9 Different Types of Depression

Feeling blue, mopey, sad, bummed, heavy, and melancholy are all synonyms of depression. No matter what you call it, depression can impact your life. Depression is more common than you may think.

In this article, we’re taking a closer look at several different types of depression.

Different Types of Depression

According to research, over 16 million Americans have had an episode of depression in the last year.

Among those with depression, the symptoms, severity, and depression treatment will vary. Depression is not a one-size-fits-all mental illness. And because everyone has the occasional day of feeling down or normal sadness associated with grief and other life changes, there are guidelines for being diagnosed with depression.

One guideline is that your symptoms have been persistent for at least two weeks. Then, your symptoms will be analyzed to distinguish which type of depression with which you are struggling.

Here are several different types of depression.

Major Depressive Disorder

Some of the main symptoms of this type of depression include sustained sadness for no apparent reason, irritable mood, and losing interest in activities you once enjoyed. You may also have weight changes, trouble sleeping or sleeping too much, and find it hard to concentrate and stay focused. Further, you may have feelings of hopelessness or that you are not worthy.

Some with major depressive disorder may feel like their mood is darker than it once was and may even find themselves battling negative self-talk. This type of depression is very treatable.

Bipolar Depression

Bipolar depression is diagnosed when someone’s mood swings between both depression and mania. Some may have extreme bouts of mania and depression, while others may only have mild mood swings. Anyone with bipolar has likely seen the disorder interfere with both professional and personal relationships.

With bipolar depression, you cannot feel pleasure, you may want to spend all your time in bed, and you may feel overwhelmingly exhausted. Feelings of emptiness, worthlessness, and guilt can lead some to have suicidal ideations. Bipolar depression is also very treatable.

Postpartum Depression

The first year after a baby is born can be hard on both the baby’s mother and father. For women, giving birth can mean changes in hormones, lack of sleep, stress levels, and lifestyle. All of these can create symptoms of depression.

For men, lifestyle changes like lack of sleep and how the mother is being affected can create depressive symptoms. While one in four women and one in eight men experience postpartum depression, it is treatable with a mental health professional’s help.

Persistent Depressive Disorder

This type of depression is diagnosed when someone has symptoms that last for two years or longer. Not only are you struggling with a low, dark mood for this long, but there are other symptoms present. You must have at least two of the following: sleep problems, fatigue, low self-esteem, lack of appetite, over-eating, poor concentration, difficulty making decisions, and feelings of hopelessness.

Although you may feel like nothing can lift your mood, there are treatments available. Both medication and counseling offer many benefits.

Atypical Depression

This type of depression is now referred to as major depression with atypical features. With this disorder, you have all of the typical symptoms of depression. However, there are times where you may also experience symptoms those with only major depression do not experience.

For example, there may be times where your mood is lifted, like participating in a fun activity. After the activity is over, though, your depression returns. Treatments for atypical depression can include medication, alternative medicines, talk therapy, and lifestyle changes.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

When the days get shorter and fewer daylight hours, you may experience seasonal affective disorder. The light that enters the eyes influences your body’s circadian rhythm. In Spring, Summer, and Fall, the days are longer, and you receive more light.

When Winter arrives, less light enters your eyes, and this disrupts your circadian rhythm. Doctors think this may be what leads to feelings of depression. There are several natural treatments for this type of depression, like using light therapy.

Premenstrual Dysmorphic Disorder

The week before a woman starts her monthly menstrual cycle can create many negative symptoms, including anxiety, sadness, aches, pains, headaches, and of course, depression. Many people refer to this as PMS or premenstrual syndrome.

Premenstrual dysmorphic disorder is the extreme version of PMS. Likely caused by hormonal changes taking place in the body, it can be debilitating. Treatment may include light therapy, contraceptives, and anti-depressants in the weeks before your period.

Treatment-Resistant Depression

Some people do not respond well to the typical treatment for major depressive disorder. Some people have tried multiple anti-depressants and therapy but still, feel overwhelmed by their depressive symptoms. They need more innovative therapies.

Recently, ketamine treatment has proved successful for people with treatment-resistant depression.

Situational Depression

This type of depression is often called adjustment disorder, likely because it occurs when something in your life takes place that is devastating. Examples include losing a loved one, losing a job, a bad break-up, or other traumatic events. Even COVID19 caused some people to experience situational depression.

Medications are rarely needed to treat this type of depression. However, if not appropriately treated, it can lead to significant depression.

The right way to treat situational depression is with a mental health therapist who can help you improve your coping skills.

Where to Go From Here

If you think you may have symptoms that describe a type of depression listed above, your first step is to meet with a mental health professional who can verify if your symptoms are related to a mental health disorder.

Once you have a diagnosis, you can work with your counselor to create a treatment plan to improve your symptoms. Treatments can range from medication, support groups, diet, and nutritional changes, to environmental changes.

All types of major depression are treatable. Meaning, you can overcome your symptoms and go on to live a healthy, happy life. Reach out to your local mental health center today for an evaluation and a treatment plan that works.