In part 1 of this post (What is Depression? Types of Depression – Part 1) I talked about situational depression, hormone-related depression, and depression caused by medication. In part 2 of this post, we’ll cover major depressive disorder, post-surgical depression, grief and bereavement, postpartum depression, seasonal affective disorder, dysthymic disorder and bipolar depression.
Regardless of what type of depression you may have, it’s important to get help from a therapist who is skilled at diagnosis and treatment of depression. The great news is that there are so many effective treatments for depression now, that there’s no reason for you to continue feeling this way! You can get better!
Post Surgical Depression is most common with open heart surgery, but can occur with any surgery. For example, I recently had my gallbladder removed by laparoscopy – a very routine surgery for most surgeons – and I experienced about 10 days of post surgical depression. It’s not known exactly why this happens, and some theorize that it may be an after-effect of general anesthesia. In most cases, it will go away on its own after a few weeks. But in some cases it doesn’t, and this is especially true of open-heart surgery. If you’ve had surgery and continue to feel depressed more than two or three weeks after your operation, it’s a good idea to see a mental health professional for evaluation.
Unresolved Grief and Bereavement
Sadness is normal with loss, and any of the symptoms of depression might be experienced on and off for some time. Some people manage to work through their grief on their own and find joy again. For others, a little assistance is helpful to avoid bereavement turning into chronic depression. In my experience, when people seek therapy to help them move through their grief, they feel much better down the road.
Postpartum Depression and Baby Blues
Both hormonal changes and life circumstances contribute to the development of postpartum depression. So, it’s important to work with a psychotherapist who is trained and experienced in working with postpartum moms. Baby Blues are a milder form of postpartum depression and the majority of new moms will experience baby blues symptoms . Baby blues typically go away on their own after a few weeks and are thought to be caused by hormonal changes. Postpartum depression lasts longer, and it is important to seek help for it. One of the biggest risk factors for children becoming depressed is having a mom who is depressed. So, if your baby blues don’t go away after a few weeks, seek help!
Major Depressive Disorder
The cause of Major Depressive Disorder is unclear. A diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder is usually made when someone has several symptoms of depression for more than two weeks.
With Dysthymia or Dysthymic Disorder, the symptoms are less severe, but last for a much longer period of time; more than two years. For example, a person who is functional, goes through the motions of life, but doesn’t seem to experience joy very often, seems “down” or on “neutral” most of the time probably has Dysthymia.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
This type of depression is most common in climates that have a winter season where the sun doesn’t shine often. It’s very common for people to be affect by a lack of sun. I experience this a bit even in Florida when we have weeks where is seems to be cloudy and rain every day. I start to feel a little depressed. But typically this happens and is more severe up north during the long winter months.
Atypical, Melancholic, and Psychotic Depressions
Atypical Depression is a depression that includes psychotic features, but that improves in response to positive events. In contrast, Melancholic Depression does not improve with positive events: patients with melancholic depression tend to feel sad much of the time, particularly in the mornings. Psychotic Depressions can include many of the depressions discussed both in part one and part two of this post, such as postpartum depression and major depression disorder, but with the addition of psychotic features (loss of touch with reality).
Bipolar Disorder used to be called “Manic Depression”. Now, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders identifies more than one type of Bipolar Disorder. But essentially, Bipolar Disorders are characterized by alternating periods of depression, with periods of mania.
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Dr. Chantal Gagnon
Dr. Chantal Marie Gagnon, Ph.D., LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist, relationship counselor, and life coach in Plantation, Florida. Dr. Gagnon provides individual therapy, family counseling services, and couples therapy in her Plantation, FL office. Coaching services are available nationwide.
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