Major depressive disorder (often referred to as Depression) is more than just “feeling blue”. Individuals with depression may have a number of symptoms that include loss of interest, poor concentration, fatigue, insomnia, weight loss or gain, feelings of hopelessness, guilt and irritability. In severe cases, individuals may experience suicidal thoughts.
Ian knew that he was not feeling himself. He has stopped answering his phone and no longer plays in his badminton league. He finds it difficult getting out of bed, and even though he sleeps more, he is more tired than usual. His lack of drive and motivation is becoming more noticeable at work. When a close friend suggested he might be depressed, he couldn’t imagine what he was depressed about. After all he doesn’t cry all the time. He just feels numb.
Dysthymia is a less severe form of depression. Symptoms tend to be more long-term or chronic and are not as disruptive as symptoms of depression. Dysthymia is often characterized by a chronic feeling of negativity.
Emilie is successful in her work as an interior designer, and has a good social circle. She is known for being a bit of a pessimist, and tends not to look “on the bright side”. Although she has many interests and hobbies, she finds it difficult to get very excited about anything. She is often hard on herself, and describes herself as having low self-esteem. She wonders if changing her outlook would help her live a more fulfilling existence.
Bipolar mood disorder is characterized by cycling mood changes from severe highs (mania) to severe lows (depression). The changes in mood are so extreme that others tend to notice the individual acting out of character.
Denise is always relieved when she comes out of her depression. The “good” feelings she experiences were far better, but they came at a cost. When she experiences a manic episode she tends to impulsively over-spend her money. She goes out with her friends and over-indulges in drinking, and has more frequent arguments with her boyfriend. This week-long phase is typically followed by a dramatic crash in her mood. She wasn’t fully aware of her problematic mood patterns until her boyfriend complained about these striking changes.