Depressive Disorders, Their Types and Causes


Depressive disorders refer to various diseases that affect a person’s mood, thoughts, and body. Beesdo, Pine, Lieb, and Wittchen (2010) hold that the illnesses affect a person’s normal functioning as well as daily life. Depressive disorders do not only affect the victim but also individuals who are close to the patient. Many people confuse depressive disorders with blue mood. Depressive disorders are not conditions that one can wish away. People suffering from the conditions can hardly pull themselves together. The conditions can last for weeks or even years if not treated. A patient who suffers from depressive disorder requires treatment to heal. Beesdo et al. (2010) allege that there are diverse forms of depressive disorders. However, the most predominant types of depressive disorder include major depressive disorder, bipolar mood disorder, adjustment disorder and post-natal depression. Depressive disorders are prevalent and at least 20% of the people suffer from the condition at one time or another. Depressive disorders are severe and stressful diseases that pose a significant threat to one’s life and health. Medical professionals encourage individuals suffering from depressive disorders to seek professional assessment. Benazzi (2006) posits that depressive disorders can be cured if treated in advance. This report will discuss Depressive disorders, their causes, symptoms, and management.

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Types of Depressive Disorders

There are numerous types of depressive disorders. They include major depressive disorder, bipolar mood disorder, adjustment disorder, and post-natal depression. The major depressive disorder is the most prevalent form of depression. An individual suffering from this condition lacks interest in life and looks gloomy. Additionally, a victim of major depressive disorder has a little appetite and suffers from insomnia. Benazzi (2006) maintains that there is no perceptible cause of the major depressive disorder. The condition can affect even individuals who seem to do well in life. On the other hand, adjustment disorder refers to a kind of depression that has an impact on a person due to his/her inability to cope with a distressing condition. Beesdo et al. (2010) claim that marriage breakups and job loss are conditions which lead to adjustment disorder. An individual develops anxiety and feels depressed. Adjustment disorder may last for days, weeks or even years. People suffering from adjustment disorder require medical attention to enable them to cope with the condition.

Post-natal depression is also referred to as ‘baby blues’. Devanand (2014) avers that post-natal disorder is a form of depressive disorder that impacts new mothers. The parents feel placidly dejected, tensed, anxious or unwell. It becomes hard for the parents to sleep. Post-natal depression is short-lived and may last for a few days or hours. Devanand (2014) claims that the condition may at times degenerate to post-natal depression. The mothers encounter challenges dealing with daily life. They suffer from extreme tiredness, hopelessness, trepidation, and grief. A severe form of post-natal depression is referred to as puerperal psychosis. However, this condition is rare to occur. Bipolar mood disorder was initially called manic depression. An individual suffering from this condition experiences depressive incidents interchanging with durations of mania entailing over-activity, recklessness, ecstasy, and petulance. In severe cases, a person with bipolar disorder may also suffer from delusions.

Signs and Symptoms

Individuals suffering from depressive disorders do not find pleasure in life. They suffer from low spirit. The persons are unable to concentrate and suffer from irregular sleep patterns and little appetite. Additionally, they feel guilty. Gomez, Vance, and Gomez (2014) claim that persons suffering from depressive disorders may at times contemplate suicide. The effects of major disruptive disorder on patients’ health and functioning are akin to those of unremitting illnesses like diabetes. Persons with depressive disorders show extremely low mood, that permeates all spheres of life. Depressed individuals may be thoughtful of, or ponder over, feelings of inapt guilt, insignificance or regret. Additionally, they develop self-hatred and feel hopeless and helpless. In severe cases, individuals suffering depressive disorders exhibit signs of psychosis. The symptoms include hallucinations and delusions. Other symptoms of the depressive disorders include isolation from social activities and lack of concentration. Benazzi (2006) argues that insomnia might be another sign of the depressive disorders.

Individuals suffering from depressive disorders may exhibit physical signs of headaches, fatigue, and metabolic challenges. According to Devanand (2014), a majority of the people in developing countries show these physical symptoms. A person’s appetite goes down leading to weight loss. Nonetheless, some patients develop increased appetite when suffering from depressive disorders. Such individuals may end up gaining a lot of weight. According to Gomez et al. (2014), it is easy to notice a person suffering from a depressive disorder because his/her behavior changes. A person may become lackluster or restless. Older individuals who suffer major depressive disorders exhibit cognitive challenges. The victims become forgetful and have difficulties in movement. According to Gomez et al. (2014), older people with depressive disorders suffer from other conditions like cardiovascular diseases, stroke and Parkinson’s disease. On the other hand, children who suffer from major depressive disorders exhibit different symptoms. The symptoms depend on the age of a child. Many children start to hate school and perform poorly. Besides, the children become demanding, insecure, clingy, and dependent.

