What are the different types of depression?

The popular media is packed with articles on different types of depression, which can be a bit confusing.

Clinical-Depression.co.uk deals mainly with what is known as 'unipolar' depression, where the sufferer's symptoms are all depressive.

Manic depression

Manic Depression, otherwise known as Bipolar Disorder, has a much greater biological base than normal clinical depression, although psychological interventions can still be very helpful.

The manic depressive experiences extreme swings from elation and euphoria to acute depression. During the 'manic phase' they may spend recklessly and pursue wild and improbable schemes, sleeping little and often being very productive.

At the opposite 'pole', the person appears and feels lethargic, unmotivated and exhausted. In this phase the person may be unrecognizable as the same formally manic individual. The swing may take place daily or after many months at one pole.

Over time, the condition often gradually becomes less severe and pronounced. Manic depression is often treated with Lithium which may be discontinued by the sufferer as he or she enters the manic phase.

Despite the more biological nature of manic depression, the information in the Clinical Learning Path will be useful, particularly the new discovery about REM sleep and depression.

Seasonal affective disorder

‘Seasonal affective disorder’, or ‘SAD’ is a pattern of feeling depressed during the winter months. It is most commonly treated with ‘Light Therapy’ whereby the person is exposed to strong artificial light every day until their symptoms lift. This can be continued throughout short daylight hour periods to keep the SAD away.

Postnatal depression

Postnatal depression (sometimes called postpartum depression) occurs in the mother in the weeks or months following childbirth. It has long been thought that this is due to hormonal changes within the mother.

However, postnatal depression does not differ in any way to normal clinical depression. It may have more to do with a lack of adaptation to new circumstances or lack of support and social instability.

Pregnant woman who have little faith in their future abilities to provide effective care for their future babies and who feel generally ill-equipped to become mothers have a very high risk of going on to develop depression after the birth of their child.

The information in the Learning Path will be extremely useful to those suffering from, or worried about Postnatal Depression.

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