Imagine for a moment how much more enjoyable and productive life might be in the absence of overwhelming symptoms of depression.
Everyone feels sad or down sometimes. For many people, these feelings will disappear or fade after a few days; however, depression is different. It impacts your daily life, and you can’t simply snap out of it.
TYPES AND SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION
Depression looks different for everyone. One person may appear sad or hopeless and another might be persistently irritable and anxious. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.; DSM–5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013) classifies depression as follows:
Major Depressive Disorder
This diagnosis describes a person who experiences severe depressive symptoms that impact his or her daily functioning. Although only one episode is necessary for a diagnosis, a person may have multiple occurrences throughout their lifetime. Symptoms include:
- Feeling sad, anxious, or hopeless
- Losing interest in once pleasurable activities
- Lacking energy
- Feeling guilty and/or worthless
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Overeating or loss of appetite
- Increased sleeping or insomnia
- Contemplating or attempting suicide
Persistent Depressive Disorder
When a person suffers from a depressed mood or symptoms for two or more years they are diagnosed with a persistent depressive disorder. These symptoms may not be as severe as those associated with major depression.
CAUSES OF DEPRESSION
There are times when a person may become depressed without any attributable cause. However, most researchers agree that genetic, environmental, biological, and psychological factors all contribute.