What Are The Different Types Of Depression?

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

What Are The Different Types Of Depression?

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

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. 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 affected person’s mood may improve if confronted with something positive. Otherwise, they 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 for at least two years. During these two years the affected person will be in a persistent depressed state. The affected will experience the typical symptoms of depression.

Agitated Depression

Agitated depression refers to a person who is suffering from irritability as a result of a 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 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 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 experiences symptoms of depression. She may have fears or thoughts about harming the baby, or concerns about her parenting skills. It is important to consult with a doctor about any symptoms.

Typically, the symptoms of depression dissipate within six months.

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

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder is a condition in which a person’s mood will depend on the seasons. Seasonal affective disorder will typically be most prominent 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.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is considered a depressive 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 to manage.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is diagnosed when a woman experiences the following symptoms right before her period:

  • 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. 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. 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 major depressive disorder.

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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