Depression is known at least as far back as 900 BC when the psalmist King David gave this vivid description of his emotions during one of the most severe storms in his life …“My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught.… My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me. I said, ‘Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest—I would flee far away and stay in the desert; I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.’ ” (Psalm 55:2, 4–8). As far back as the fourth century BC, the famous physician Hippocrates gave the first clinical description of “melancholia,” including the erratic mood swings of what is called Bipolar Disorder today.
There are conservatively speaking about three big groups or divisions of mood disorders:
- Depressive Disorders, which is primarily characterised by one extreme, emotionally-low state of depression. It is sometimes called, Unipolar Depression (uni = one, polar = pole) refers to “one extreme end,” and it is the most common type of Mood Disorder. Unipolar in the psychological community is subdivided into three types: Major Depression Disorder (MDD), Dysthymic Disorder, and Depressive Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. When there is continual depression, those with distressed hearts could understandably pray … “Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief.” (Psalm 31:9)
- Bipolar Disorders, which was formerly called Manic-Depression. Bipolar Disorders are characterised by alternating patterns of extreme emotional highs and lows – mania and depression. Bipolar (bi = two, polar = pole) refers to “two opposite ends.” Bipolar episodes of mania (an excessively elevated mood) can appear positive and productive to outsiders; however, true mania is negative because it usually leads to destructive decision-making, such as buying sprees, impulsive decisions, reckless driving, foolish investments, and immoral behaviour. Bipolar is subdivided into four types: Bipolar I Disorder, Bipolar II Disorder, Cyclothymia, and Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. When the heart is distressed because of a bipolar disorder, it can be natural to cry out to God for help as the psalmist did.… “I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands and my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered you, O God, and I groaned; I mused, and my spirit grew faint. You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak.” (Psalm 77:1–4)
- Mood Disorders Based on Etiology. The word etiology means “cause” or “origin.” The first type of etiological depression is: Mood Disorder Due to a General Medical Condition – This means that the unhealthy changes in the body due to illness cause psychological depression. For example, 20–40 % of those with a neurological condition (Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, Multiple Sclerosis, and/or stroke) develop a marked depression during illness. The second type of etiological depression is: Substance-Induced Mood Disorder – This means that something entering the body causes depression. The substance could be medication, drugs, or exposure to a toxin (for example, alcohol, sedatives, birth control pills, medications to treat various diseases such as Parkinson’s). No matter the cause, the depressed person feels … “I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart.” (Psalm 38:8)