Depression is extremely common, but people aren’t always aware they have depression or don’t fully understand that it’s a medical term. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression is “at least two weeks when a person experienced a depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities” and has “problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration, or self-worth.” Around 21 million adults had at least one episode of depression in 2021.
At Apex Medical Center, our team of talented providers has discovered that many of our patients aren’t unaware of different types of depression and that you may be more vulnerable to one type or another depending on your age, circumstances, and other factors. In this post, we describe four of the most common types of depression and what services we offer that may help.
1. Major depression
Major depression is the most common type of depression, sometimes called chronic depression, severe depression, or classic depression, among other names. If you have major depression, you experience symptoms most of the day, every day.
You can have major depression, a good job, a happy family, and an apparently “normal” life. You don’t have to have a reason to have major depression—you don’t have to have experienced childhood trauma, for example.
You don’t have to live with it, either. Getting treatment is crucial. Consider getting help if you have the following:
- Feelings of sadness, gloominess, or grief
- Problems sleeping, either too little or too much
- A feeling of fatigue
- Changes in your appetite
- Aches and pains that seem to have no cause
- A lack of interest in things you usually enjoy
- Problems concentrating
- Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
- Thoughts of self-harm, death, or suicide
2. Persistent depression
When a depressive episode lasts for two years or longer, it’s considered persistent depression. The symptoms you experience may be less intense than if you have major depression, yet they still can make your life more difficult and relationships hard to maintain.
The list of symptoms for major depression and persistent depression is the same, but with persistent depression, you may also have the following:
- Problems functioning at work or school
- An inability to feel joy, even when you usually would
- Social withdrawal
Sometimes, with persistent depression, your symptoms can become more or less intense episodically. In other words, you may feel a bit better, but not quite all the way, for a while, then your symptoms worsen again.
3. Perinatal depression
Perinatal depression is depression that occurs during pregnancy (prenatal) or after the birth of a baby (postpartum). There’s not a clear cause of perinatal depression, but it’s very real, and there’s nothing you can do to prevent it. Researchers believe that a combination of genetic and environmental factors can lead to extreme feelings of sadness or grief, anxiety, fatigue, and other common symptoms of depression.
4. Seasonal affective disorder
If you reliably become depressed during a particular season, you may have seasonal affective disorder or seasonal depression. Most people with this condition begin to feel symptoms as the days become shorter in the fall and continue through the winter.
Treatments for depression exist. You don’t need to tough it out, and you need more than regular exercise—although diet and exercise can be helpful lifestyle interventions. Schedule an appointment at the Apex Medical Center, most convenient to you, to talk to one of our providers to find out what options are available.