Severe depression means that your moods are negatively affected each and every day. You are no longer able to keep up with life. Others around you are able to tell that you are struggling. You often have suicidal thinking.
Some people with severe depression havepsychotic episodes, but that is not a requirement to be diagnosed as ‘severe’. It’s more about having a lot of symptoms of depression, in a way that makes regular functioning almost impossible.
If your severe depression does involve psychotic symptoms, you also suffer otherpsychological issues, and your depression doesn’t seem to get better even after different types of treatments? You might hear your doctors referring to it as ‘complex depression’.
This is a not an official diagnosis, but a useful term used to describe many people’s experience of mild depression. You feel empty inside, but still you carry on, and on. Nobody seems to realise how much you secretly suffer. Read our article on “Walking Depression” for more.
Both major diagnostic guides, the DSM-IV and ICD-10, use this category to describe very mild depression that goes on for a long time.
You might not have quite enough symptoms to qualify for a depression diagnosis, or you just qualify for mild depression. Either way, you have low moods for so long that doctors recognise it’s a real problem.
In this way dysthymia could be seen as the ‘official’ term for ‘walking depression’.
That said, dysthymia is not a recommended term here in the UK. The NICE guidelines suggest there isn’t enough research to show that it is any different than mild depression expect that it it lasts longer. So here in the UK it would instead be called ‘ ‘persistent subthreshold depressive symptoms’.
There are actually two forms of seasonal depression to know about, even if only one gets the attention.
About ten per cent of those with seasonal depression actually find it’s the sun and long days that depress them. If you you have found yourself depressed when summer hits for two or more years, if you want to stay indoors and avoid the bright light? Learn more about reverse SAD.
Pregnancy is often an emotional time. But for some women, it’s more than just being sensitive and moody. They start to experience very dark thoughts and feel unable to manage. While not an official diagnosis yet in the UK, it’s still important to talk to your GP if you think you might have this sort of depression, also referred to as ‘antenatal depression’.
Pre menstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
Pre-menstrual tension is one thing, and can see us moody. But some women are far more than just low or grumpy. Each month they have suicidal thoughts or rages that like clockwork stop when their period begins.
Previously seen as endocrine disorder,premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is finally getting the attention it deserves as a mood disorder. Unfortunately, though, it’s only a official diagnosis at this point in America and not yet in the UK.
OTHER RELATED DIAGNOSES
This was at one point referred to as ‘manic depression’. But ‘bipolar’ is a much more accurate description, because it’s not just about depression.
Bipolar disorder involves periods of of mania, for some people more than periods of depression. Mania involves a state of buzzy, ‘high’ energy that sees you lose touch with realistic and acceptable limits of behaviour.
When manic you tend to do do things you later regret, such as partying for days on end, casual sex with the wrong person, a shopping spree that puts you in debt, or getting others involved in a big idea you have to later admit is beyond you.
Do any of these types of depression sound like you? Want to talk to someone about it? We connect you with some of London’s top therapists. Or try our booking platform to find therapists across the UK. Outside our country? Book a Skype therapist from anywhere.
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