What type of depression do you have?

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a prevalent mental health condition in Ottawa and is characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest or pleasure in activities. Depression presents differently from person to person. Here are some of the recognized subtypes of depression. Knowing the different typesof depression can help you or a lovedĀ  one better understand the symptoms and feels associated with depression and lead to more specific diagnoses and treatment plans.

  1. With Melancholic Features: Depression episodes are characterized by severe anhedonia (loss of pleasure), along with prominent physical symptoms such as early morning awakening, psychomotor agitation or retardation, significant weight loss, and excessive guilt.
  2. With Atypical Features: Individuals experience an improvement in mood in response to positive events but this is short-lived. Other features include increased appetite or weight gain, hypersomnia, leaden paralysis (a heavy feeling in the arms or legs), and sensitivity to interpersonal rejection.
  3. With Psychotic Features: Some individuals with MDD may also experience psychotic symptoms such as delusions (false beliefs) or hallucinations (perceiving things that aren’t there). This is more common in elderly patients with depression and suggests a severe depressive episode. These features can include mood-congruent psychotic features (delusions or hallucinations consistent with depressive themes) or mood-incongruent psychotic features.
  4. With Catatonia: These episodes are accompanied by catatonic behavior, including stupor (lack of responsiveness), catalepsy (rigid posture), waxy flexibility (maintaining positions), mutism, negativism, or peculiar movements.
  5. With Peripartum Onset: Depression episodes occurring during pregnancy or within four weeks after childbirth qualify. In fact, we know that new mothers are at increased risk of depression during and one-year after delivery. Peripartum depression can significantly impact maternal well-being and requires prompt recognition and intervention. Peripartum depression can be severe and we known that depression in the post-partum period comes with an increased risk of suicide. Therefore, please seek out expert help immediately.
  6. With Seasonal Pattern: Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is characterized by recurrent depressive episodes occurring at specific times of the year, typically during fall or winter when sunlight exposure is reduced. Some individuals also experience seasonal changes in the Spring but this is rare. Accessing 30 minutes of light in the morning or the use of seasonal light therapy boxes can reduce the risk of seasonal depression.