the deceased person.
So what distinguishes these normal reactions from abnormal ones? Well, to put it
simply, TIME. According to the DSM-IV, a ?normal reaction? to loss lasts about two
months on average. If depressive symptoms continue, it is time to make a call to a
professional for further help. Another diagnosis, such as Major Depressive Disorder,
might be more appropriate.
ADJUSTMENT DISORDER WITH DEPRESSED MOOD
Adjustment disorder with depressed mood usually occurs as a response to an
identifiable life event that is stressful. Sometimes, ?rolling with change? is harder than
usual, and life begins to feel out of control, causing symptoms like feeling stressed out,
hopeless, tearful, and ?down in the dumps? more than usual. These symptoms must
have developed within three months after the onset of the stressful event or stressors
and mostly resolve within six months after the stress has past. If symptoms continue,
then it is time to consult with a professional.
Dysthymia is a chronic depressed mood usually described as mild, low-grade
depression. Symptoms include problems with appetite (either over- or undereating),
sleep disturbances, feelings of hopelessness, lack of energy, poor self-image, and
inability to concentrate. These folks often have felt ?down? pretty much their entire
lives and constantly battle negativity. The criteria for dysthymia require the presence
of a depressed mood for more days than not over a period of at least two years. Many
people are not aware that they have been struggling with dysthymia for years,
sometimes most of their lives.
People with dysthymia are able to work and participate in life, but they feel that life is
too demanding and is a struggle much of the time. Sometimes trying to find the energy
just to make it through another day is difficult. Life usually feels hard and blah for
these folks. Feeling melancholic about life is just the way it is, unless they seek
treatment. One person being successfully treated for dysthymia described the change
as follows: ?For the first time in my life I feel like the gray curtain has been lifted. I
have more energy, I hear the birds chirp, I see colors instead of gray, and I feel part
of the human race.?
Major depression is more acute and noticeably more debilitating than dysthymia.
Symptoms must have been present for at least two weeks and represent a change
from one?s usual level of functioning. The symptoms of major depression occur nearly
every day, and some last most of the day. These people:
? feel sad and empty or are noticed by others as appearing sad or tearful
? feel ?heavy? and bring little energy to their regular routine
? feel a significant loss of interest in life and in pleasurable and fulfilling activities
? experience significant weight loss or weight gain, sleep disturbances, and intense
feelings of guilt or worthlessness.
? have suicidal thoughts and even attempts to commit suicide, which are the most
Work, relationships, and self-perception are all severely disrupted by major
depression. If you are having suicidal thoughts or are feeling suicidal or know of
someone who is, it essential to contact a mental health professional immediately.
BIPOLAR DISORDERS OR MANIC DEPRESSIVE ILLNESS
Bipolar disorders are less prevalent than other forms of depression. Affected people
experience cycles of mood changes ranging from severe highs (mania) to severe lows
(depression). Usually the mood swings are gradual, but sometimes they are dramatic
and rapid. During the lows, one experiences the symptoms for depression as described
above.When experiencing the manic swing, one may have an abundance of energy and
may become overtalkative and overactive. Usually one?s thinking, judgment, and social
behavior are affected. While in a manic phase one may feel invincible and godlike and
may make poor decisions in all areas of life. Such behavior can result in
embarrassment and in some circumstances can be life threatening. Mania has the
potential to worsen to a psychotic state if not treated by a professional.
SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER
Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is often referred to as the ?winter blues.? Because
there is less sunlight during the winter months, some people become depressed.
Treatment usually consists of increasing one?s exposure to light, referred to as
Some new mothers experience such a profound hormonal change following delivery
that they feel depressed rather than elated. Nearly two-thirds of women feel temporary
sadness, and 15% become clinically depressed. Some women become so severely
depressed that they are hospitalized to protect both mother and baby.