Types of Depression


Types of Depression

The word Depression is often used to describe the disorder, and while the symptoms are classic, it goes beyond the cookie cutter diagnosis. In this post, I will identify the types of Depression, as they vary from one person to the next and on the DSM. One in five people will suffer from depression during their lifetime, and it is the leading cause of disability worldwide. 

The good news is that depression is treatable. There are several forms of depressive disorders.

Major depression—severe symptoms that interfere with your ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy life. An episode can occur only once in a person’s lifetime, but more often, a person has several episodes.

Persistent depressive disorder—depressed mood that lasts for at least 2 years. A person diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder may have episodes of major depression, along with periods of less severe symptoms, but symptoms must last for 2 years.

Some forms of depression are slightly different, or they may develop under unique circumstances. They include:

  • Psychotic depression, which occurs when a person has severe depression plus some form of psychosis, such as having disturbing false beliefs or a break with reality (delusions), or hearing or seeing upsetting things that others cannot hear or see (hallucinations).
  • Postpartum depression, which is much more serious than the “baby blues” that many women experience after giving birth, when hormonal and physical changes and the new responsibility of caring for a newborn can be overwhelming. It is estimated that 10 to 15 percent of women experience postpartum depression after giving birth.
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is characterized by the onset of depression during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. The depression generally lifts during spring and summer. SAD may be effectively treated with light therapy, but nearly half of those with SAD do not get better with light therapy alone. Antidepressant medication and psychotherapy can reduce SAD symptoms, either alone or in combination with light therapy.

Bipolar disorder  also called manic-depressive illness, is not as common as major depression or persistent depressive disorder. Bipolar disorder is characterized by cycling mood changes—from extreme highs (e.g., mania) to extreme lows (e.g., depression).

Dysthymialess severe type of depression, dysthymia (or dysthymic disorder), involves long-lasting symptoms that do not seriously disable, but keep one from functioning well or feeling good.

Source: National Institute for Mental Health.

As always, please speak with your medical or mental health provider to confirm diagnosis and get the help you deserve. Next up, we will look at Suicide, as Depression is the leading cause. Suicide is a heavy topic, but I cannot fail to address it in a mental health series.

To Your Success,
Juan