Different Types of Depression

types of depression

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Every person feels sad at some points in their life, but if you feel like sadness is causing you to be less productive than usual and it’s affecting your life, then you may be struggling with depression.

Depression is more than just a melancholy mood and the symptoms of depression may vary from person to person. The usual symptoms may include everything from sadness, hopelessness to even physical pain.

Read more: I Found a Way to Live Without Depression

This disorder can cause a lot of different changes, both emotional and physical. The usual physical changes include weight loss or gain and chronic pain. Depression affects the emotional state of the person a lot more severely than the physical changes. Emotional changes may include feelings of guilt, hopelessness, fear, insomnia, and losing interest in sex and other activities.

Unbeknownst to many, there are several different types of depression, ranging from mild up to severe, persistent depression.

Here are the different types of depression and their usual symptoms:

Major Depression

This is the most common type of depression and the symptoms may include:

  • Extreme sadness
  • Losing interest in activities that used to please you
  • Lack of energy
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Changes in sleep or eating habits
  • Weight loss of gain
  • Feeling guilty
  • Feeling agitated or irritated
  • Physical pain
  • Thoughts of suicide

These symptoms need to last at least two weeks to get an official diagnosis. A person can experience one episode of major depression in their life, but this type of depression usually reoccurs throughout the person’s life.

The course of treatment includes talk therapy and antidepressant medications. More than 80% of people diagnosed with major depression respond well to treatment.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder or manic depression usually manifests with episodes of extreme happiness (high) followed by episodes of extreme sadness (low). This disorder affects about 2% of the population and it has one of the highest risks of suicide.

Symptoms of manic depression may include:

  • Excitement
  • High energy
  • Racing thoughts
  • Symptoms of major depression

The course of treatment includes mood stabilizers, psychotherapy, and support of family and friends. Traditional antidepressants are not recommended because they may provoke the “high” phase or speed up the frequency of the episodes.

Psychotic Depression

Psychotic depression is usually characterized by symptoms of major depression with psychotic episodes. Psychosis is a mental state where the person experiences hallucinations or delusions. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more than 20% of the people with severe depression have episodes so intense, they develop psychotic symptoms.

Some of the symptoms of psychotic depression include:

  • Delusions (false beliefs)
  • Hallucinations (seeing things that are not there)
  • Paranoia (believing that someone wants to harm you)

The course of treatment includes antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs, and electroconvulsive therapy.

Atypical Depression

This type of depression may be one of the most common types of depression. Atypical depression is considered to be different than the persistent sadness or hopelessness of the typical depression.

The symptoms of atypical depression include:

  • Weight gain
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Relationship problems

People with this type of depression are overly sensitive to criticism and they may interpret positive things as negative.

The course of treatment includes antidepressants and talk therapy.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

About 4 to 6% of the American population experience seasonal depression. This type of depression usually occurs in the winter months, due to the lack of sunlight and people tend to isolate themselves, gain weight and feel bad. SAD symptoms usually stop in the spring or summer.

The usual seasonal affective disorder symptoms include:

  • Weight gain
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Increased irritability
  • Anxiety

The course of treatment includes antidepressants and light therapy. Sitting in front of a special light box about 30 minutes per day helps with SAD symptoms.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

This depression affects women in the second half of their menstrual cycle. The difference between premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is that PMS affects about 85% of women and it has mild symptoms and PMDD affects only 5% of them women and the symptoms are severe.

The usual PMDD symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Change in sleep or eating habits
  • Trouble concentrating

The course of treatment includes antidepressants, nutrition therapies, talk therapy and oral contraceptives.

Postpartum Depression

More than 80% of new moms feel some sadness after the birth of their baby, but about 15% of them feel severe sadness, enough to be called postpartum depression. This type of depression can occur even before the birth of the baby (peripartum depression).

Symptoms of postpartum (peripartum) depression include:

  • Anxiety
  • Extreme sadness
  • Hopelessness
  • Loneliness
  • Feeling disconnected from the child
  • Fears about hurting the newborn
  • Suicidal thoughts

The course of treatment includes antidepressants and talk therapy.

Persistent Depressive Disorder

If the depression lasts for more than 2 years, it’s called persistent depressive disorder. This type of depression combines two depression conditions previously known as chronic major depression and dysthymia (mild persistent depression).

The symptoms of this type of depression include:

  • Sadness
  • Fatigue
  • Low self-esteem
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Change in sleeping or eating habits

The course of treatment includes antidepressants, psychotherapy and talk therapy.

 ‘Situational’ Depression

Adjustment disorder or situational depression occurs when the person has trouble overcoming a stressful period or event in their life. This type of depression can be triggered by trauma, death in the family, job loss or even a bad breakup.

This type of depression is three times more common than the major depression but is a lot less severe and the symptoms usually clear up over time, after the traumatic event has passed.

Symptoms of Situational Depression include:

  • Excessive sadness
  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Worry
  • Anxiety

Adjustment disorder is treated with psychotherapy. If the symptoms persist for a long period of time, it can lead to major depression.

Read more: Fighting Chronic Depression

Depression can occur once or several times throughout the person’s life. Some types of depression can last longer than others, but even if the symptoms are severe, there is always treatment for depression so do not be discouraged to find help

If you suspect you or someone close to you have one of these depression types, you need to consult with a professional to get a diagnosis and proper treatment.

Our Depression Facebook Group is a great place if you’re ever feeling lonely and need someone to talk to, come join the conversation!

Do you know the different types of depression? Share this Story to Raise Awareness!