Depression refers to a mental state characterized by a pessimistic sense of inadequacy, feelings of sadness, and a despondent lack of activity. Because depression is a clinical mental disorder, it's important to distinguish feelings of sadness and despondency from clinical depression.
Clinical depression is more severe than brief periods of sadness. It is a serious mental illness characterized by more than two weeks of extremely low moods that affect how a person feels, thinks, and acts.
Types of depression
There are six main types of depression. Some are more closely related to menopause than others. The following are categories of depression linked to menopause:
Major depression. This lasts for more than two weeks and is characterized by intense feelings of sadness, loss of interest in normal activities, withdrawal from friends and family, and negative thoughts.
Did You Know?
Untreated depression can lead to a greater risk of heart attacks and osteoporosis.
Dysthymic disorder. Less intense than major depression, dysthymia often lasts for longer, normally for two years or more.
Adjustment disorder. This is often brought on by a stressful event or situation. It can be acute, lasting less than six months, or chronic, lasting longer than six months.
Risk Factors for Depression
- History of depression
- Smoking or quitting smoking
- Drug and alcohol use
- Surgical or medical menopause
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This type of depression is triggered by the seasons and most commonly caused by a lack of sunlight in the winter months.Other types of depression less associated with menopause, but just as severe, include the following:
Manic depression or bipolar disorder. This psychological disorder causes unusual shifts in a person's mood, energy, and ability to function, characterized by alternating episodes of mania and episodes of depression. Symptoms can be very severe.
- Psychotic depression. This includes some features of psychosis, such as hallucinations, delusions, and irrational thoughts and fears.
Click on the following link to read more about depression, or continue reading below to learn about the signs and symptoms of depression.