What is the Worst Stage of Depression

Depression: phases and forms

Shorter or longer, one-off or recurring - depression can vary greatly in shape. The duration, intensity and number of the depressive phases decide what name we give to the respective form of the course. Due to the many terminology, it can sometimes be difficult to keep track of things. We would like to support you precisely and introduce you to the various courses and phases of depression.

When do we speak of phases of depression?

Our well-being has ups and downs. However, if our moods are down or hopeless for more than two weeks, we feel more exhausted or less focused, it may be more than a temporary low mood.

Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses. Even if the phases of depression express themselves very differently, they have in common that we should take them seriously.

Opposite poles

When we talk about the forms of depression, the term of the mania to encounter. Just like depression, mania is one of the mental illnesses that are associated with a change in mood - the so-called "mood disorders". However, the mood does not move downwards, but upwards. Mania is, so to speak, the opposite of depression.

When do we speak of phases of mania?

A manic phase is characterized by a clearly elevated mood. Wait a minute - isn't a good mood what everyone wants? That's true, but a mania is more than a brief exhilaration or a good mood. Those affected experience an atypical high mood for more than four days, are often more active, sociable and talkative than usual. Sleep is sometimes a minor matter. It is not uncommon for people to overestimate themselves and endanger themselves or others through thoughtless, reckless behavior. A Hypomania is a milder manifestation of a manic phase.

The most common form of depression

Unipolar Depression represent the most common form. The word "unipolar" means something like "in one direction". So there are only phases of depression and no manic or hypomanic episodes. Depending on the number, duration and strength of the phases, the course forms can be further subdivided.

A single phase

If a person experiences depression for the first time in their life, we speak of one depressive episode. Depending on the number of complaints, this is described as mild, moderate or severe. The duration can be several weeks, but also months. The good news is that we can make an impact through treatment. While phases of depression last an average of six to twelve months if left untreated, treatment shortens the duration by an average of three months. The intensity of the complaints can also be reduced in this way.

When depression comes back

Around half of those affected will experience at least one other phase of depression in their lifetime. This form is called recurrent, i.e. recurring, depression. The period between the individual episodes can be months, years, but also decades. Sometimes depression can return (or occur for the first time) in certain life situations, such as when depression occurs during menopause.

If the complaints persist

About every tenth depression takes a chronic course. If the complaints persist for more than two years, we speak of one chronic depression

This is also one of the long-lasting forms of depression Dysthymia. This is a chronic depressive mood. It also lasts for at least two years. Periods of normal mood can occur, but are rarely longer than a few weeks.

In contrast to chronic depression, the symptoms are not, or only very rarely, so pronounced that the criteria for a depressive episode are met. If this is the case and a depressive episode develops in the course of a dysthymia, one can develop what is known as double depression (Double depression) speak.

Bipolar - phases of depression and mania

You may have heard of bipolar or manic-depressive illness before. As you can probably already guess from the name, in addition to phases of depression, at least one manic or hypomanic episode also occurs in this form. These do not necessarily have to alternate or be in a balanced relationship. As soon as the "curve" no longer deflects in one but in both directions, "unipolar" becomes "bipolar".

When the mood fluctuates

Even with the Cyclothymia the mood swings in both directions. Compared to bipolar disorder, however, these “waves” are less pronounced. The mood is characterized by instability with slight depressive symptoms and slightly elevated mood for at least two years. A complete manic or depressive episode, however, does not occur.

When improvement occurs

Now you have already learned a lot about the types of depression that exist and what characterizes them. For the vast majority of people, periods of depression will pass at some point. Even this condition, when the symptoms have subsided, has a name. He is considered (part) Remission designated. After half a year of complete remission, we can speak of recovery. If symptoms reappear, we speak of a relapse, i.e. one Relapse. This is where the term recurrent depression comes from.

Treatment in the phases of depression

The focus of treatment for depression is based on where we are “on the curve”. At the lowest point, i.e. where the complaints are severe, it comes Acute therapy to carry. It aims at improvement and relief. The Maintenance therapy begins when we are at the point of remission. The aim is to keep the improvements going. It may make sense to continue the treatment even after the maintenance therapy has ended. At this stage, the Relapse prevention, the therapy sessions take place over a period of a maximum of 2 years at greater intervals. The aim is to reduce the likelihood of relapse.

We have seen that the courses of depression can look very different. But there is also something in common. Regardless of whether the phases of depression are unipolar or bipolar, recurring or chronic, there are effective treatment methods with which we can positively influence the course.

At HelloBetter, for example, we have developed online psychological training that has been proven to reduce depressive symptoms and prevent phases of depression.

Categories DepressionTags Depression, depressive phases, information, course