12 Types of Depression, and What You Need to Know About Each (2023)

Depression can present itself in several ways. It can be mild or severe, and it can be short-lived or chronic. Special circumstances, like the birth of a baby or the changing of the seasons, can trigger depressive symptoms.

Understanding the type of depression a person is experiencing helps healthcare providers determine treatment. And for people who are diagnosed with depression, having information about their specific disorder can be beneficial.

"Folks seem comforted in knowing what's going on for them," said Sarah Noble, DO, a psychiatrist with the Einstein Healthcare Network in Philadelphia. "At least they have an answer for why they're experiencing what they're experiencing." Here's what you should know about the different types of depression.

In 2020, approximately 21 million American adults had experienced at least one major depressive episode, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIHM). Under diagnostic criteria published by the American Psychiatric Association, people must have at least five symptoms persisting for two weeks or longer to be diagnosed with major depressive disorder. Those symptoms can include:

  • Feelings of sadness, emptiness, worthlessness, hopelessness, and guilt
  • Loss of energy, appetite, or interest in enjoyable activities
  • Sleep habit changes
  • Thoughts of death and suicide

Major depressive disorder has two subtypes: "atypical depression" and "melancholic depression." People who fall into the former category tend to sleep and eat a lot. They are emotionally reactive and very anxious, Dr. Noble explained. Those in the latter category have trouble sleeping and tend to ruminate over guilt-ridden thoughts, Dr. Noble added. Young adults tend to present with atypical depression, and the melancholic type is seen more often in older adults.

Most cases are highly treatable and may consist of pharmacological options, therapy, or lifestyle changes per the National Library of Medicine (NLM). However, individuals with major depressive disorder may begin with psychotherapy and medications as their treatment.

(Video) 8 Types Of Depression You Should Know

Treatment-Resistant Depression

Sometimes people with major depressive disorder don't readily respond to treatment—their depression stubbornly hangs on. "Maybe it's genetic, maybe it's environmental," Dr. Noble said. "Their depression is just tenacious." According to researchers of a January 2020 Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment study, for a person to be diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression, they need to have gone through two unsuccessful pharmacotherapy trials.

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, healthcare providers 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"—have an other specified depressive disorder, as indicated by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-5-TR). For example, the person might have less than five symptoms or experienced depression for less than the two-week minimum.

"Rather than look at symptoms, I usually look at functionality," Dr. Noble added. 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, Dr. Noble said.

Persistent Depressive Disorder

People with persistent depressive disorder (PDD)—formely known as dysthymia—have "a low, dark, or sad mood on most days" and at least two additional symptoms of depression lasting two years or more per MedlinePlus. In children and teens, PDD may be diagnosed if symptoms of irritability or depression persist for a year or more. "It may wax and wane in intensity, but generally it's a low level of depression," Dr. Noble explained.

To be diagnosed with this type of depression, people must also have two of the following:

(Video) 12 Things About Depression You Need to Know

  • Sleep problems (too much or too little)
  • Low energy or fatigue
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor appetite or overeating
  • Poor concentration or difficulty making decisions
  • Feelings of hopelessness

Usually PDD requires treatment with a combination of medication and psychotherapy.

Up to 10% of women of childbearing age experience premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). This severe form of PMS can trigger depression, sadness, anxiety, or irritability, as well as other extreme symptoms, in the week before a woman's period.

"It can be really uncomfortable, disabling, and interfere with a woman's day-to-day life," said Dorothy Sit, MD, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

Scientists believe these women may have an abnormal sensitivity to hormonal changes during their menstrual cycle. Taking antidepressants, specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), in the two weeks before their period or throughout the month can be very effective, Dr. Sit said. Certain types of contraception and pain relievers may help with symptoms too.

Depression Due to Bipolar Disorder

Wide swings in mood and energy, from elation to hopelessness, are the signatures of depressive episodes in bipolar disorder. To be diagnosed with this form of depression, a person must have experienced at least one bout of mania (a period of time with energetic behavior).

Bipolar disorder usually shows up in young adulthood. While women and men are diagnosed in equal numbers, studies have pointed to possible gender differences: Men appear to have more manic behavior; women tend toward depressive symptoms. Bipolar disorder usually worsens without treatment but can be managed with mood stabilizers, antipsychotic medicines, and talk therapy. The depressive symptoms specifically can be treated with antidepressants, according to the NIMH.

