I was originally misdiagnosed by several doctors with depression and am very
familiar with the symptoms. It happens that my particular type of depression is
manic depression, so I have experienced depressive phases. However, these depressive
phases also took on other interesting characteristics which I discuss in the manic depression section.
Depression is probably the most common psychological disorder and the
one that receives the most attention. Lately, we hear about millions of Americans
being treated with Prozac and a multitude of other antidepressants. Everybody
seems to know someone who is depressed whether a family member, a close friend
or a co-worker. Depression makes a person feel sad, hopeless, worthless, pessimistic
and guilty. Often the sufferer has difficulty concentrating and making decisions,
has a loss of appetite and weight, or weight gain, has difficulty sleeping, has
a lack of energy and sometimes physical symptoms such as slow movement and speech.
Depression must be taken seriously because of the high rate of suicide associated
Many people are not aware of the many types of depression besides what is termed
unipolar depression where the sufferer feels melancholic and never feels any highs.
A brief description of manic depression (bipolar disorder), major depression,
atypical depression, psychotic depression and dysthymia are discussed below.
Manic depression or bipolar disorder can be defined as an emotional
disorder characterized by changing mood shifts from depression to mania which
can sometimes be quite rapid. People who suffer from manic depression have an
extremely high rate of suicide. You will find more in-depth information on the
manic depression page.
Major depression is probably one of the most common forms of depression.
You probably know a handful of people who suffer from it. The sufferer seems to
walk around with the weight of the world on his or her shoulders. He or she seems
disinterested in becoming involved in regular activities and seems convinced that
he or she will always be in this hopeless state. There is a lack of interest in
sexual activity and in appetite and a weight loss.
Atypical depression is a variation of depression that is slightly different
from major depression. The sufferer is sometimes able to experience happiness
and moments of elation. Symptoms of atypical depression include fatigue, oversleeping,
overeating and weight gain. People who suffer from atypical depression believe
that outside events control their mood (i.e. success, attention and praise). Episodes
of atypical depression can last for months or a sufferer may live with it forever.
Sufferers of psychotic depression begin to hear and see imaginary things
- - sounds, voices and visuals that do not exist. These are referred to as hallucinations,
which are generally more common with someone suffering from schizophrenia. The
hallucinations are not "positive" like they are with a manic depressive.
The sufferer of psychotic depression imagines frightening and negative sounds
Many people just walk around seeming depressed - - simply sad, blue or melancholic.
They have been this way all of their lives. This is dysthymia - - a condition
that people are not even aware of but just live with daily. They go through life
feeling unimportant, dissatisfied, frightened and simply don't enjoy their lives.
Medication is beneficial for this type of depression.