Depression is a potentially crippling mental disorder that effects people of all ages. Depression is also one of the most misunderstood disorders that there is, with some types being nearly impossible to diagnose until after several years of treatment.
There are several different types of known depression. Some of the most common are Bipolar Disorder, also known as Manic Depression, Major Depression, Postpartum Depression, Atypical Depression, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and Dysthymic Disorder.
The more serious of these disorders is Major Depression and Bipolar Disorder. People that suffer from Major Depression experience feelings of fatigue, lack of interest in things that they used to enjoy, including sex, depressive mood, drastic weight fluctuation, either gain or loss, low self esteem, hopelessness and thoughts of suicide. Most of these symptoms must be present for more than a two week period in order for a doctor to diagnose you with Major Depression. People that suffer from Major Depression experience a high rate of suicide.
People with Bipolar Disorder experience a high rate of suicide also. Mood swings are very common with Manic sufferers, sometimes violent. You can be talking to an individual and everything will be fine and they may immediately turn on you or someone else. They experience "high" periods where they feel as if they can conquer the world. These periods may last for hours or even days, but at any time, the depression always returns. Bipolar sufferers sometimes mutilate their bodies. You may notice scars up and down their arms or legs.
If you are having any of these symptoms and they've been longer than two weeks, it's very important that you let someone close to you know how you're feeling and make arrangements to see a doctor as soon as possible. Do not keep it to yourself! You can get help and get back to living a normal life.