Is There a Medical Term for Random Bouts of Depression?

Question by Alex: Is there a medical term for random bouts of depression?
Is there a medical term for random times of depression? or something along those lines?

If so, what, and what does it mean?

Best answer:

Answer by Clarissa
Some people with bipolar disorder only cycle to depression. They don’t ever cycle to mania. Obviously, it’s notoriously hard to diagnose someone who experiences bipolar disorder in this way.

Other people have seasonal affective disorder, where their depression comes and goes depending on the climate and exposure to sun.

There are also cases of depression that are secondary to disease processes like hypothyroidism and celiac disease. I personally have celiac disease and prior to getting treatment, the symptoms would be worse at times than others. It wasn’t until I started eating gluten free that it went away permanently, but prior to this I would go through bouts of depression and then I’d feel better for awhile and then go back. Surprisingly, depression is the most common symptom of celiac disease and many times is the only symptom. It’s really infuriating as a nurse to see so many patients go undiagnosed. A lot of suffering could be prevented if the physicians would just run basic blood tests.

I don’t know that I’ve heard of a specific term that means “random bouts of depression”, but there are several causes of it. Make sure you’re getting tested for underlying causes before they just prescribe an antidepressant for you and call it a day.

Answer by edmanman
The medical term is Dysthymia:
Dysthymia is chronic long lasting form of depression sharing many characteristic symptoms of major depressive disorder. However, these symptoms tend to be less severe but do fluctuate in intensity[2]. To be diagnosed an adult must experience 2 or more of the following symptoms “for most of the day more days than not for at least 2 years”:[3]

Feelings of hopelessness
Insomnia or hypersomnia
Poor concentration or difficulty making decisions
Low energy or fatigue
Low self-esteem
Poor appetite or overeating
Symptoms exclude “Manic, Hypomanic or Mixed Episodes commonly associated with bipolar disorder”[4][5] (If a person experience these episodes they may suffer from cyclothymia.)

People with dysthymia have a greater-than-average chance of developing major depression. Fluctuating symptoms intensity can trigger a full blown episode of major depression. This situation is sometimes called “double depression”[6] because the intense episode exists with the usual feelings of low mood.

As dysthymia is a chronic disorder, a person may often experience symptoms for many years before it is diagnosed, if diagnosis occurs at all. As a result, they tend to believe that depression is a part of his or her character. This, subsequently, may lead sufferers to not even discuss their symptoms with doctors, family members or friends.

Dysthymia, like major depression, tends to run in families. It is two to three times more common in women than in men. Some sufferers describe being under chronic stress. When treating diagnosed individuals, it is often difficult to tell whether they are under unusually high environmental stress or if the dysthymia causes them to be more psychologically stressed in a standard environment


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