Stages Of Depression

Are There Stages Of Depression?

Are there specific stages of depression, such as anger, denial, and acceptance, which we experience in certain facets of our life such as misfortune, death of a loved one, or coming to terms with an addiction?

It might be a good thing if stages of depression could indeed be easily identified. Any time a disorder goes though specific well-defined stages, it's usually easier to treat the disorder and perhaps shortstop it from progressing further.

An Episodic Disorder - Depression unfortunately is no such animal, and when we suffer from it we don't progress for one stage to another. Depression is almost a custom-made disorder in that it affects people differently. It is an episodic disorder, which for most people comes and goes, although in the more severe cases it may be more or less a permanent presence.

Occasional feelings of depression are not usually unhealthy. We all experience them from time to time, and most of us get over the feelings quickly, almost as if we have a disorder one minute (or day), and simply forget about it the next. When we do feel depressed we most often tie the feeling to a specific happening or event, although we do have those days where everything seems a bit hopeless, or we merely wonder for a time if our existence has any real purpose.

Those who suffer from chronic depression either don't know what may have triggered an occurrence, or anything can trigger it. Depression does not spring from a single cause. There are many different causes. If there was a single cause, it might indeed be possible to talk about stages of depression, but there isn't, and we can't.

Types Of Depression - Not only is there not any one single cause for depression, there are a number of different well-defined types of depression, some of which stem from known causes, and others of which do not. One of the better known types is postpartum depression, which many women experience soon after giving birth to a child. There is a mix of causes behind this type of depression, including behavioral changes, physical changes, and emotional changes. Fortunately postpartum depression is usually a temporary condition that may last up to a year, though more often lasts only a few weeks.

Dysthymic depression and cyclothymic depression are more permanent, but usually milder forms of depression, seldom becoming incapacitating, whereas a bipolar disorder can be characterized by mild to extreme mood swings in which the person has feelings bordering on exhilaration for a time, followed by periods of mild to deep depression. The most severe type of depression is simply called major depression, and is a condition that is generally on-going, and one in which the person involved often loses interest in most everything, including living.

Watch For Symptoms Of Depression, Not Stages Of Depression - Whether you are suffering from depression or someone you know appears to be, it is of little use attempting to determine at stage the depression is at, as there is really no such a thing. About all that can be said is that depression may increase in frequency and/or severity over time. That's not unusual, but neither is it a pattern that everyone is apt to follow. It's best to recognize some of the symptoms, and seek professional help if any of them are present. Unless it's the result of a traumatic or emotionally wrenching event or happening, depression tends to develop slowly in most cases. The more common symptoms include feelings of hopelessness, and unhappiness, anxiety and a loss of self-confidence, or a feeling of worthlessness. One may experience confusing thoughts, or develop a tendency to procrastinate. In some cases life may cease to be of much fun or interest, and in severe cases, thoughts of suicide may be entertained. None of these are stages, but all of them are important to watch out for.