What Are The Different Types Of Depression?

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

What Are The Different Types Of Depression?

Depression is a disorder that manifests in many different forms. There are many different forms of depression. This article will explain the different forms of depression and what it is like to live with each form.

Atypical Depression

Atypical depression is a form of depression with specific symptoms. These symptoms are the result of a severely depressed mood. Symptoms of atypical depression include:

  • Weight gain
  • Concern about what others are thinking
  • Intense fear of rejection
  • Chronic fatigue and oversleeping
  • Emotional reactivity

With atypical depression the patient’s mood may improve if confronted with something positive. Otherwise the patient will have a consistent low mood and will be paranoid about what others think of them.

Major Depressive Disorder

Major depressive disorder causes a person to feel consistently depressed most days. A person with major depressive disorder will experience symptoms for at least two weeks in a row. Major depressive disorder has varying intensities. It will last different lengths of time for each person.

Persistent Depressive Disorder

Persistent depressive disorder was previously referred to as dysthymia. This form of depression will last at least two years. During these two years the patient will be in a persistent depressed state. The patient will experience the typical symptoms of depression.

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression occurs after giving birth to a child. There are several reasons why a person experiences postpartum depression. However, it is often due in part to an imbalance of hormones. This imbalance results in increased anxiety and a depressed mood. During a period of pospartum depression a mother will experience symptoms of depression. She may also have fears or thoughts about harming the baby, or concerns about her parenting skills. Typically, the symptoms of depression dissipate within six months. It is important to consult with a doctor about any symptoms.

Psychotic Depression

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

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

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder is a condition in which a person’s mood will depend on the seasons. Typically, seasonal affective disorder will be most prominent during the cold seasons. This is considered to be due to the lack of exposure to sunlight. The depressed mood typically goes away around the warmer months of Spring and Summer.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is considered a depressive disorder. A person with bipolar disorder will experience mood fluctuations. Those mood swings will hit extreme lows of depression and highs of mania or hypomania.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is diagnosed when a woman experiences the following symptoms right before their period:

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

A person with premenstrual dysphoric disorder will only experience symptoms the week before or during the menstrual cycle. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is typically treated with antidepressant medication. 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. Typically symptoms 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 major depression. It is important to seek help if you feel you may be suffering from situational depression, or any of the other disorders outlined above.

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