Search For A Cure
Scientific Breakthroughs & Caregiver Tips
What is Depression?
Depression is a mood disorder that is often referred to as clinical depression, major depression, or major depressive disorder. It’s characterized by a persistent low mood, during which the sufferer has feelings of sadness and/or low self-worth.
Although periods of sadness are common in everyone, the symptoms of major depression become so severe that they interfere with the daily routines, social functioning and personal relationships of the sufferer. In many cases, the symptoms become so pervasive that they threaten the integrity of relationships, employment, or financial well-being, and suicidal tendencies are not uncommon among depression sufferers.
Symptoms of Depression
There are many symptoms of major depression, and not all of them need to be present for a sufferer to be diagnosed with the disorder. In general, however, the symptoms must have been present for at least two weeks before a diagnosis can be made.
The most common symptoms of depression include:
- Persistent sadness
- Feelings of emotional flatness or disengagement
- Feelings of low self-worth or helplessness
- Persistent hopeless, morbid, or pessimistic feelings
- Feelings of anxiety
- Problems with concentration
- Chronic irritability or angry outbursts
- Lack of interest in activities that were once pleasurable
- Chronic fatigue or lower than normal energy levels
- Restlessness or excessive energy
- Problems with sleep, including insomnia or sleeping too much
- Appetite changes that result in changes, either decreases or increases, in weight
- Suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts
Clinicians will sometimes diagnosis Subsyndromal Symptomatic Depression (SSD) in patients who have two or more of these symptoms that aren’t severe enough in-depth or duration to warrant a diagnosis of major depression.
Subtypes of Depression
Some depressive disorders are characterized by a unique cluster of symptoms or a specific cause of the symptoms. These types of depression include:
- Postpartum depression. This disorder is defined by periods of major depression in a woman during pregnancy or soon after giving birth. The symptoms are more severe than typical postpartum mood fluctuations, and the result can be life-threatening.
- Psychotic depression. This disorder is diagnosed when symptoms of major depression are accompanied by symptoms of psychosis, such as hallucinations or delusions.
- Seasonal affective disorder. Thought to be caused by decreased levels of sunlight during the winter months, this disorder manifests its symptoms during the winter, and the symptoms typically subside in the spring. The diagnosable seasonal affective disorder occurs in the patient consistently year after year.
- Persistent depressive disorder. This disorder, also called dysthymia, is characterized by periods of depression that last more than two years. The depression may increase or decrease in severity over that time period, but it never goes away.
Make a Donation, Make a Difference
Your Donation Supports Crucial Brain Research
We have a direct connection with scientists so we are privy to projects in all stages of research. This gives us the insight to identify projects and allocate the dollars needed to find cures. Donate generously today to make a difference for future generations and your loved ones.
YOUR DONATION SAVES LIVES & BRINGS US CLOSER TO A CURE.
You Are Not Alone
For you or a loved one to be diagnosed with a brain disease or disorder, is overwhelming, and it leads to a quest for support and answers to very important questions. ABS has built a safe, caring and compassionate community for you to share your journey, connect with others in similar situations, learn about new breakthroughs, and to simply find comfort.