types of depression

8 Common Types of Depression: Symptoms and Causes

Everyone feels sad and gloomy sometimes in their lives. These feelings usually go away within a few days or weeks, depending on the circumstances and conditions. But serious sadness that lasts more than two weeks and affects your capacity to function may be a sign of depression.

There are different types of depression. While they share some common symptoms, they also have some key differences.

Some of the most common symptoms of depression are:

  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in sleep
  • lack of energy
  • inability to concentrate
  •  Not getting through your normal activities easily
  • Intense feelings of sadness
  • dark moods
  • feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
  • lack of interest in things you used to enjoy
  • withdrawing from friends
  • preoccupation with death or thoughts of self-harm

Everyone is affected differently by depression and you might only have some of these symptoms. You may also have other symptoms that aren’t listed here. Remember that it’s also normal to have some of these symptoms from time to time without having depression.

But if they begin to impact your day-to-day life, they may be the result of depression.

Here’s a look at eight types of depression and how they affect people.

1. Persistent Depressive Disorder

Persistent depressive disorder is one of the types of depression that lasts for two years or more. It’s also called dysthymia or chronic depression. Persistent depression might not feel as severe as major depression, but it can still weaken relationships and make daily tasks hard.

Types of Depression, Persistent Depressive Disorder
Types of Depression, Persistent Depressive Disorder

PDD symptoms include:

  • Feelings of sadness
  • Loss of interest and pleasure
  • Anger and irritability
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Low self-esteem
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Sleeping too much
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Changes in appetite
  • Trouble concentrating

However it’s a long-term type of depression, the harshness of symptoms can become less harsh for months at a time before exacerbating again. Some people also have incidents of major depression before or while they have persistent depressive disorder. This is called double depression.

Persistent depression lingers for years at a time, so people with this type of depression may begin to feel like their symptoms are just part of their normal outlook on life.

-> more to read: How to fight depression: 8 things to try

2. Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is one of the other types of depression which is defined by periods of abnormally lofty mood known as mania. These periods can be mild (hypomania) or they can be so severe as to cause marked damage to a person’s life, require hospitalization, or affect a person’s sense of reality. The majority of those with bipolar disorder also have episodes of major depression.

In addition to depressed mood and markedly no interest in activities, people with depression often have a range of physical and emotional symptoms which may include:

Depressive episodes have the same symptoms as major depression, including:

  • feelings of sadness or emptiness
  • lack of energy
  • fatigue
  • sleep problems
  • trouble concentrating
  • decreased activity
  • loss of interest in formerly enjoyable activities
  • suicidal thoughts

Signs of a manic phase include:

  • high energy
  • reduced sleep
  • irritability
  • racing thoughts and speech
  • grandiose thinking
  • increased self-esteem and confidence
  • unusual, risky, and self-destructive behavior
  • feeling elated, “high,” or euphoric
  • Indecision and disorganization

The risk of suicide in bipolar illness is about 15 times greater than in the general population. Psychosis (including hallucinations and delusions) can also occur in more extreme cases.

3. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). While PMS symptoms can be both physical and psychological, PMDD symptoms tend to be largely psychological.

Types of depression, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Types of Depression, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

These psychological symptoms are more serious than those associated with PMS. For example, some women might feel more emotional in the days leading up to their period. But individuals with Premenstrual dysphoric disorder might encounter a level of depression and sadness that gets in the way of their life.

Other possible symptoms of PMDD include:

  • cramps, bloating, and breast tenderness
  • headaches
  • joint and muscle pain
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Feeling sad, hopeless, or self-critical
  • Severe feelings of stress or anxiety
  • Mood swings, often with bouts of crying
  • Irritability
  • Inability to concentrate 
  • Food cravings or binging

Likewise to depression, PMDD is thought to be associated with hormonal changes. Its symptoms often begin just after ovulation and begin to ease up once you get your period.

Some women dismiss PMDD as just a bad case of PMS, but PMDD can become very severe and include thoughts of suicide.

Know more about Hormone Imbalance and Menstrual Cycle

4. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

If you experience depression, drowsiness, and weight gain during the winter months but feel flawlessly fine in spring, you may have a condition known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), presently called major depressive disorder with seasonal pattern.

