By Allison Stapleton, Contributing Reporter
September is Suicide Awareness Month, and one of the leading causes of suicide is depression. The stigma against depression is what causes people to die by suicide, opposed to getting help. This stigma also causes ignorance on the subject; many people think that depression is the same for every person who has it, and that there is one type. This is not the case, however. There are many different types of depression, and no one’s experiences are the same. These are explanations of the general types of depression and their symptoms.
Depressive disorder, is the most common and is also known as clinical depression. MDD is easy to recognize in others because of its symptoms: loss of interest in everyday activity, not going out, being unable to get work done, and isolation. Feelings caused by MDD can include an intense sadness, irritability, guilt, constantly feeling overwhelmed, as well as many other possible feelings that accumulate to the overall ‘depressed’ feeling.
Major depression also affects physical well being. Fatigue, major loss or gain in appetite, irregular sleeping habits, and physical pain are also symptoms. According to the National Institute of Health, there’s a link between physical pain and depression: the greater the physical pain the more severe the depression. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, MDD affects more than 15 million American adults, which is about 6.7% of the U.S. population, age 18 or older in a given year.
Bipolar Disorder, is another type of depression. People who suffer from BPD experience stages of mania and depression, with periods of normalcy in between. Mania is the essentially the opposite of depression; including symptoms of increased energy with little need for sleep, racing thoughts, talking quickly, having issues focusing, and irritability. Manic phases also include feelings of being invincible or having super powers. In extreme cases manic phases can cause hallucinations and episodes of psychosis. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 5.7 million American adults, or about 2.6%, of the U.S. population, age 18 and older every year are affected by BPD.
High functioning depression is a newer term in the discussion of mental health. HFD includes some symptoms of major depressive disorder but not all of them. People with high functioning depression are able to keep up with their responsibilities. It is harder to recognize HFD which causes it to become dangerous. HFD doesn’t fit the standard depression mold so people who suffer from it bottle up their depressive feelings till they breakdown.
Mental illness is serious and should be treated as such. If you or anyone you know is suffering from a mental illness, there are resources that can help. Roosevelt has a counseling center which can be reached at (312) 341-3548. They are located at AUD 470 and are open Monday-Thursday 9am to 6pm. If you need help outside of these hours, the national suicide hotline can be reached 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.