Major depression, Postpartum depression, Dysthymia, Seasonal affective disorder, Atypical depression, Depression due to a relationship, Substance induced mood disorder, Depression due to an illness, Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder and Premenstrual dysphoric disorder are some of the common types of depression we must know.
Whether you’re a college student in the middle of a major slump, a new mom who can’t pinpoint why she’s feeling so glum, or a retiree grieving over the loss of a loved one, that question isn’t an easy one to answer.
But there’s one thing for sure about depression: it is much more than just a sad mood. Symptoms may include everything from hopelessness and fatigue to physical pain. And just as symptoms vary from person to person, so does the diagnosis. We all feel sad at times. But depression is different. This serious mood disorder causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and manage your daily life, causing persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities. The word depression is actually just an umbrella term for a number of different types of depression, from major depression to atypical depression to dysthymia.
Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, depression can cause a variety of emotional and physical changes, including weight gain or weight loss, insomnia, and chronic pain. With depression, you may have problems engaging in normal daily activities, lose interest in sex and other activities, and bear deep feelings of guilt and hopelessness. Depression ranges in seriousness from mild, temporary episodes of sadness to severe, persistent depression that seems as if it will never end. The clinical depression definition includes the more severe type of depression known as major depression.
15 Different Types of Depression
In this article, we will discuss 15 types of depression that commonly affect people. If you feel you are depressed and need to know more about the nature of it, read on to find out:
The most common type of depression is major depression. If you’re experiencing major depression, you may feel and see symptoms of extreme sadness, hopelessness, anhedonia or loss of interest in pleasurable activities, lack of energy, irritability, trouble concentrating, changes in sleep or eating habits, feelings of guilt, physical pain, and thoughts of death or suicide — and for an official diagnosis, your symptoms must last for more than two weeks. In some instances, a person might only experience one episode of major depression, but this type of depression tends to recur throughout a person’s life. The best treatment is usually antidepressant medications, but talk therapy may also be used to treat depression.
Dysthymia is a type of depression that causes a low mood over a long period of time, perhaps for a year or more. People can function adequately, but not optimally. Symptoms include sadness, trouble concentrating, fatigue, and changes in sleep habits and appetite. This depression type usually responds better to talk therapy than to medications, though some studies suggest that combining medication with talk therapy may lead to the greatest improvement. People with dysthymia may also be at risk for episodes of major or clinical depression.
A whopping 85 percent of new moms feel some sadness after their baby is born, but for up to 16 percent of women, that sadness is serious enough to be diagnosable as a type of depression. Postpartum depression is characterized by feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, fatigue, loneliness, hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, fears about hurting the baby, and feelings of disconnect from the child. This depression type can occur anywhere from weeks to months after childbirth, it almost always develops within a year after a woman has given birth. It needs prompt and experienced medical care and that may include a combination of talk and drug therapy.
Seasonal affective disorder
Would you prefer to hibernate during the winter than face those cold, dreary days? Do you tend to gain weight, feel blue, and withdraw socially during the season? You could be one of 4 to 6 percent of people to have a depression type called seasonal affective disorder, or sad. Though many people find themselves in winter funks, sad is characterized by symptoms of anxiety, increased irritability, daytime fatigue, and weight gain. This type of depression typically occurs in winter climates, likely due to the lack of natural sunlight. We don’t really know why some people are more sensitive to this reduction in light. Symptoms are usually mild, though they can be severe. This type of depression usually starts in early winter and lifts in the spring, and it can be treated with light therapy or artificial light treatment.
Despite its name, atypical depression is not unusual. In fact, it may be one of the most common types of depression, and some doctors even believe it is under diagnosed. This type of depression is less well understood than major depression. Unlike major depression, a common sign of atypical depression is a sense of heaviness in the arms and legs, like a form of paralysis. However, oversleeping and overeating are the two most important symptoms for diagnosing atypical depression. People with this depression type may also gain weight, be irritable, and have relationship problems. Other features of atypical depression include low mood reactivity (ability to feel better when something good happens) and a long-standing pattern of being extra sensitive to interpersonal rejection. Some studies show that talk therapy works well to treat this type of depression.
Psychosis — a mental state characterized by disorganized thinking or behavior; false beliefs, known as delusions; or false sights or sounds, known as hallucinations — doesn’t typically get associated with depression. But according to the national alliance on mental illness, about 20 percent of people with depression have episodes so severe that they develop psychotic symptoms. People with this psychotic depression may become catatonic, not speak, or not leave their bed. Treatment may require a combination of antidepressant and antipsychotic medications. It may be best to start with an antidepressant drug alone and then add an antipsychotic drug if needed.