(Video) Do You Know these 5 Types of Depression?

Screaming and temper tantrums can be features of disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD), a type of depression diagnosed in children who have difficulty 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," Dr. Noble said. "They're just not able to contain their emotions," so they "act out and act on" their feelings.

According to the NIMH, DMDD is treated using medications, psychotherapy, and parent training on how to effectively deal with a child's irritable behavior.

Postpartum (or Perinatal) Depression

The birth of a baby brings enormous joy but can sometimes lead to postpartum depression (PPD), a type that affects one in four women and one in eight men. In women, postpartum depression is likely triggered by shifts in hormones, fatigue, and other factors. In men, it's environmental, brought on by shifting roles and lifestyle changes that come with parenting.

Postpartum depression can begin any time in the first year following a child's birth, although it usually appears soon after the new arrival. Intense feelings of sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion become overwhelming and can interfere with daily life. It can provoke thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby.

Compared to the "baby blues"—which is a mild, short-lived, and extremely common condition causing anxiety and depressive symptoms in the immediate wake of a baby's birth—PPD usually requires treatment with antidepressants, talk therapy, or both. BetterHelp is one top reviewed online therapy option to help guide new mothers through challenging times and provide treatment options.

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Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or seasonal depression, is a recurring type of depression that usually strikes in the fall or winter. Along with a change in mood, individuals with SAD tend to have low energy. They may overeat, oversleep, crave carbs, gain weight, or withdraw from social interaction.

Women, younger adults, and individuals who live in places with shorter daylight hours are at higher risk of developing SAD according to the NIMH. It can also run in families. SAD is diagnosed after at least two years of recurring, seasonal symptoms. While the exact cause is unclear, research has suggested it may be related to an imbalance of the brain chemical, serotonin. An overabundance of the sleep hormone melatonin and insufficient levels of vitamin D may also play a role.

SAD can be treated with a daily dose of light therapy and sometimes medication.

Psychotic Depression

People with psychotic depression have severe depression accompanied by psychosis, which is defined as losing touch with reality. Symptoms of psychosis typically include hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren't really there) and delusions (false beliefs about what's happening). Additionally, psychotic depression is considered to be another subtype of MDD.

One of Dr. Noble's patients, two years after beginning treatment, confessed that she had a year during which she would not eat anything her father cooked because she thought he was poisoning her. The woman was otherwise lucid; she was just dealing with psychotic depression that had not been fully treated.

Healthcare providers usually prescribe antidepressants and antipsychotic medicines together to treat psychotic depression. However, according to a November 2020 Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics article, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)—a therapy that sends small currents of electricity to the brain while a person is under anesthesia, per the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)—was found to be somewhat effective as well (though more effective in non-community settings).

(Video) 5 Types of Depressive Disorders

Coping with a serious chronic disease, like heart disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS, can be depressing in and of itself. Researchers of a September 2021 BMC Psychiatry study found that patients who had been diagnosed with chronic diseases were more susceptible to depression.

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, Dr. Noble explained. Antidepressants may help prolong their life and improve their ability to function, Dr. Noble said, and therapy can help many patients cope with mental and physical illnesses.

If you suspect you or a loved one has one of these types of depression, a mental health professional can complete an evaluation to help you figure out a diagnosis and the best course of treatment.

FAQs

What are the 7 different types of depression? ›

7 Common Types of Depression
  • Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) ...
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD) ...
  • Bipolar Disorder. ...
  • Postpartum Depression (PPD) ...
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) ...
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) ...
  • Atypical Depression.

What are the 8 forms of depression? ›

8 types of depression: symptoms and treatments
  • Major depressive disorder.
  • Persistent depressive disorder.
  • Seasonal affective disorder.
  • Postpartum depression.
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
  • Psychotic depression.
  • Bipolar disorder.
  • Atypical depression.

What are the 11 symptoms of depression? ›

Common Symptoms of Depression
  • Consistently low mood. ...
  • Disinterest or avoidance of once enjoyed hobbies. ...
  • Trouble with concentration or memory. ...
  • Significant changes in eating or sleeping patterns. ...
  • Decreased self-care. ...
  • Physical pains and additional health issues. ...
  • Feeling pessimistic or hopeless. ...
  • Increased irritability or anger.
3 Feb 2022

What is the highest form of depression? ›

Clinical depression is the more-severe form of depression, also known as major depression or major depressive disorder. It isn't the same as depression caused by a loss, such as the death of a loved one, or a medical condition, such as a thyroid disorder.

