ADHD and Depression II: Types of Depression

Last month we started a three part series on ADHD and depression. The first installment revealed that people with ADHD have a higher incidence of depression than the general population and urged all teens and young adults to be screened for depression as part of their annual physicals. This month we’ll be looking at the types of depression.

Depression comes in many forms

The National Institute for Mental Health outlines three types of depression each come with their own variation of symptoms, severity and persistence.

Major depression (also known as major depressive disorder) comes with a whole host of symptoms that interfere with the ability to function in everyday life.  Symptoms include:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood.
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism.
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness.
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyable, including sex.
  • Decreased energy, fatigue; feeling “slowed down.”
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions.
  • Trouble sleeping, early morning awakening, or oversleeping.
  • Changes in appetite and/or weight.
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts.
  • Restlessness or irritability.
  • Persistent physical symptoms, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain that do not respond to routine treatment.

A major depressive episode can happen just once. But many people will suffer several episodes over their lives. Some people who suffer this type of depression require treatment indefinitely.

Dysthymia (or dysthymic disorder) is a less severe type of depression. People with dysthymia have long-lasting chronic symptoms that keep them from feeling well but without seriously disabling them. Many people with dysthymia also experience major depressive episodes during their lives.

The third type of depression is bipolor disorder (or manic depressive illness). People who are bipolar swing between extreme highs (also known as mania or being manic) and severe lows (depression.) In the depressed part of the cycle the person exhibits some or all of the symptoms of a major depressive episode listed above. In the manic cycle, people often may be overactive, extremely talkative and exhibit poor judgment. Untreated, bipolar disorder is very dangerous to the long term mental health of a person.

If you think you are suffering from depression, start by talking to your physician or psychiatrist. He or she will be able to help you assess your depression and work out a treatment plan for you.

Next time, we will discuss what to do about depression so it doesn’t get you down.  For more information about the types of depression, visit: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml.

If you have ideas you’d like to share about how you cope with depression, drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you.

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