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Depression and Bipolar Disorder are both mood disorders. Mood disorders cannot be willed away or shaken off. Without treatment symptoms can worsen and last longer.

Depressive Disorders

Depression negatively affects how a person thinks, feels and behaves. Depression typically first appears in late adolescence and early adulthood but can affect anyone, at any age.

  • Dysthymic Disorder (Dysthymia): Less severe than major depression, dysthymia involves long-term chronic, low-grade depressive symptoms that decrease functioning and quality of life and increase the risk of a major depressive episode.
  • Major Depressive Disorder (MDD): More than just normal sadness, MDD is persistent and significantly interferes with life functioning.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Depression brought on by seasonal changes usually during the winter months, generally lifting during spring and summer
  • Postpartum Depression: Depression resulting from hormonal changes after childbirth and parenting stress.

Bipolar Disorders

Marked by extreme mood swings, severe highs (mania), and/or lows (depression), bipolar disorder causes unusual shifts in a person’s mood, energy levels, and ability to function. While everyone goes through ups and downs, bipolar symptoms are severe and each mood episode is a drastic change from a person’s usual mood and behavior. Bipolar disorder typically develops in late adolescence or early adulthood, although some teenagers and children may develop symptoms earlier and it can also first occur later in life.