Which type of depression is the most common? ›

Major depressive disorder and persistent depressive disorder are two of the most common types of depression that people experience, however, there are many types of depression. What most mood disorders have in common are major depressive episodes.

How many levels of depression are there? ›

Major depression

The symptoms are experienced most days and last for at least two weeks. Symptoms of depression interfere with all areas of a person's life, including work and social relationships. Depression can be described as mild, moderate or severe; melancholic or psychotic (see below).

What are 5 causes of depression? ›

Causes - Clinical depression
  • Stressful events. Most people take time to come to terms with stressful events, such as bereavement or a relationship breakdown. ...
  • Personality. ...
  • Family history. ...
  • Giving birth. ...
  • Loneliness. ...
  • Alcohol and drugs. ...
  • Illness.

What are the 5 levels of depression? ›

Depression types include clinical depression, bipolar depression, dysthymia, seasonal affective disorder and others. Treatment options range from counseling to medications to brain stimulation and complementary therapies.

What are the 4 main causes of depression? ›

Here are four of the main ones.
  • Genetics. One of the most influential factors in the onset of major depression is outside your control: your genetic code. ...
  • Substance Abuse. ...
  • Early Childhood Experiences. ...
  • Major Life Events (Both Immediate and Prolonged)
1 Sept 2019

How do I know if I am bipolar? ›

Symptoms - Bipolar disorder
  1. feeling sad, hopeless or irritable most of the time.
  2. lacking energy.
  3. difficulty concentrating and remembering things.
  4. loss of interest in everyday activities.
  5. feelings of emptiness or worthlessness.
  6. feelings of guilt and despair.
  7. feeling pessimistic about everything.
  8. self-doubt.

What is the first stage of depression called? ›

Stage 1: Origin

This is a time when the brain starts to change, becoming more susceptible to depression and sadness. Signs include hopelessness, longing, general sadness, and fatigue.

What's a manic depressive? ›

Overview. Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression). When you become depressed, you may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest or pleasure in most activities.

Is panic disorder a depressive disorder? ›

Depression comes with mood disorders and involves a very low mood, while panic disorders involve an elevated level of vigilance and worry. However, these mental health issues are complex, and they can occur at the same time. They may have similar risk factors that lead to the development of both disorders.

Is bipolar a disability? ›

Both the ADA and SSA consider bipolar disorder a disability. That qualifies you to get extra protection and benefits under the law. To start the process, talk with your doctor. You will need documents to prove to the government that bipolar disorder affects your ability to work.

Is Gad an illness? ›

GAD is a long-term condition that causes you to feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than 1 specific event. People with GAD feel anxious most days and often struggle to remember the last time they felt relaxed.

Can depression make you hot? ›

Several studies have found a relationship between depression and hot flashes: depressed women are more likely to experience hot flashes and women with hot flashes are more likely to have depression. Other studies have found no association between hot flashes and depression.

What does MDD stand for? ›

Depression (major depressive disorder)

How serious is MDD? ›

Major depressive disorder is a serious mental illness that affects how people feel, think, and go about their everyday tasks. The condition can also impact a person's sleep habits, appetite, and ability to enjoy life.

What is hyper depression? ›

The signs and symptoms of high-functioning depression are similar to those caused by major depression but are less severe. They may include changes in eating and sleeping habits, low self-esteem, fatigue, hopelessness, and difficulty concentrating.

Is it possible to be born with depression? ›

Heritability is probably 40-50%, and might be higher for severe depression. This could mean that in most cases of depression, around 50% of the cause is genetic, and around 50% is unrelated to genes (psychological or physical factors).

What is complex depression? ›

'Complex depression includes depression that shows an inadequate response to multiple treatments, is complicated by psychotic symptoms, and/or is associated with significant psychiatric comorbidity or psychosocial factors' [NICE Clinical Guideline CG90 (2009)]

What is pleasure loss? ›

Anhedonia is the inability to feel pleasure. It's a common symptom of depression as well as other mental health disorders. Most people understand what pleasure feels like.

What depression can cause? ›

It's complicated, and there are multiple causes of major depression. Factors such as genetic vulnerability, severe life stressors, substances you may take (some medications, drugs and alcohol) and medical conditions can affect the way your brain regulates your moods.

