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Types of depression include:

  • Major Depression – Persistent or recurring inability to feel pleasure or enjoy life that lasts about six months.
  • Minor Depression – Depressive symptoms that do not meet the criteria for major depression and last for two weeks or more.
  • Atypical Depression – A subtype of major depression characterized by typical signs of depression followed by a short-lived improvement in mood because of, for instance, good news or happy events.
  • Dysthymia – A form of mild depression that lasts at least two years and includes moderate depressive symptoms and short periods of normal mood.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder – Depression that comes and goes with the fall and winter seasons or frequent overcast days.
  • Bipolar Disorder – Also known as manic depression, bipolar disorder is characterized by alternating episodes of major depression and mania (periods of hyperactivity, rapid speech, sleeplessness and impulsivity).

What Causes Depression?

Scientists haven’t identified the precise causes of depression, but researchers believe that a number of factors play a role, including:

  • Genetics
  • Stressful life events such as loss of a loved one, a significant break-up or financial problems
  • Physical or chemical imbalances in the brain
  • Childhood trauma such as abuse, neglect or loss of a parent

Anyone can develop depression, but those at greater risk include:

  • Teens or individuals in their late 20s
  • Women
  • Unemployed individuals
  • Those with a family history of depression or suicide
  • People who lack a social support network
  • Women who have recently given birth
  • Those with serious medical illness such as heart disease or cancer
  • People who have another mental health disorder such as anxiety
  • Individuals who struggle with low self-esteem
  • Those with relationship or marriage problems
  • People with financial struggles
  • Individuals who abuse drugs or alcohol

Signs of Depression

Everyone experiences depression in their own way. Sadness is not the only way depression manifests. It also appears as numbness, lifelessness, anger or restlessness. Some of the most common symptoms of depression include:

  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Difficulty concentrating, making decisions or completing basic tasks
  • Feeling hopeless, empty or worthless
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Inability to control negative thoughts
  • Irritability, aggression, restlessness or anger
  • Loss of energy or tiredness
  • Reckless behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling or unsafe sex
  • Inability to feel pleasure
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, such as hobbies, sex or social gatherings
  • Thoughts of suicide/death or feeling that life isn’t worth living