Here’s a list of medical and mental illnesses (in alphabetical order) where depression occurs as a symptom. If you’re feeling depressed or suicidal you may have another issue you may not have considered. This is why it is always important to see a General Practitioner/Family Doctor. They will be able to rule out any other underlying medical concerns that could be related to your depressed mood.
This list has basic descriptions. If you are concerned you may have one of these illnesses you’ll want to do more of your own research, as well as, consult a trained medical professional.
Medical and mental illnesses where depression is a symptom:
Bipolar disorder is characterized by having extreme mood swings that fluctuate between depression and mania. When you feel depressed you have low energy, you feel hopeless and unhappy and have difficulty with daily activities. This depressed mood fluctuates with mania. During mania you may feel completely euphoric. You’re likely highly productive, and full of energy. Or, you may be completely impulsive and do things like gamble, party and have a lot of sex. There are different types of bipolar and each has different characteristics.
Borderline personality disorder
Individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD) suffer from a pervasive pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image and emotions. They are commonly considered unstable by friends and family members. Their moods fluctuate often and they have a tendency to say things that hurt people’s feelings. They often have a unhealthy self-image, which is related to unhealthy social interactions early in life. Some people with BPD exhibit impulsive and destructive self-injurious behaviors, like: Cutting themselves, attempting suicide and have lots of casual sex.
Depending on where a brain tumor is situated it may affect an individual’s mood and personality. An individual with a brain tumor will often start to act completely different from their past behaviors.
The types of eating disorders are:
- Anorexia – starvation behaviors
- Bullemia – cycles of eating and purging the body of food
- Binge eating – starving and then consuming large amounts of food in a short amount of time
While each type of eating disorder has different behaviors associated, they are all connected to unhealthy perceptions and relationships with food, weight and body image.
Doctors don’t have a clear understanding of what causes fibromyalgia. Though, many researchers believe it’s a problem with the way the brain deals with pain signals. Individuals who suffer from it deal with widespread pain that can occur in the neck, shins, elbows, lower back, hips and knees. Pain and stiffness can be worse in the morning. Individuals with fibromyalgia often experience fatigue, trouble sleeping or concentrating, or have frequent headaches.
Hypopituitarism is a rare disorder where the pituitary glands (an gland found in the brain that secretes hormones into the blood) don’t make enough hormones that are necessary in bodily functions of: Growth, metabolism, and sexual development. It’s often caused by brain tumors, head injuries, or infections.
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland can’t produce enough thyroid hormone. The thyrod gland affects how the body produces energy. The result of low thyroid is a slowing of body processes. Weight gain, fatigue and low mood.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease (that doctors do not completely understand). The body attacks healthy tissue in different ways. Symptoms are: Severe exhaustion, joint pain, and a “butterfly rash” on the cheeks and the bridge of the nose. Individuals with lupus may have mild symptoms, while some will develop life-threatening versions of the disease that attack the the kidneys and other organs. Symptoms come and go frequently. They can clear up entirely, disappear from months to years and return again.
Individuals with excess weight often suffer from depression. What is less clear whether it’s depression or weight gain that happens first. Eitherway, depression and weight gain go hand-in-hand. Trouble managing food and urges, increased appetite coupled with reduced activity and weight gain can lead to depression and thoughts of suicide. One recent study found that overall, obese individuals have a 20 percent elevated risk of depression.
Pick’s disease is a rare type of dementia that affects areas of the brain. It is similar in nature to Alzhiemers. Though, it has a more major affect on mood and behavior. It often runs in families. It starts between the ages of 40-60. Once symptoms start it takes usually 2-10 years for an individual with Pick’s to become fully disabled.
Porphyria is a rare genetic condition that affects the skin and nerves. It’s caused by low enzyme levels that prevent the body from making an essential protein in red blood cells. Without it, destructive chemicals build up in the blood and cause damage.
Many new mothers experience the “baby blues” within the first two weeks-four weeks after giving birth. Doctors suggest that all mothers are susceptible to it anytime within the first year of the baby’s life. New mothers deal with major life changes, sometimes loneliness, dealing with new fears, and changes in hormone and lack of sleep. But, postpartum depression is more severe and long-lasting. It occurs when the depression last longer than two weeks. Symptoms are: Sadness, hopelessness, anxiety, loss of energy, loss of interest in things, guilt, changes in appetite, and insomnia. Sometimes a woman may experience negative feelings about her baby or thoughts of harming her child. In rare cases, postpartum psychosis can occur and the woman will experience delusions of hallucinations. Symptoms that last for more than two weeks or even up to a week should be addressed immediately to prevent unnecessary harm to the mother or baby from occurring.
Post traumatic stress disorder is delayed anxiety disorder that occurs 6 months to one year after an event. It can happens commonly to individuals who suffer from a dangerous or traumatic experiences, such as a war, natural disaster, abuse, assault, or accident. Many individuals who have PTSD experience flashbacks, bad dreams about the event or have difficulty sleeping. They may also feel agitated, guilty, depressed, or emotionally numb. Individuals with PTSD may avoid people or things that remind them of the event.
Premenstral Dysphoric Disorder
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome where a woman experience major mood fluctuations that interfere with her ability to do regular activities. It occurs immediately before menstruation and often goes away during her period. It can cause a women to be severely depressed, or irritable. The causes are not fully known, but hormonal changes and fluctuation of the brain chemical serotonin may play a part.
Premenstral syndrome (PMS)
PMS is a common condition that affects many women during the two weeks prior to their period. Symptoms vary from woman to woman. Generally, they include such things as bloating, irritability, fatigue, breast swelling and tenderness, and depressed mood. The mood may be slightly distressing but will not interfere with a woman’s ability to carry out regular activities.
Schizophrenia is a serious, chronic mental illness. People who have schizophrenia often hear voices, see things that aren’t there, or believe that the world is plotting against them. It can occur between the teen years and age 40. Doctors don’t understand exactly what causes schizophrenia, but it can run in families. It can also be brought on through regular substance abuse that over time causes changes in brain chemistry. There is no cure for schizophrenia. Therapy and medications can help treat symptoms and many people can live happy lives with this illness.
Mood is highly affected mental drinking alcohol or taking drugs, (including some prescription drugs). While a substance will bring a mood up and make an individual feel better immediately after taking in, it also brings their mood down further as the substance wheres off. The symptoms are the same as depression or mania: depressed mood, lack of interest in activities, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, sleep problems, talkativeness, distractedness, or suicidal thoughts.
Seasonal depression, or SAD, is depression that occurs every year during a change of season. SAD can cause problems ranging from sadness and sleep problems to anxiety and moodiness. SAD is most common in fall and winter when the weather turns cold, people spend more time indoors and they weather can be grey and rainy. In this case, symptoms will improve during spring and summer months. In rare cases, people have SAD in spring and summer and their symptoms improve in the fall. Doctors are unclear what causes said. It could be related to light, hormones, lack of vitamin D from the sun or changes in body temperature. SAD is treated with light therapy, antidepressants, and psychotherapy.
If you feel depressed your first step is to get a diagnosis and rule out all other issues that could be affecting your mood. And, most importantly, make sure you take small daily actions to live a great life that you love to wake up.
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