If your periods of extreme lows are followed by periods of extreme highs, you could have bipolar disorder (a type of depression previously called manic depressive disorder because symptoms can alternate between mania and depression). Symptoms of mania include high energy, excitement, racing thoughts, and poor judgment. Symptoms may cycle between depression and mania a few times per year or much more rapidly. This disorder affects about 2 to 3 percent of the population and has one of the highest risks for suicide. Bipolar disorder has four basic subtypes: bipolar i (characterized by at least one manic episode); bipolar ii (characterized by hypomanic episodes — which are milder — along with depression); cyclothymic disorder; and other specified bipolar and related disorder. People with this type of depression are typically treated with drugs called mood stabilizers.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or pmdd, is a type of depression that affects women during the second half of their menstrual cycle. Symptoms include depression, anxiety, and mood swings. Unlike premenstrual syndrome (pms), which affects up to 85 percent of women and has milder symptoms, pmdd affects about 5 percent of women and is much more severe. Pmdd can be severe enough to affect a woman’s relationships and her ability to function normally when symptoms are active. Treatment for this kind of depression may include a combination of depression drugs as well as talk and nutrition therapies.
Also called adjustment disorder, situational depression is triggered by a stressful or life-changing event, such as a job loss, the death of a loved one, trauma — even a bad breakup. Situational depression is about three times more common than major depression, and medications are rarely needed. That’s because it tends to clear up over time once the event has ended. However, that doesn’t mean it should be ignored: symptoms of situational depression may include excessive sadness, worry, or nervousness, and if they don’t go away, they may become warning signs of major depression.
Treatment resistant depression
Sometimes people with major depressive disorder don’t readily respond to treatment. Even after trying one antidepressant and then another–and maybe a third or fourth–their depression stubbornly hangs on. Maybe it’s genetic, maybe it’s environmental. Their depression is just tenacious. Helping people overcome treatment-resistant depression begins with a thorough workup to ensure a proper diagnosis and identify other psychiatric and medical causes of their symptoms. Patients are counseled on proper dosage and duration of treatment. If a medicine isn’t working, doctors will try switching to a similar drug or one from a different class. Patients may benefit from adding a second antidepressant from a different class and perhaps another type of medicine, such as an antipsychotic.
A person who has depressive symptoms but doesn’t quite check all the boxes for a diagnosis of major depression may be deemed “subsyndromal.” Maybe she has three or four symptoms, not five, or maybe she’s been depressed for a week, not two. Is the patient able to go to work and take care of day-to-day responsibilities? If the person is struggling, they may still benefit from treatment, including with medication.
Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder
Screaming and temper tantrums can be features of disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (dmdd), a type of depression diagnosed in children who struggle with regulating their emotions. Other symptoms include an irritable or angry mood most of the day nearly every day and trouble getting along in school, at home, or with their peers. These are the kids with strong emotional outbursts. They’re just not able to contain their emotions, so they “act out and act on” their feelings.
Substance induced mood disorder
Using or abusing sedating drugs can change your mood. Symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, and loss of interest in pleasurable activities, typically appear shortly after taking or abusing a substance or during withdrawal. Substances that can lead to this type of depression include alcohol (if you drink too much), opioid painkillers, and benzodiazepines (which act on the central nervous system). To diagnose someone with a substance-induced mood disorder, doctors must rule out other potential causes of depression, and the depression must be severe enough to interfere with daily activities.
Depression due to an illness
Coping with a serious chronic disease, like heart disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and hiv/aids, can be depressing in and of itself. Adding insult to injury, there’s no evidence that disease-related inflammation may also play a role in the onset of depression. Inflammation causes the release of certain chemicals by the immune system that cross into the brain, leading to brain changes that can trigger or worsen depression in certain people. Antidepressants may help prolong their life and improve their ability to function, she says, and therapy can help many patients cope with mental and physical illnesses.
Depression due to a relationship
Many socially awkward people find it difficult to adjust to being in a romantic relationship with another human being. That has nothing to do with their feelings for their partner, rather, it is an outcome of struggling to accept the fact that one can be happy in spite of the years of mental and physical damage many people have to go through. This is not a light issue and if left untreated, can result in major depression.
If you are depressed and reading this article, remember one thing out of the countless things that people might randomly say: you matter. No matter what you do, how you are as a human being, you matter. You are no less than people around you. You deserve all the happiness in this world and you deserve to be heard. Therefore, go ahead and try confronting your problem first. Start small. If you cannot afford to go to a therapist, you can always look for free counseling online. Just do not give up.