What Are the Types of Depression?
Depression is a state of melancholy, extreme sadness, and low mood. It can be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. An estimated 322 million people worldwide struggle with depression, with millions of them living in the United States. Depression is actually the leading cause of disability for Americans aged 15 to 44. Depression can be mild, moderate, or severe in nature. For some people, it can lead to suicide, so it is important to seek treatment if you are depressed. There are many effective treatments available including medications, therapy, support groups, and more.
Symptoms of depression can include:
- Feeling extreme sadness or melancholy
- Feeling lethargic or as if you have no energy
- Decreased appetite
- Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Wanting to sleep all day or stay in bed all day
- Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy
- Frequent thoughts of suicide and death
- Self-harm, such as cutting
- Isolating yourself from others
- Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
- Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
- Pessimism about the future
- Turning to alcohol or drugs
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering details
Types of Depression
There is not just one type of depression. People suffer from depression for a variety of different reasons, and there are multiple diagnoses available within the broader category of depression.
- Major depressive disorder affects 16.1 million Americans. It is the most common depression diagnosis. Symptoms include a feeling of overwhelming sadness or loss of interest in pleasurable activities. There are many other symptoms such as increased or decreased sleep, appetite changes, worthlessness, and thoughts of death. The symptoms persist for at least two weeks and may affect their normal functioning, such as at work or school.
- Persistent depressive disorder involves a low, sad, or dark mood that lasts for most of the day and for most days of the week for at least two years (or at least one year for children and teenagers). Other symptoms may include poor appetite, low self-esteem, and fatigue, among others. The person does not experience a symptom-free period for longer than two months.
- Adjustment disorder and depressed mood is a diagnosis for depression that comes about within three months of a stressor. The stressor may be negative or positive in nature, such as losing a job or starting a new job. Usually, it resolved within six months and does not require much in the way of treatment.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder, also called SAD, is a seasonal form of depression. People with Seasonal Affective Disorder will have the symptoms of major depressive disorder during the winter when the days are shorter. Light therapy has been found to be one effective treatment.
- Postpartum depression, which is also called peripartum depression, can occur after a woman has given birth. While childbirth is typically a happy occasion, having a new baby is still a stress and new mothers may worry that they are not doing a good job in their new role when they are still learning what the baby washes when he cries. It's also a time of hormonal changes and lack of sleep that can decrease mood.
- Psychotic depression combines the symptoms of major depressive disorder with symptoms of psychosis. These may include hallucinations, paranoia, and delusions.
- Bipolar disorder is also known as manic depression. People with manic depression go through alternating periods of mania and depression. The depressive phase features the symptoms of major depressive disorder.
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) affects some premenstrual women. This depressive disorder may also result in mood swings, irritability, fatigue, feeling overwhelmed, and appetite changes.
If you are depressed, know that you're not alone. Contact your doctor or a licensed therapist to get help.
If you are feeling suicidal, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.