Related Conditions

Psychological problems accompany depressive disorders. Benazzi (2006) holds that at least 50% of patients who suffer from depressive disorders also have anxiety. Stress signs impact one’s ability to cope with the depressive disorder. A patient takes long to recover and is susceptible to lapses. Besides, a person contemplates suicide. According to neuroendocrinologists, there are high correlations between depressive disorders and anxiety. At times, a person with depressive disorder indulges in alcohol and drug abuse. According to Lewinsohn, Rhode, Seeley, Klein, and Gotlib (2000), pain accompanies depressive disorders. Over 65% of patients who suffer from depressive disorders report that they have pain. Pain makes it hard for the medical staff to diagnose depressive disorders, thus making the conditions severe. Lewinsohn et al. (2000) cite cardiovascular disease as another condition that is associated with depressive disorders.


According to Orstavik, Kendler, Czajkowski, Tambs, and Reichborn-Kjennerud (2007), depressive disorders come as a result of psychological, biological, and social factors. The diathesis-stress model holds that depressive disorders arise as a result of activation of a pre-existing susceptibility. The vulnerability may be schematic or as a result of interaction between the natural world and nurture. Devanand (2014) holds that a damage of cerebellum can also lead to depressive disorders.

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Psychological Causes

Orstavik et al. (2007) argue that different facets of personality and its growth seem to contribute to the rising of depressive disorders. The primary antecedents of depressive disorders are negative emotions. In spite of the depressive disorders being associated with embarrassing incidents, an individual’s way of dealing with severe conditions can impact one’s resilience. Besides, low self-esteem, fuzzy thinking, and self-defeating thoughts cause the depressive disorders. Gomez et al. (2014) maintain that religious persons can hardly suffer from the depressive disorders. Furthermore, it is easy for religious persons to cope with the depressive disorders. Lewinsohn et al. (2000) allege that it is difficult to distinguish between the impacts and causes of the depressive disorders. Nevertheless, a person who suffers from depressive disorder may resolve the condition by changing his/her thinking patterns.

American psychiatrists cite three primary principles that contribute to the depressive disorders. According to Devanand (2014), they are “a triad of negative thoughts composed of cognitive error about oneself, one’s world, and one’s future, repetitive patterns of depressive thinking, and distorted information processing” (p. 43). Individuals with depressive disorders blame themselves for their woes. As a result, it becomes hard for such people to accept themselves even when they achieve something positive. The social cognitive theory holds that individuals who suffer from depressive disorders do not believe in themselves particularly if they go through a series of disappointments (Devanand, 2014). The persons’ emotional and somatic states coupled with disappointments of social models exacerbate the conditions.

The attachment theory argues that there is a correlation between depressive disorders and a person’s upbringing (Gomez et al., 2014). An individual that is separated from the parents at an early age may suffer from the depressive disorder at adulthood. Besides, psychologists claim that persons who lose their parents at a young age or suffer rejection and separation by parents may suffer from the depressive disorders. A child develops negative internal cognitive representation. The lack of parental love makes the child believe that he/she is unlovable. Eventually, the child develops depressive disorder at a later age.

A study conducted on women found that depressive disorders can arise as a result of numerous vulnerability factors. The factors include lack of close confidant, early maternal loss, unemployment and domestic responsibilities. These factors together with life stressors augment women’s possibility of developing the depressive disorders. According to Orstavik et al. (2007), older people develop depressive disorders due to incongruity with spouses or children, health problems, or loss of loved ones. The humanistic and psychoanalytic fields of psychology hold that depressive disorders can arise as a result of the interpersonal loss. According to Sigmund Freud; a renowned psychiatrist, a person’s early life encounters, and loses can lead to depressive disorders.


Petersson, Mathillas, Wallin, Olofsson, and Allard (2014) aver that application of preventive mechanisms may reduce the possibility of a person suffering from depressive disorder by at least 22%. Psychologists recommend cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy as the most effective methods of preventing depressive disorders. Nevertheless, the two approaches cannot reach many people simultaneously. According to Pine, Cohen, Gurley, Brook, and Ma (1998), social support programs help to prevent depressive disorders amid the old. The programs equip the old with skills on how to deal with depressive feelings. Psychoeducational interventions can also go a long way towards alleviating the possibility of depressive disorders.


Petersson et al. (2014) allege that psychotherapy is the most efficient method of managing depressive disorders. Psychologists can deliver psychotherapy to families, groups or individuals. Research conducted in the United States showed that cognitive behavioral therapy was as effective as antidepressant drugs in treating depressive disorders. For the case of chronic depressive disorders, it is imperative to use psychotherapy in conjunction with other treatment methods. Two forms of cognitive behavioral therapy facilitate management of depressive disorders. They are mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and rational emotive behavior therapy. According to Lewinsohn et al. (2000), mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) helps to prevent the relapse of depressive disorder. The method utilizes custom cognitive behavioral therapy approaches together with novel psychological techniques like mindfulness meditation. The cognitive strategies include teaching people about depressive disorders (Petersson et al., 2014). On the other hand, mindfulness meditation entails assisting people to become conscious of the incoming emotions and thoughts. The method teaches individuals how to cope with the feelings and thoughts without being attached to them.

Champions of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy believe that a person who has ever suffered from depression is likely to have a relapse if distressed (Orstavik et al., 2007). The goal of MBCT is to assist people to deal with incoming stimuli that may lead to relapse. MBCT boosts one’s metacognitive ability making it possible for people to embrace negative thought patterns without reacting to them. It becomes easy for people to decenter their pessimistic emotions and thoughts. A person’s mind shifts from a habitual thought pattern to a conscious emotional dispensation.

