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Depression is defined as a mental illness when the feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and despair persist and obstruct a person’s ability to function normally.

It is a very common condition and it is estimated that it affects over 19 million American adults and over 5 million children and teens each year. The reason why women are twice more likely to suffer from depression than men us not yet known.

There are several types of depression:

Bipolar Disorder/Manic Depression

Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme fluctuations of mood that are commonly referred to as 'mania' (ups) and 'depression' (downs). During the manic period, patients are experiencing increased energy, euphoric mood, extreme irritability, racing thoughts or aggressive behavior. The low periods are very similar to symptoms commonly associated with depression and the individuals are experiencing sadness, anxiety, empty mood, homelessness, pessimism, guilt, worthlessness and loss of pleasure. Bipolar depression is one of the most common forms of depressive disorder.

Clinical / Major Depression

This refers to those individuals who consistently experience symptoms related to depression.

Mood Disorder

Mood swings are experienced by almost everyone. They should not be confused with Bipolar Disorder which is characterized by extreme fluctuations of mood that persist for weeks or months at a time.

Post Partum Depression

Postpartum depression usually occurs after pregnancy and labor. This disorder is probably caused by:

  • physical stress of childbirth
  • changes in hormonal levels
  • the responsibility of caring for a new baby

Postpartum depression may last for weeks, months or even years.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a common form of depression that patients experience during a particular time of year. In most cases, depressive episodes are happening during the Fall and Winter months.


Dysthymia is a long-term, but less common form of depression. Although dysthymia may not be strong enough to disable a person, the symptoms experienced may keep a patient from functioning normally.

Symptoms include:

  • depressed mood during the course of a day, or for subsequent days (2 - 3)
  • difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • chronic feelings of hopelessness, negativity or pessimism
  • low energy and self-esteem
  • physical symptoms like headaches, dizziness, lethargy or problems with the digestive system


Cyclothemia is a mild form of manic depression that involves bipolar swings - hypomania alternating with mild bouts of depression. Individuals with depression often experience psychological, emotional and physical distress as a result of their feelings. There are periods when they are feeling up and periods when they are feeling down, but these down periods last for days, weeks and sometimes months at a time.

Anxiety disorder

Although there are many different forms and definitions of anxiety disorder, the general definition of anxiety is that it represents a vague, unpleasant and sometimes debilitating emotion that is experienced in anticipation of some misfortune. The fact is that, although many people suffer from anxiety in certain situations, the reasons for this are generally difficult to identify. No one really knows for sure what is causing the anxiety. Several studies have shown that when a person is feeling stressed, anxious or depressed, the brain may be releasing or absorbing  chemicals either too rapidly or too slowly.

Anxiety, once diagnosed, can have many different symptoms, including

  • sleeping troubles
  • specific obsessions over stressful topics
  • difficulty thinking about anything besides a stressful topic
  • feeling tense, restless, jittery, or dizzy.
  • having trouble concentrating
  • fluctuations in appetite
  • being overly cautious
  • being startled easily
  • having an omnipresent feeling of impending danger or disaster.

There are several types of anxiety disorders and the most common are:

  • Anxiety Attacks / Panic Attacks
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Specific Phobias
  • Panic Anxiety Disorder
  • Social Phobia
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Agoraphobia
  • Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD)
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