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Depression

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Depression and Mood Disorders


Depression comes in many forms and symptoms. Individuals who are experiencing symptoms of depression often report feeling that they are not themselves.

If the individual themself cannot identify a change in their state, oftentimes the people around them will notice and start to point out changes in behavior or mood. It is different than anxiety in that, anxiety symptoms become intolerable to the individual due to the physical symptoms it creates, where depression may not always do the same. 

People can become comfortable in their discomfort and have a more difficult time becoming motivated to make changes. Especially since a major symptom of depression is a lack of motivation. Individuals who have experienced depression often report that they can’t remember what it feels like to be happy. They often report feeling as if they are in a fog that won’t leave. An environment for depression is bred within the individual when that person begins to see themself, others, and their environment from a negative perspective. 

Depression becomes very self-defeating and the individual engages in unhealthy patterns that cultivate the depression. At times depression can become so severe that people begin to have thoughts about suicide and may make an attempt. Severe Depression can be very dangerous and intervention is almost always necessary. 

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Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)


Major Depression is a diagnosis that is made when the symptoms begin to significantly impact one’s activities of daily living. There are different levels of severity of this disorder, but the symptoms are the same. Individuals who are experiencing major depression often report feeling sad or depressed most days, they may be experiencing an increase or decrease in sleep, increase or decrease in appetite, increased irritability or anger, isolating behaviors, a loss of interest in enjoyable activities, hopelessness, worthlessness, thoughts of suicide, lack of motivation, and decreased energy. 

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Dysthymia


Dysthymia is a form of depression where the same symptoms are exhibited as Major Depression. The difference is that the symptoms must be present for at least two years for someone to be diagnosed with this disorder.

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Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)


DMDD presents as a depressive disorder, however, the defining factor is irritability and anger. An individual who would be diagnosed with DMDD would be exhibiting recurrent temper outbursts either verbal or behavioral. These outbursts would need to occur at least three times a week and have been occurring for at least one year. The person with this diagnosis presents as irritable or angry nearly every day. This disorder can only be diagnosed in childhood or adolescence.

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Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)


PMDD is a fairly new diagnosis specifically for women. Most people have learned over the years about pre-menstrual symptoms prior to the onset of menses. However, in a subset of the population, these symptoms become so severe for some women that it begins to impact their ability to function in their daily activities from one to three weeks out of the month. 

This diagnosis presents with mood swings, increased irritability, and anger, increased depressed mood, increased anxiety, poor focus, and concentration, lack of energy or ability to complete tasks, decreased interest in activities, changes in appetite and sleep, feeling overwhelmed, and physical symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome.

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Bipolar I and II


Bipolar Disorder or formerly known as Manic Depressive Disorder is characteristic of someone who is experiencing extreme levels of mood. In order to have been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, an individual would have to have exhibited a manic or hypomanic episode along with a depressive episode either prior to or following the manic episode. Someone who has experienced a manic episode would be diagnosed with Bipolar I and a hypomanic episode is characteristic of Bipolar II.

The difference between a manic and hypomanic episode is described below:

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Manic Episode


  • A period of time in which one’s mood is abnormally elevated or irritable lasting for at least one week
  • An increase in goal-directed activity or energy lasting at least one week and present most of the day, nearly every day
  • Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • More talkative than usual
  • Racing thoughts
  • Easily distracted
  • Agitation
  • Engaging in self-defeating or harmful activities such as out-of-control shopping sprees, poor decision making, or acting out sexually.
  • These symptoms markedly impact one’s ability to function in their everyday life
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Hypomanic Episode


  • A period of time in which one’s mood is abnormally elevated or irritable lasting at least for four consecutive days
  • Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • More talkative than usual
  • Racing thoughts
  • Easily distracted
  • Agitation
  • Increase in goal-directed activity
  • Engaging in self-defeating or harmful activities such as out of control shopping sprees, poor decision making, or acting out sexually
  • These symptoms do not markedly impact one’s ability to function in their everyday life and appear less severe than those symptoms of a manic episode

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