At what age does mental illness typically start? ›

50% of mental illness begins by age 14, and 3/4 begin by age 24.

Is there an end to depression? ›

Depression is a serious mental illness and is unlikely to go away or cure itself. Without treatment, depression can last for years or decades and can worsen over time. For people concerned about whether their depression will ever go away, it's important to reach out and seek professional treatment.

Do depression attacks exist? ›

Sudden and intense mood symptoms may feel like an “attack” of some kind. But depression attack isn't a clinical term. Instead, you may be going through an episode of depression if you live with major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder.

How does depression affect the brain? ›

Depression causes the hippocampus to raise its cortisol levels, impeding the development of neurons in your brain. The shrinkage of brain circuits is closely connected to the reduction of the affected part's function. While other cerebral areas shrink due to high levels of cortisol, the amygdala enlarges.

What are the social causes of depression? ›

Social and Relational Factors in Major Depression
  • Death of a loved one.
  • Divorce or marital problems such as infidelity.
  • Loss of a job, financial problems, or poverty leading to homelessness.
  • A chaotic, unsafe, and dangerous home life such as violence in the family.
  • Abusive relationships that undermine self-confidence.

What causes low serotonin? ›

age-related health and brain changes. chronic stress. a lack of exposure to natural light. lack of physical activity.

What causes anxiety? ›

Difficult experiences in childhood, adolescence or adulthood are a common trigger for anxiety problems. Going through stress and trauma when you're very young is likely to have a particularly big impact. Experiences which can trigger anxiety problems include things like: physical or emotional abuse.

Are most people depressed? ›

Depression is a common illness worldwide, with an estimated 3.8% of the population affected, including 5.0% among adults and 5.7% among adults older than 60 years (1). Approximately 280 million people in the world have depression (1).

What category is anxiety in? ›

11.2.

Anxiety disorders are among the most common psychiatric disorders in the general population, affecting up to 20% of adolescents. Anxiety disorders tend to be more common among females than males (Essau, Lewinsohn, Olaya, & Seeley, 2014).

Is depression a spectrum? ›

Abstract. The spectrum of depression is much wider than that reflected in the current diagnostic nomenclature. A large proportion of subjects with depression both in treatment and in the community fail to meet diagnostic criteria for either major depressive disorder (MDD) or dysthymia.

What is the leading cause of depression in teenage? ›

Many factors increase the risk of developing or triggering teen depression, including: Having issues that negatively impact self-esteem, such as obesity, peer problems, long-term bullying or academic problems. Having been the victim or witness of violence, such as physical or sexual abuse.

Is school a main cause of depression? ›

How School Contributes To Mental Health Issues. While school offers many benefits to adolescents, such as connecting with peers, overscheduling and academic pressure can be a significant source of stress, contributing to mental health issues including teen depression.

How does depression affect a woman's body? ›

Depression can hurt—literally.

A person with depression also may experience many physical symptoms, such as aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems. Someone with depression also may have trouble with sleeping, waking up in the morning, and feeling tired.

How a person with bipolar thinks? ›

Bipolar disorder can cause your mood to swing from an extreme high to an extreme low. Manic symptoms can include increased energy, excitement, impulsive behaviour, and agitation. Depressive symptoms can include lack of energy, feeling worthless, low self-esteem and suicidal thoughts.

What are signs of bipolar in a woman? ›

Bipolar disorder symptoms in females
  • feeling “high”
  • feeling jumpy or irritated.
  • having increased energy.
  • having elevated self-esteem.
  • feeling able to do anything.
  • experiencing reduced sleep and appetite.
  • talking faster and more than usual.
  • having rapid flights of ideas or racing thoughts.

What is a bipolar person like? ›

People with bipolar experience both episodes of severe depression and episodes of mania – overwhelming joy, excitement or happiness, huge energy, a reduced need for sleep, and reduced inhibitions. The experience of bipolar is uniquely personal. No two people have exactly the same experience.

How long do most depressive episodes last? ›

A: The duration of a depressive episode varies and is influenced by its severity, as well as treatment and individual factors. However, the average length of a depressive episode is thought to be six to eight months.

Is depression curable or just treatable? ›

There's no cure for depression, but there are lots of effective treatments. People can recover from depression and live long and healthy lives.

