While depression is understood in at least general terms by most, no discussion about depression is complete unless it covers some of the specific forms of the condition. Seasonal depression and manic depression disorder are two forms of depression that may exist with or without generalized depression.
Seasonal depression, which was at one time called melancholia, occurs during the winter months. Some believe that this condition stems from the decreased amount of daylight present during these months. Others are of the opinion that it is simply due to being cooped up with little to do due to the cold weather.
Whatever the cause, the symptoms include fatigue, crying, changes in appetite, and changes in sleeping habits. Treatment for this condition varies, but many have had improvement by simply adding in additional lighting to their homes. If this does not work, therapy and medication are good options.
Manic depression refers to a cyclical form of depression that is characterized by periods of deep depression followed by periods of extreme mania. The depressive periods can vary in length from days to months and can tend to be quite severe. Inability to perform simple tasks such as personal hygiene and suicidal thoughts may be present in some cases.
At the end of the depressive cycle, a period of mania then ensues. The sufferer often feels reborn by the energy and power that accompanies this period. Symptoms include compulsive spending, fast and uncontrolled speech, inability to relax or slow down, and reduced need for sleep. This is a potentially dangerous time for the sufferer. As the surge of vitality overtakes one in the manic state, there is the tendency to engage in risky behavior with little regard for the consequences.
Fortunately, manic depression is treatable with medication. Mood-stabilizing drugs like lithium help to keep affected individuals in a kind of middle area that is not too depressed nor too manic. For cases when medication is ineffective or only moderately effective, therapy can help sufferers learn techniques to cope with the condition.
A diagnosis of seasonal depression or manic depression is never desired, but neither is it necessarily an end to a full, satisfying life. Current treatment allows sufferers the ability to engage in much of what they enjoy and minimizes the unpleasant symptoms of these conditions.