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Depression Isn’t Always “Depression”: 3 Types You Might Not Know About

many types of depression

If we’re looking for something based solely upon what it usually looks like, we’re in for a long and frustrating hunt. And if a mood or anxiety disorder is at play, we’re so much farther away from an accurate diagnosis and treatment. Case in point, depression isn’t always “depression.” Dr. Mae Casanova dials us in on three types that might fly under the radar…

It is thought that morning depression could be related to circadian rhythm, being the result of a kink in someone’s sleep/wake cycle.

It’s guest post time again. Dr. Mae Casanova contacted me some time ago, asking if she could write for Chipur. Frankly, her request got past me, so she sent a friendly nudge last week. Her subject matter looked good, as did her website and qualifications – so here we are.

Dr. Casanova is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist practicing in San Diego. She’s involved in all sorts of great work; however, she considers herself a “thinking outside the box” therapist and growth coach first. Dr. Casavova wraps-up her “Get to Know…” page by saying, “But above all – I am human – just like you. Perfectly flawed, doing my best to connect, thrive and grow.”

All good, if you ask me. The floor’s yours, Dr. Casanova…

3 Types of Depression You Might Not Know About

Clinical depression or major depressive disorder is a clinical diagnosis and a serious mood disorder identified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). A licensed medical or mental health provider needs to give a patient the diagnosis after a thorough assessment. However, “That’s depressing.” or “I’m just depressed.” are used in today’s society as jargon or as a replacement for feeling sad or low – usually not accompanied by a clinical diagnosis.

It’s important to understand that there are some presentations of clinical depression that do not look exactly like the DSM-5 describes. The criteria may be met, but the presentation, onset of symptoms, and duration to meet the criteria for a diagnosis are different.

Reactive Depression

are there different kinds of depression
Dr. Mae Casanova

Reactive or situational depression is a depressive episode brought on by a specific event. Feeling depressed after grief or loss, losing your job, or a break-up are all examples of reactive depression.

In the case of a reactive depression generated by grief or loss, the symptoms are similar to that of what we know as grief, as many depressive symptoms are, but they last longer than the typical grieving process.

The symptoms can come in the form of sadness, feelings of hopelessness, irritability and agitation, feeling anxious or worried, loss of interest in pleasurable things, appetite and weight changes, as well as many more.

The idea is that this depressive episode is a reaction to a specific situation or life-changing event.

Smiling Depression

Smiling depression is a form of depression in which someone is struggling with depressive symptoms on the inside, but presenting as smiling, happy, or content on the outside. The pressure to keep an outward appearance is high these days, so it’s understandable that someone may feel the need or pressure to hide their depression and its symptoms.

It’s important to remember that even if things seem okay on the outside, there could be guilt, sadness, hopelessness, anxiety, and fear on the inside. Much more on smiling depression.

Morning Depression

Morning depression is a subset of clinical depression where the depressive symptoms are worse in the morning. For example, one may feel more sad, hopeless, irritable, or lack the motivation to get the day started. These symptoms may lessen as the day goes on, but they are severe and consistent enough in the morning to meet criteria for a major depressive disorder diagnosis.

It is thought that morning depression could be related to circadian rhythm, being the result of a kink in someone’s sleep/wake cycle. More information on morning depression.

Depression is one of the most common mood diagnoses and be can be the most serious. If left untreated, there is a higher risk for hopelessness and helplessness, which can lead to self-injurious behaviors or even suicide.

If you or a loved one is presenting any of the types of depression we talked about, it is important to realize you are not alone, and there is help.

That’s All, Folks

Thank you, Dr. Casanova. Appreciate your expertise and willingness to share.

Yep, depression isn’t always “depression.” Same with anxiety and bipolarity. And if we insist upon making decisions based solely upon what we believe something looks like, we’re in for a long and hard journey.

As we’ve seen, the mood and anxiety disorders frequently present outside the box. And so we must think…

Dr. Casanova’s website. If you’re in the San Diego area and looking to stay on top of your emotional and mental health, get in touch.

Inviting you to peruse hundreds of Chipur titles. It’ll be well worth your time.