Dysthymia is a milder form of depression. The symptoms are mild and chronic and persist for years before the patient actually seeks any medical advice. For the diagnosis of dysthymia, the symptoms of depression should be present for more than two years.
Bipolar disorder is characterized by distinct episodes of mania and depression. At one time, when the person has an episode of depression, he can have low mood and lack of energy, while during a manic episode he has excessive energy to perform all activities. He feels good about the energy he possesses and can also have ideas of grandiosity and racing thoughts (DSM-IV).
There are other entities which have been associated with depression. Such an example is postpartum depression. It is not as common as depressive disorder. It can be seen up to six months after delivery.
Seasonal affective disorder causes depression in patients during different seasons. It has been commonly seen in winter months when patient have low mood and are easily fatigued.
Depression is also a feature of many medical disorders. Depression is seen in hypothyroidism, cardiovascular diseases, autoimmune disorders and diabetes. It is also seen in post surgical patients after coronary artery bypass or neurosurgical procedure. Depression can also be caused by various medications and substance abuse like alcohol.
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