What is the most common way to treat depression? ›

Medications and psychotherapy are effective for most people with depression. Your primary care doctor or psychiatrist can prescribe medications to relieve symptoms. However, many people with depression also benefit from seeing a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health professional.

What causes bipolar2? ›

The cause of bipolar II disorder is unknown, but research has shown that it can have a genetic component and run in families. Multiple factors – including stress, lack of sleep, and alcohol or substance abuse – may interact to trigger abnormal brain circuit function.

Are you born with bipolar? ›

Genes. Bipolar disorder often runs in families, and research suggests this is mostly explained by heredity—people with certain genes are more likely to develop bipolar disorder than others. Many genes are involved, and no one gene can cause the disorder. But genes are not the only factor.

What triggers a bipolar episode? ›

Factors such as stress, poor sleep, and even seasonal changes can play a role in triggering your bipolar symptoms. Learn how you can reduce your risk of bipolar episodes and better manage your condition.

What are the 5 levels of depression? ›

Depression types include clinical depression, bipolar depression, dysthymia, seasonal affective disorder and others. Treatment options range from counseling to medications to brain stimulation and complementary therapies.

What is the most serious form of depression? ›

Clinical depression is the more-severe form of depression, also known as major depression or major depressive disorder. It isn't the same as depression caused by a loss, such as the death of a loved one, or a medical condition, such as a thyroid disorder.

What are the 3 primary types of depression? ›

Depression can be described as mild, moderate or severe; melancholic or psychotic (see below).

What is the first stage of depression called? ›

Stage 1: Origin

This is a time when the brain starts to change, becoming more susceptible to depression and sadness. Signs include hopelessness, longing, general sadness, and fatigue.

What are the 4 main causes of depression? ›

Here are four of the main ones.
  • Genetics. One of the most influential factors in the onset of major depression is outside your control: your genetic code. ...
  • Substance Abuse. ...
  • Early Childhood Experiences. ...
  • Major Life Events (Both Immediate and Prolonged)
1 Sept 2019

What are 5 causes of depression? ›

Causes - Clinical depression
  • Stressful events. Most people take time to come to terms with stressful events, such as bereavement or a relationship breakdown. ...
  • Personality. ...
  • Family history. ...
  • Giving birth. ...
  • Loneliness. ...
  • Alcohol and drugs. ...
  • Illness.

What's a manic depressive? ›

Overview. Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression). When you become depressed, you may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest or pleasure in most activities.

What does MDD stand for? ›

Depression (major depressive disorder)

Is it possible to be born with depression? ›

Heritability is probably 40-50%, and might be higher for severe depression. This could mean that in most cases of depression, around 50% of the cause is genetic, and around 50% is unrelated to genes (psychological or physical factors).

Is depression a permanent condition? ›

There's no cure for depression, but there are lots of effective treatments. People can recover from depression and live long and healthy lives.

How do I know if I am bipolar? ›

Symptoms - Bipolar disorder
  1. feeling sad, hopeless or irritable most of the time.
  2. lacking energy.
  3. difficulty concentrating and remembering things.
  4. loss of interest in everyday activities.
  5. feelings of emptiness or worthlessness.
  6. feelings of guilt and despair.
  7. feeling pessimistic about everything.
  8. self-doubt.

Which type of depression is the most common type of mood disorder? ›

Major depressive disorder and persistent depressive disorder are two of the most common types of depression that people experience, however, there are many types of depression. What most mood disorders have in common are major depressive episodes.

What is hyper depression? ›

The signs and symptoms of high-functioning depression are similar to those caused by major depression but are less severe. They may include changes in eating and sleeping habits, low self-esteem, fatigue, hopelessness, and difficulty concentrating.

Is there an end to depression? ›

Depression is a serious mental illness and is unlikely to go away or cure itself. Without treatment, depression can last for years or decades and can worsen over time. For people concerned about whether their depression will ever go away, it's important to reach out and seek professional treatment.

How long do most depressive episodes last? ›

A: The duration of a depressive episode varies and is influenced by its severity, as well as treatment and individual factors. However, the average length of a depressive episode is thought to be six to eight months.

Are most people depressed? ›

Depression is a common illness worldwide, with an estimated 3.8% of the population affected, including 5.0% among adults and 5.7% among adults older than 60 years (1). Approximately 280 million people in the world have depression (1).

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