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The rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) is also referred to as rational therapy (Lewinsohn et al., 2000). It addresses behavioral and emotional challenges that might trigger depressive disorders. The primary objective of REBT is to assist individuals to empower themselves. The therapy is premised on the assumption that unfavorable conditions do not depress people. Instead, how people create their outlooks of adverse conditions through evaluative beliefs, language, and attitudes about the universe and themselves is what triggers the depressive disorders. REBT helps people to identify and dispute self-defeating meanings and irrational philosophies that make them feel depressed (Petersson et al., 2014). Psychologists maintain that humans have both intrinsic rational and extrinsic unreasonable penchants and inclinations. Individuals to a large extent intentionally and involuntarily create psychological intricacies like guilt, self-pity, and anxiety. Additionally, they deliberately or inadvertently construct behavior penchants such as avoidance, procrastination, withdrawal, and compulsiveness through irrational thoughts.

The rational emotive behavior therapy is therefore utilized as a didactic procedure in which the psychologist teaches people how to recognize irrational and self-defeating thoughts and viewpoints that in temperament are inflexible, unreasonable, unworkable, and absolutist (Petersson et al., 2014). Once a person recognizes the absurd and self-defeating thoughts, he/she vehemently disputes and questions them and substitutes them with consistent and constructive beliefs. The psychiatrists assist victims of depressive disorders in applying emotive, cognitive and behavioral activities and approaches to acquiring productive and rational behaviors, emotions and thoughts (Orstavik et al., 2007). REBT teaches people that they have the power to choose between being happy and being sad whenever they encounter stressful conditions. It helps people to realize and implant a more logical and self-constructive belief of themselves, their friends and the universe. In return, they exude self-confidence in the times of adversities and can successfully deal with depressive situations.


Depressive disorders refer to a collection of diseases that affect mood, thoughts, and body. The illnesses impair one’s normal functioning. The conditions do affect not only the victim but also friends and relatives. The illnesses include major depressive disorder, bipolar mood disorder, post-natal disorder and adjustment disorder. Depressive disorders affect all people regardless of age or gender. Individuals who suffer from depressive disorders lack interest in life. Besides, the appetite subsides, and they suffer from irregular sleep patterns. The people develop self-hatred and may at times contemplate suicide. The patients exhibit physical signs of headaches, fatigue, and metabolic difficulties. A person who suffers from a depressive disorder is easy to notice as his/her behavior changes. One of the psychological challenges associated with depressive disorders is nervousness. Additionally, a victim of depressive disorder feels pain. Depressive disorders arise as a result of psychological, biological and social factors. The psychological causes of depressive disorders include low self-esteem, fuzzy thinking, and self-defeating thoughts. A person’s upbringing can also cause the depressive disorder. Maternal loss causes depressive disorders amid women.

Psychologists recommend cognitive behavioral therapy as the best approach to preventing depressive disorders. Psychotherapy helps in the management of depressive disorders. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and rational emotive behavior therapy are the two most effective methods of managing depressive disorders. The mindfulness-based cognitive therapy teaches people how to deal with feelings that can arouse depressive disorders. On the other hand, the rational emotive behavior therapy equips people with skills to counter emotions that might lead to depressive disorders. It enables people to substitute irrational and pessimistic thoughts with logical and constructive beliefs.

Reference List

Beesdo, K., Pine, D., Lieb, R., & Wittchen, H. (2010). Incidence and risk patterns of anxiety and depressive disorders and categorization of generalized anxiety disorder. Archives of General Psychiatry, 67(1), 47-52.

Benazzi, F. (2006). Mood patterns and classification in bipolar disorder. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 19(1), 1-8.

Devanand, D. (2014). Dysthymic disorder in the elderly population. International Psychogeriatrics, 26(1), 39-48.

Gomez, R., Vance, A., & Gomez, R. (2014). The factor structure of anxiety and depressive disorders in a sample of clinic-referred adolescents. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 42(2), 321-332.

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Lewinsohn, P., Rhode, P., Seeley, J., Klein, D., & Gotlib, I. (2000). Natural course of adolescent major depressive disorder in a community sample: Predictors of recurrence in young adults. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 157(10), 1584-1591.

Orstavik, R., Kendler, K., Czajkowski, N., Tambs, K., & Reichborn-Kjennerud, T. (2007). The relationship between depressive personality disorder and major depressive disorder: A population-based twin study. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 164(12), 1866-1872.

Petersson, S., Mathillas, J., Wallin, K., Olofsson, B., & Allard, P. (2014). Risk factors for depressive disorders in very old age: A population-based cohort study with a 5-year follow-up. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 49(5), 831-839.

Pine, D., Cohen, P., Gurley, D., Brook, J., & Ma, Y. (1998). The risk for early-adulthood anxiety and depressive disorders in adolescent with anxiety and depressive disorders. Archives of General Psychiatry, 55(1), 56-64.

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