Truthfully, there is not a specific list of stages of Depression. You see, Depression is expressed differently according to ones age, sex, and culture. For example, a teenager is unlikely to exhibit the same signs of Depression as an elderly person would. Because of the overwhelming variables associated with this illness, there is no set list of stages one can expect to experience; it is unique to each individual.
Likewise, there is no single cause of Depression. Early life experience, genetic predisposition, lifestyle factors, and certain personality traits all play a part in causing Depression. Something that causes Depression in one person may have no effect on another; thus, the difficulty in outlining the stages of depression.
However, we can list the specific types of Depression and a list of general symptoms associated with Depression. But, first before I go any further, I need to say that if you are experiencing symptoms associated with Depression or believe you are experiencing symptoms associated with Depression, you need to seek medical attention.
Depression can be treated and avoiding medical attention can and will cause unnecessary suffering. Depression is a physical illness, which should be taken seriously and be treated as soon as the first symptoms arise.
The Definition of the Stages of Depression
Lets start out with the definition of Depression. Depression is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts, that affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things. A depressive disorder is not the same as a passing blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be wished away. People with a depressive disease cannot merely pull themselves together and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Appropriate treatment, however, can help most people with Depression.
Depression is an episodic illness. Episodes can last for weeks or months or years, and are interspersed with more or less symptom-free periods.
What is Depression? An Alternative Definition: It is a problem of chronic brain overload. The key is to understand that the brain, just like all the other organs in the body, has a limited processing capacity, and if you constantly exceed it, disease will ensue.
What are some of the different stages of Depression?
Major Depression: This type of clinical Depression is characterized by a severe lack of interest in the things that were once enjoyed, or nonstop feelings of sadness.
Bipolar disorder or manic depressive illness: Also called Manic Depression, bipolar disorder is a type of depression that has either subtle or extreme high periods alternating with low periods of Depression.
Dysthymic disorder: This type of Depression is characterized by ongoing yet mild symptoms of Depression.
Cyclothymic disorder: is a relatively mild form of bipolar II disorder characterized by mood swings that may appear to be almost within the normal range of emotions. These mood swings range from mild depression, or dysthymia, to mania of low intensity, or hypomania.
Postnatal depression (PND) or Postpartum depression: is a complex mix of physical, emotional, and behavioral changes that occur in a mother after giving birth. It is a serious condition, affecting 10% of new mothers. Symptoms range from mild to severe Depression and may appear within days of delivery or gradually, perhaps up to a year later. Symptoms may last from a few weeks to a year
Seasonal affective disorder(SAD): This type of depression occurs seasonally and is caused by lack of sunlight.What are the Symptoms of Depression?
Depression creates mental and physical symptoms in our thinking, feeling and bodily experience, as well as our behavior. These symptoms can vary from one person to another. Symptoms may change throughout the day, but are usually worse after waking up in the morning.
Common symptoms include:
Hopelessness and helplessness
Unhappiness and loss of confidence
Tension and anxiety
Irritability, anger or fear
Difficulty making decisions
Major life changes
Guilt, worthlessness or being unwanted
Inability to enjoy normal things
Neglect of ones appearance
Continual tiredness and easy tiring
Sleeping problems eg. early waking
Eating problems eg. poor appetite, weight loss
Headache, constipation or indigestion
Loss of energy and sex drive
People suffering from Depression often show distorted thinking. Everything looks bleak to them, and they hold extremely negative views about themselves, their situation, and the future. Trapped in their pessimism, they obsess over their problems and blow them out of proportion. Feeling hopeless and helpless, they may even start to see suicide as their only way out.
Because of the nature of Depression, the symptoms above are a generalization of the symptoms associated with Depression. It would be wise to research further and identify the specifics, depending upon your gender, age and culture. Below are some helpful links each one lists the stages of depression and treatment.
Dealing with Teen Depression
Depression in Women
Depression in Older Adults and the Elderly