Also known as: clinical depression, depression, unipolar depression.
Major depression is when you feel sad, down or miserable most of the time. You might also lose interest in things you usually enjoy.
Types of major depression include melancholia, psychotic and antenatal or postnatal. You may be diagnosed with mild, moderate or severe depression.
Your mental health professional may diagnose you with depression if these symptoms:
- happen most days
- last for at least two weeks
- impact on many areas of your life, including work and social relationships.
Learn more about Signs and symptoms of depression.
Melancholia is severe depression which often has physical symptoms. You might:
- move more slowly
- feel sad, down or miserable
- be completely unable to enjoy anything.
Sometimes depression can include losing touch with reality or experiencing psychosis.
Symptoms of psychotic depression can include hallucinations, delusions and paranoia.
You might see or hear things that aren't there.
A delusion is a false belief that isn’t shared by others. For example, you might believe that you’re:
- bad or evil
- being watched or followed.
If you feel paranoid you might:
- feel like everyone is against you
- believe that other people have made you ill or caused bad things to happen.
Antenatal and postnatal depression
Your risk of developing depression is higher during pregnancy and in the first year after childbirth. During pregnancy around 10 per cent of women experience depression. In the first three months after having a baby this increases to 16 per cent.
Depression which develops during pregnancy and after childbirth has a few different names:
- antenatal or prenatal depression – depression during pregnancy
- postnatal depression - depression in the year after childbirth
- perinatal depression – any time during pregnancy or in the year after childbirth.
The baby blues
Around 80 per cent of women get the ‘baby blues’ in the first few days after childbirth. You might feel tearful or overwhelmed, but this will pass in a few days with care and support.
The baby blues happens because of changes in your hormones after your baby is born and doesn’t mean you’ll develop depression.
Learn more: Perinatal depression and the baby blues.
I thought he'd be better off without me.
Read Sandi's experience with post-natal depression.