What Are The Different Types Of Depression?

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

What Are The Different Types Of Depression?

Depression is a condition that manifests in many different forms. There are different types of depression, and each type affects a person in different ways.

Each type of depression has different causes, but the symptoms may be similar. This article explains the different types of depression and what it is like to live with each of them.

Atypical Depression

Atypical depression is a type of depression with specific symptoms. A person with atypical depression can have their mood lifted when a good thing happens. Good events can temporarily relieve the depressed mood. After the event ends, the affected person’s depressed mood will return.

Symptoms of atypical depression include:

  • Weight gain
  • Concern about what others are thinking
  • Intense fear of rejection
  • Chronic fatigue and oversleeping
  • Emotional reactivity
  • Temporary relief from depressed mood when looking forward to or enjoying something

With atypical depression, the affected person’s mood may improve with something positive. Otherwise, they will have a consistently low mood. Their depressed mood causes negative thoughts. These thoughts make them worry about what others think of them.

Major Depressive Disorder

Major depressive disorder (MDD) causes a person to feel consistently depressed most days. A person with major depressive disorder will experience symptoms of depression. These symptoms will last for at least two weeks in a row.

Major depressive disorder has varying intensities. It will last different lengths of time for each person. People with MDD will suffer from the typical symptoms of depression.

Persistent Depressive Disorder

Persistent depressive disorder (PDD) was previously referred to as dysthymia. This form of depression will last for at least two years. During these two years, the affected person will be persistently depressed. The affected will experience the typical symptoms of depression.

A person with PDD will struggle to enjoy things. They will be blue and gloomy often, but symptoms will not feel as intense as MDD.

Agitated Depression

Agitated depression refers to a person who is irritable when depressed mood. A person with agitated depression will feel restless and angry. They are easily agitated and will react to these feelings by:

  • Lashing out at others
  • Throwing fits of rage or tantrums
  • Drinking alcohol to cope
  • Being impatient with inconveniences
  • Openly expressing their anger

Agitated depression often causes misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder or intermittent explosive disorder. Someone who is seeking help should reflect on possible depressive symptoms with a therapist.

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression occurs after giving birth to a child. There are several reasons why a mother may experience postpartum depression. It is may be due in part to an imbalance of hormones that create anxiety and a depressed mood. It can also occur as a result of poor social support or a history of depression or other mood disorders.

During a period of postpartum depression, a mother will experience symptoms of depression. They will experience anxiety regarding her parenting skills. She may also struggle with fears or thoughts about harming the baby.

It is important to consult with a doctor about any symptoms of postpartum depression. Typically, the symptoms of depression dissipate within six months. Having the support of professional can help facilitate the recovery process.

Psychotic Depression

Psychotic depression is a severe form of depression. It will cause psychotic symptoms. Psychotic symptoms include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Paranoia
  • Grandiose thoughts
  • Disorganized thinking and speech
  • Erratic behavior

People who suffer from psychotic depression will have symptoms of depression and psychosis. They need to seek immediate care.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a condition in which a person’s mood will depend on the seasons. A case of seasonal affective disorder will typically happen during the cold seasons. This is considered to be due shortened days and limited interaction with others.

The depressed mood typically goes away around the warmer months of Spring and Summer. There are cases, however, of people suffering from SAD during the warmer months of the year.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is considered a mood disorder. A person with bipolar disorder will experience mood swings. The mood swings will hit extreme lows of depression and highs of mania or hypomania. The mood swings are cyclic and often require medication and therapy to manage.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is diagnosed when a woman has symptoms right before her period. The following are symptoms they may experience:

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep issues
  • Paranoia
  • Depressed mood
  • Negative or racing thoughts
  • Change in appetite

Someone with PMDD only has symptoms the week before or during her menstrual cycle. Soon after their cycle starts, their depressed mood will subside.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder can be treated with antidepressant medication and therapy. It can also be treated with contraceptives to help balance hormones.

Situational Depression

Situational depression is brought on by upsetting or unpleasant circumstances. Such circumstances include:

  • Grieving or mourning the death or loss of a loved one
  • Financial or employment issues
  • Relationship issues
  • Adjusting to a life event
  • Adjusting to a new environment
  • Quarter-life or midlife crisis

Situational depression can be difficult to cope with, especially when you have never been depressed before. Symptoms typically last until:

  • Feelings are resolved
  • The patient properly adjusts to the upsetting situation, or
  • The patient works through a grieving process.

Situational depression does have a chance of developing into MDD. Getting treatment early can prevent the condition from getting worse.

Treatment For Depression

Treatment for depression depends on the type of depression a person is experiencing. Therapy can be very effective in treating a case of depression. Some people with depression need medication, but not everyone. If you or a loved one is suffering from a depressed mood, consider speaking to a mental health professional about treatment.

If you are not sure about your condition or are hesitant to speak to a mental health professional, you can start by talking to your doctor. He or she can review your symptoms and give you resources and referrals to mental health services in your area.

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