Psychiatric literature tends to define depression as a clinical condition that is “severe, maladaptive, and incapacitating (Stuart, 2012).”
We talk often about depression as being one big and all overarching condition, which it is for sure. However there are differences and classifications depending on the severity of the symptoms experienced, the duration of the symptoms experienced and also the nature of the depression.
Based on the severity of the symptoms experienced depression may be: mild depression, moderate depression or major depression.
Based on the duration of the symptoms experienced there is short term depression and there is also chronic depression. Furthermore, there is some distinction to be made in the recurrence pattern, in other words, a single episode of depression or a multiple episodes depression.
Based on the nature of the depression there is depression that is directly linked to chemical imbalance in the brain, there is depression that fluctuates in intensity with the seasons, there is depression that is causal linked to a specific life circumstance, there is depression that is secondary to another illness, and there is depression that is co-morbid with another behavioral or mood imbalance. For example, postpartum depression is different in nature than depression developed by the loss of a limb and both are different than a co-morbid depression with drug addictions.
A less often occurring type of depression is one that is accompanied by psychotic features. Psychotic depression accounts for about 10% of all depressions in the United States (Stuart, 2012).
Given that depression is not one size fits all, defining the kind of depression and identifying it’s cause correctly is essential in the recovery process. Alleviating symptoms and dissipating the condition depend on the implementation of tailored interventions that are specific to the individual.
With all this being said, please bare in mind that this post is only informative in nature and has in no way the intention to diagnose or prescribe.
Physicians, Assistant Physicians, Nurse Practitioners and Doctors of Nursing Practice are the medical professionals with a scope of practice including the autonomy and authority to diagnose, be it in co-operation when needed.
A thorough assessment, health history and physical assessment are usually included in the standard of care. Furthermore, there may be other diagnostic procedures including but not limited to laboratory tests and imaging procedures.
If you or someone you know suffers from depressive symptoms, I urge you to seek help. Call your doctor to discuss your symptoms and if you find yourself in an emergency always call 911.
With Love, In Light, For Peace,
Reference: Stuart, Gail W. Principles and Practice of Psychiatric Nursing, 10th Edition. Mosby, 072012.