There are not 1, but 4 types of depression ranging from insomnia to anxiety. Results were revealed through 1,100 brain scans.
“I am depressed. It’s just a long-term bout of sadness which may or may not pass. It’s a simple disease, really, one which is known for its incredibly dark nature – the symptoms are the same with all of us mentally ill patients. We’re just too melancholy to help ourselves. What a crock!”
Me, a rather sarcastic victim of depression
Just when you thought you’d put your thumb on depression, it wiggles from underneath its bindings and grows tentacles in every direction. From each vantage point, the psycho-octopoid twists and digs into the psyche feeding each frayed connection with a beautiful array of flaws. Sounds kind of lovely in a twisted way, huh?
It seems that depression is not just one thing, one label and with one set of symptomatic clues. Types of depression are varied, displaying a different set of symptoms accordingly – it depends on the individual. Well, for the most part, that’s correct. The absolute truth is that depression can be loosely categorized in a few ways, determined by brain scans.
So, now we’re getting somewhere. Science catalogs depression in four different ways.
Anxiety, Insomnia, and fatigue are all characteristics of Biotype 1 Depression. I guess it’s hard to imagine being anxious and exhausted a the same time, but it’s true. Take, for instance, the mind is busy at work attempting to fix problems that are causing panic, while the body is exhausted in doing so. This is a great example of anxiety and fatigue fighting a losing battle against one another. If the mind continues this struggle, despite the physical fatigue, insomnia will be inevitable by nightfall.
Exhaustion and low energy are the symptoms associated with Biotype 2. Although there is no struggle between ups and down along the mental and physical plane, there is a struggle just to complete the day’s work. I’m not talking about being a little tired and unmotivated. What I refer to is sleeping all day and feeling like the weight of the world is literally on your shoulders…your head and the rest of your being as well.
Are you feeling overwhelmed yet? Here’s a snippet from Pink Floyd, Comfortably Numb,
“Just the basic facts…can you show me where it hurts?”
Biotype 3 is like being comfortably numb. To some people, this type can be the worst one. The inability to receive pleasure, which is a marked characteristic of this type, can be devastating, especially in intimate relationships. Slow speech and movements can also become a hindrance and irritate stress levels of both you and your loved ones. It’s as if everything is shutting down in preparation for some cataclysmic breakdown. Well, maybe not that bad, but it determines our outlook on other things as well.
This one could be one of the worst types of depression! I keep changing my mind about these things. Biotype 4 is noticed by its inability to receive pleasure along with anxiety and nights of insomnia. Anxiety can either sap pleasure with its irritability or be caused by the lack of pleasure that was already the issue. Insomnia can be influenced by either one, or simply occur regardless despite whether or not the lack of pleasure or anxiety is present. The most severe are when all three occur simultaneously. This is pure chaos.
Why is understanding Biotypes of depression so important?
For some patients, antidepressants work well, but for others, there is a need for neurostimulation. Understanding which brain connectivity is off will reveal proper treatment, which also saves time and money, as well. Bypassing otherwise trial and error procedures gets the patient on a regimen that works much sooner and decreases incidents, such as loss of work, loss of appetite and, in worst cases, attempted suicide.
Dr. Conor Liston, who led the research, says,
“The four subtypes of depression that we discovered vary in terms by the clinical symptoms, but more importantly, they differ in their response to treatment. We can now predict with high accuracy whether or not a patient will respond to transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy, which is significant because it takes five weeks to know if this type of treatment works.”
As doctor Liston also said,
“Depression is typically diagnosed based on things that we are experiencing, but as in election polling, the results you get depend a lot on the way you ask the question. Brain scans are objective.”
I know what you must be thinking, “Why can’t we just observe symptoms to understand the needed treatment?” Well, if you haven’t noticed, many patients are being misdiagnosed due to misunderstanding symptoms. With brain scans, connectivity will not lie or exaggerate the truth. Biomarkers show the exact area in which flaw is occurring.
I think maybe that’s just what we need. Instead of judging or feeling sorry for ourselves. Maybe we need an objective outlook about depression.
Hopes for the future include using brain scans and therapy together to analyze both symptoms and biological indicators to come to a clearer diagnosis. This could greatly increase our quality of life!
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