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What Is Depression?


Are There Other Types of Depression?

Other types of depression that can occur include:

  • Double depression -- a condition that happens when a person with chronic depression (dysthymia) experiences an episode of major depression.
  • Secondary depression -- a depression that develops after the development of a medical condition such as hypothyroidism, stroke, Parkinson's disease, or AIDS, or after a psychiatric problem such as schizophrenia, panic disorder, or bulimia.
  • Treatment-resistant depression -- a condition that doesn't respond to treatment with antidepressants, and may be longstanding or chronic. For chronic treatment-resistant depression, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is sometimes the treatment of choice depending on the nature and severity of symptoms.
  • Masked depression -- a depression that is hidden behind physical complaints for which no organic cause can be found.


What Illnesses Occur With Depression?

Depression commonly occurs with other illnesses such as anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, phobias, and eating disorders. If you or a loved one has symptoms of depression or another mental illness, talk to your doctor. Treatments are available to lift the depression and other mental illnesses.

For more information, see WebMD's article on Depression and Other Mental Illnesses.

Can Depression Have Physical Symptoms?

Because certain brain chemicals or neurotransmitters, specifically serotonin and norepinephrine, influence both mood and pain, it's not uncommon for depressed individuals to have physical symptoms. These symptoms may include joint pain, back pain, gastrointestinal problems, sleep disturbances, and appetite changes. The symptoms may also be accompanied by slowed speech and movements. Many people go from doctor to doctor seeking treatment for their physical symptoms when, in fact, they are clinically depressed.

Where Can I Get Help for Depression?

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of depression, seek care from your health care provider. He or she will evaluate your symptoms and provide treatment or refer you to a mental health professional. 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on May 11, 2014
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