Decoding Depression- Common Variations

by Dr. Girish Banwari on May 31, 2018
Lifeworks in Media

Depression, like most other conditions, can manifest in varying intensity and scope. The symptoms we had discussed in the earlier blogs mostly pertain to Unipolar Depression or Major Depressive Disorder. Other commonly seen forms of depression are as follows:

Bipolar Depression: This is a major disorder, characterised by extreme mood swings, as the name suggests. A person can move from elation and euphoria to complete withdrawal from all normal activities. During a ‘manic’ episode, they will be on a high – extremely talkative, happy, uninhibited and sexually active. – and then, during the ‘depressive’ episode, they will fall into an all-time low, unable to carry out even routine activities.

Bipolar depression is essentially biological in origin, though stressful life events can aggravate the condition. It is often manifest in highly creative people. The depth of emotions they undergo during their ‘lows’ are given expression during their ‘high’ phases. This has helped reduce the stigma associated with the condition to a large extent, giving it an aura of respectability. However, it should be noted that about 1% of those who suffer from bipolar depression become deranged, making them dysfunctional.

Atypical Depression: Apart from the usual signs like fatigue, restlessness and low moods, this disorder ‘involves several specific symptoms, including increased appetite or weight gain, sleepiness or excessive sleep, marked fatigue or weakness, moods that are strongly reactive to environmental circumstances, and feeling extremely sensitive to rejection’.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): SAD is a type of depression related to changes in seasons. It usually occurs in winter, though there are people who go through SAD in the spring or early summer. Instead of dismissing SAD as ‘winter blues’ and trying to forge ahead, it is advisable to take steps to keep oneself from feeling low.

Post Partum Depression (PPD): PPD is a mood disorder that affects women after childbirth due to a combination of physical and psychological factors. The resultant extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion make it difficult for them to even take care of themselves and their newborn child.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD): PMDD is a severe and often disabling form of PMS (pre menstrual syndrome) that affects approximately 5% of women. The changing levels of hormones (oestrogen and progesterone) during the menstrual cycle trigger physical and psychological changes in women with PMDD. They experience irritability, mood swings (emotional lability), headache, depression and anxiety a week before the onset of their periods (menses). Physical symptoms include a sense of bloating, breast pain, joint or muscle pain, and weight gain among others.

Depression in Adolescents: The symptoms of adolescent depression vary from those of adults. Missing school, falling grades and clinging to parents are all signs of distress. In older children, depression also manifests in impulsive behaviours including rash driving, sexual promiscuity and substance abuse. The latter gives them the feeling of confidence they badly need, however transitory and false it is. However, it also perpetuates the existing depression, throwing the child into a vicious cycle they find hard to get out of.

Very often, those who are going through such disorders try to somehow manage their condition rather than approach a professional. This is especially true when it comes to ‘female disorders’ such as PPD and PMDD. “However,” says Dr Banwari, “self-management is neither helpful, nor advisable here. Each of the conditions discussed above is clinically significant, and calls for professional intervention.” Lifestyle modification is a must, but it should happen alongside professional treatment (medication/therapy).

If you would like to talk, feel free to reach out to us. An LifeWorks therapist would be able to help.

Ms. Afsheen Sheikh
Ms. Afsheen Sheikh
Senior Therapist - English and Urdu
MSc in Applied Behaviour Analysis - Queens University of Belfast,UK - Experience: 5 Years
Dr.Marwa Abd El Hamid
Dr.Marwa Abd El Hamid
Clinical Psychologist - Arabic and English
Ph.D. in Psychology Ain-Shams University - Experience: 10 Years
Dr. Andrea Tosatto
Dr. Andrea Tosatto
Clinical Psychologist - Children, Adults, and People of Determination - English, Italian and Spanish
MA, BSC, MSC, PSYD - Experience: 20 Years
Dr. Anna Grazia Lecca
Dr. Anna Grazia Lecca
Clinical Psychologist - Italian, English, French, Learning Arabic
PhD in Clinical Psychology - Experience: 20 Years
Dr. Shaju George
Dr. Shaju George
Specialist Psychiatrist - English, Malayalam
MBBS : Calicut University, DPM & MD: Kerala University, Aviation Medicine: Flying medicine UK - Experience: 18 Years
Iva Vukusic
Iva Vukusic
Clinical Psychologist - English, Croatian and German
Master of Psychology, Training of Trainers (ToT) Community
Dr. Girish Banwari
Dr. Girish Banwari
Specialist Psychiatrist - English and Hindi
M.B.B.S., M.D. (Psychiatry) - Experience: 10 Years
Jyotika Aggarwal
Jyotika Aggarwal
Clinical Psychologist - English and Hindi
M.A.(Clinical Psychology), RE-CBT - Experience: 7 Years
Dr. Kirin Fiona Hilliar
Dr. Kirin Fiona Hilliar
Psychologist - English
PhD(Psychology), Master of Psychology (Forensic) - Experience: 11 Years
Sailaja Menon
Sailaja Menon
Counseling Psychologist - English, Malayalam, Tamil and Hindi
CAGS (Multicultural Counseling), Johns Hopkins University, USA - Experience: 25 Years
Sneha John
Sneha John
Psychologist - English, French, Malayalam and Basic Arabic
Masters in Clinical Psychology from University of London, UK, Bachelor of Psychology with Counselling, UK, Diploma in Child Development, UK.

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