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Depression 

Depression can present in a lot of different ways and for many different reasons. Let's take a look at signs, symptoms and causes.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Chronic low mood - not just being in a bad mood every now and then. If you are feeling "down" some part of every day for 2 weeks or more, that could be a sign that you are experiencing depression. 

  • You no longer are interested in doing things you love.  If you are a baker, painter, bike rider, writer, singer, a hard worker....if these things start to fade and you find yourself not wanting to do anything, this is an important symptom to report to your doctor. 

  • You are sleeping too much.

  • You are eating too much or too little.

  • You feel angry daily.  Often times, depression appears more like irritability and anger, especially in children, teens and men.  

Causes

  • First, ALWAYS see your doctor to rule out organic causes for depression. Common causes of physical ailments that could cause depression include:

    • Vitamin D​ Deficiency

    • Low Thyroid

    • Low Iron (Anemia) 

    • Any long term illness including cancer, pain, or autoimmune diseases.

  • If all physical reasons for depression have been eliminated, depression can be caused by any of the following:

    • Grief ​

    • Stress (job, relationships, loss, finances)

    • Victim of sexual, physical or emotional abuse (trauma)

    • Trauma such as a car accident, fire, assualt

    • Clinical Depression caused by chemical imbalance in the brain. This could be genetic or related to illness, trauma or stress. Please talk to your doctor and consider finding a therapist. 

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder, by history, is over-diagnosed and very misunderstood. Bipolar is very manageable with proper care. It used to be called "manic depression" which is actually accurate still. Bipolar means that person has "manic episodes" and "depressive episodes."  It's kind of like mood swings on steroids.  Bipolar can be diagnosed as Bipolar I or Bipolar II. 

Bipolar Depression is similar to the depression described above.  However, the depressive episodes may be very evident and in great contrast to feeling "manic."  It's the crash after the wave of mania.

Bipolar Mania can be classified as pure mania (Bipolar I) or as hypo-mania (Bipolar II).  

 

Mania symptoms include:

  • Talking fast/pressured speech

  • Racing thoughts

  • Inability to sleep - often for days on end

  • Risky behaviors (promiscuity, shopping too much, gambling)

  • Impulsivity with poor judgment (not thinking before speaking or acting)

  • Feeling grandiose with a super-inflated self-esteem

  • Can include (when severe) psychosis

Hypo-mania is similar to mania but it doesn't necessarily impair a person's day to day functioning.  Symptoms can include:

  • Periods of high productivity and ability to get a lot done due to high energy and less need for sleep

  • Feeling really great about your self to the point of having an inflated self-esteem

For more information, check out theses sites:

https://www.webmd.com/bipolar-disorder/guide/hypomania-mania-symptoms

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder/index.shtml

https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Bipolar-Disorder

https://psychcentral.com/disorders/hypomanic-episode-symptoms/