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  • Depression

  • Depression is an extreme disorder sometimes referred to as clinical depression. This is not to be confused with chemical depression that can be treated with pharmaceutical substances.  Clinical depression is fairly common, but should be taken seriously. It is a serious mood disorder. It causes intense symptoms that affect how a person feels, thinks, and handles daily behavioral activities. This would include but is not limited to sleeping, eating, or working. Clinical depression must exist for a period of not less than two weeks. The individual is then diagnosed with depression.

    There are other forms of depression that are definitely different. They develop under unique circumstances, and situations such as:

    Persistent Depressive Disorder (also called dysthymia) is a depressed mood/feeling that lasts for at least two years. Individuals diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder sometimes have episodes of major depression.  They may also have instances of less severe symptoms, but the combined symptoms must last for a minimum of two years to be considered persistent depressive disorder.

    Postpartum Depression is commonly known as the “baby blues” (these are relatively mild depressive and anxiety symptoms that clear within two weeks of birth).  Many women experience this after giving birth and should always be taken seriously. Women with postpartum depression characteristically have experienced one or more full-blown major depressive events during pregnancy. or after delivery. These feelings are characterized by extreme sadness, anxiety, worry, and often exhaustion. These symptoms may make it difficult for some new mothers to complete daily care activities for themselves and/or for their babies.

    Psychotic Depression occurs when a person has been diagnosed with severe depression and also with a form of psychosis. The psychosis can alter behaviors.  This could include having disturbing false or fixed beliefs (delusions). Another form is hearing or seeing irrational things that only the individual can hear or see (hallucinations). These psychotic symptoms are often characterized by a negative “theme,” such as delusions of guilt, poverty, illness or unworthiness.

    Seasonal Affective Disorder is characterized by depression during the winter months, November through early March.  During the wintertime, there is less natural sunlight, and it gets darker much sooner, in the early evening. This type of depression generally disappears during spring and summer. Seasonal depression is usually accompanied by a withdrawal from social activities, increased periods of sleep, and even weight gain. It  returns every year as seasonal affective disorder.


    Bipolar Disorder is not the same as depression, but it is included in this list. Someone with bipolar disorder experiences periods of extremely low moods, that clearly meet the criteria for depression (called “bipolar depression”). However a person with bipolar disorder also experiences periods of euphoria. These moods are called “mania” or a less severe form called “hypomania.”  These changes in mood can last for days, weeks or even longer.