Depressive Disorders

Depression is a medical condition that causes extreme feelings of sadness and emptiness. People who suffer from depression may lose interest in activities they once enjoyed and experience a constant feeling of hopelessness on a daily basis. Depression, also known as clinical or major depression, may be triggered by certain events or occur along with other illnesses. Severe depression can interfere with a person's ability to work, sleep, eat, interact with others or enjoy life. With treatment, however, depression can become a manageable condition.

Depression is an emotional disorder characterized by long-term feelings of sadness and hopelessness that affect an individual on a daily basis. In addition to major depression, there are other types of depressive disorders that can develop as a result of certain situations or related factors in a person's life. Some of these disorders may be temporary and may occur at different times in a person's life.

Types of Depressive Disorders

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression often develops in new mothers within one month after delivery, and is more likely to develop in women with a family history of depression. Postpartum depression is a common emotional response that occurs after childbirth and may include mood swings, crying spells and anxiety. These symptoms may develop as a result of the physical, emotional and hormonal changes that occur during this time. While many new mothers experience what is known as the baby blues after childbirth, postpartum depression usually includes symptoms that last more than two weeks. Treatment for postpartum depression depends on the severity of the condition and may include counseling, antidepressants, hormone therapy or a combination of these approaches. Mild cases often improve on their own within a few days or weeks.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD, is a condition is characterized by depressive symptoms during the same time each year. SAD often affects people during the late fall and winter months, however, it occasionally may cause symptoms of depression during the late spring or early summer. Although the exact cause is unknown, it may be caused by a drop or change in serotonin or melatonin levels in the body. Treatment for seasonal affective disorder often includes light therapy, medication or psychotherapy.

Psychotic Depression

Psychotic depression is a condition that is characterized by symptoms of depression accompanied by symptoms of psychosis, such as hallucinations, delusions or distorted perceptions of reality. A person with psychotic depression may be unable to care for him or herself and often is admitted to a hospital. Psychotic depression may be treated with electroconvulsive therapy or antipsychotic medications and antidepressants.

Depression is a serious condition that should be treated by a doctor. Left untreated, most types of depression may lead to anxiety, isolation, difficulties at work or school, alcohol or substance abuse, and in extreme cases, suicide.

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