Types of Depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder
Types of Depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder

Symptoms often start in the fall, as days start to get shorter, and continue through the winter. They include:

  • social withdrawal
  • increased need for sleep
  • weight gain
  • daily feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or unworthiness

SAD is thought to be activated by a disturbance in the normal circadian rhythm of the body. Light entering through the eyes influences this rhythm, and any seasonal variation in night/day pattern can cause a disruption leading to depression.

Prevalence rates for SAD can be hard to identify because the condition often goes undiagnosed and unreported. It is more widespread in areas further from the equator. For example, estimates suggest that SAD impacts 1% of the population of Florida; that number increases to 9% in Alaska.

SAD is more common in far northern or far southern regions of the planet and can often be treated with light therapy to offset the seasonal loss the daylight.

5. Perinatal Depression

Perinatal depression, which is clinically known as major depressive disorder with peripartum onset, happens during pregnancy or within four weeks of labor. It’s often called postpartum depression. But that term only applies to depression after giving birth. Perinatal depression can happen while you’re pregnant.

Types of Depression, Perinatal Depression
Types of Depression, Perinatal Depression

Hormonal shifts that occur during pregnancy and childbirth can trigger modifications in the brain that lead to mood swings. The absence of sleep and physical irritation that often escorts pregnancy and having a newborn doesn’t help, either.

Symptoms of perinatal depression can be as serious as those of major depression and include:

  • Low mood, feelings of sadness
  • Severe mood swings
  • Social withdrawal
  • Trouble bonding with your baby
  • Appetite changes
  • Feeling helpless and hopeless
  • Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy
  • Feeling inadequate or worthless
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby
  • Thoughts of suicide

Women who lack support or have suffered from depression before are at increased risk of cultivating perinatal depression, but it can happen to anyone.

-> more to read: How to Fight Depression in a Relationship: 10 tips to try

6. Atypical Depression

Do you encounter signs of depression (such as overeating, sleeping too much, or extreme sensitivity to rejection) but find yourself suddenly perking up in face of a positive event?

According to these symptoms, you may be suffering from atypical depression (current terminology refers to this as a depressive disorder with atypical features), one of the types of depression that don’t follow what was thought to be the “typical” presentation of the disorder. Atypical depression is characterized by a specific set of symptoms related to:

  • increased appetite and weight gain
  • disordered eating
  • poor body image
  • sleeping much more than usual
  • insomnia
  • heaviness in your arms or legs that lasts an hour or more a day
  • feelings of rejection and sensitivity to criticism
  • assorted aches and pains

Atypical depression is actually more widespread than the name might imply. Unlike other types of depression, people with atypical depression may react better to a type of antidepressant known as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI).

7. Major Depression

Major depression is also known as major depressive disorder, classic depression, or unipolar depression. It’s fairly widespread — about 16.2 million adults in the U.S. have experienced at least one major depressive episode.

People with major depression experience symptoms most of the day, every day. Like many other mental health conditions, it has little to do with what’s occurring around you. You can have a sweet family, lots of friends, and a great job. You can have the kind of life that othersbegrudgey and still have depression.

Even if there’s no obvious reason for your depression, that doesn’t mean it’s not real or that you can simply tough it out.

It’s a severe form of depression that causes symptoms such as:

  • Depressed mood
  • Lack of interest in activities normally enjoyed
  • Changes in weight
  • Changes in sleep
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
  • Thoughts of death and suicide
  • loss of appetite or overeating
  • unexplained aches and pains
  • lack of concentration, memory problems, and inability to make decisions
  • constant worry and anxiety

These symptoms can last several weeks or even months. Some people might have a single episode of major depression, while others encounter it throughout their life. Nonetheless of how long its symptoms last, major depression can result in serious problems in your relationships and daily chores.

8. Depressive Psychosis

Some people with major depression also experience periods of losing sense of reality. This is known as psychosis, which can involve hallucinations and delusions. Encountering both of these together is known clinically as major depressive disorder with psychotic features. However, some providers still refer to this phenomenon as depressive psychosis or psychotic depression.

Types of Depression, Depressive Psychosis
Types of Depression, Depressive Psychosis

Hallucinations are when you see, hear, smell, taste, or feel things that aren’t really there. An example of this would be hearing voices or seeing people who aren’t present. A delusion is a held belief that’s clearly false or doesn’t even make sense. But to a person experiencing psychosis, all of these things are very real and true.

Depression with psychosis can result in physical symptoms as well, including problems sitting still or slowed physical movements.

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