Types of Depression

                                       Types of Depression

When you are depressed, it can feel like you’ll never get out from under a dark shadow. However, even the most severe depression is treatable.

The Different Types of Depression

Depression is a common, treatable mental illness that can be experienced at any time in life. There are several types of depression. These different types of depression but often important, diagnostic differences. Only a doctor can diagnose what type of depression you have.

Major Depressive Disorder

It is the type of depression on which other types are built. While other types of depression have specific features, they must all match the diagnosis of major depressive disorder as well. 

A major depressive disorder is made up of one or more major depressive episodes which severely impact life functioning. A major depressive episode is two weeks or more of exhibiting five of the following symptoms (at least one of which must be of the top two):

A depressed mood (a low mood, sadness)
Loss of pleasure in previously pleasurable activities
Weight and appetite changes
Sleep disturbance
Increase or decrease in the speed of muscle activity
Fatigue, loss of energy
Extremely low self-esteem
The difficulty with thinking and concentration
Repeated thoughts of death, dying or suicide

A suicide attempt or plan

Types of Depression
Types of Depression

Depression with Melancholic Features

This form of depression requires a lack of pleasure from almost all stimuli previously found pleasurable and requires the addition of at least three of the following symptoms:

A depressed mood that is distinctly different then that felt when a loved one dies
Depression that is worse in the morning
Waking up 2 hours earlier than usual
Observable muscle slowing or speeding up
Significant weight loss or anorexia

Extreme feelings of guilt.

Depression with Catatonic Features

This type of depression can be very hard to treat due to the withdrawal of the patient from all those around them. Depression with catatonic features requires two of the following symptoms:

Muscle immobility, trance-like
Muscle activity without reason
Extreme negativism or mutism
Unusual posturing, grimacing, and movements
Repetition of the words or actions of others

Atypical Depression

 It includes a mood that is changeable by outside stimuli. Two or more of the following symptoms must also be present:

Significant weight gain or appetite

Increased sleep

Feelings of heaviness in the extremities that lead to impaired functioning

Sensitivity to interpersonal rejection

Seasonal Affective Disorder

It is often known as SAD, is one of the types of depression that require specific timing of depressive episodes rather than a specific set of symptoms. This type of depression requires depressive episodes that correspond with a season. These depressive episodes must have occurred for at least two years and the seasonal depressive episodes must significantly outnumber the nonseasonal episodes (if present).

Postpartum Depression(PPD)

 PPD also depends on episode timing. While most new mothers experience the "baby blues," a full-blown major depressive episode can develop for between 10% - 15% of women following childbirth. PPD is made up of a major depressive episode(s) indistinguishable from any other major depressive episode, with the exception of timing. Extreme sadness, tearfulness, anxiety, and despair are common in this type of depression.

Postpartum Depression(PPD)
Postpartum Depression(PPD)

Depressive Disorders Not Otherwise Specified

As with most mental illness, there is a type of depression known as not otherwise specified (NOS), which allows a clinician to diagnose depression in someone who does not perfectly fit into the current diagnostic model.


 It is sometimes confused with a subtype of depression but is actually a disorder in its own right. Dysthymia is diagnosed in children and adolescents when a depressed or irritable mood is present for more than one year. Dysthymia is not considered as severe a diagnosis as other types of depression.
  Dysthymia diagnosis is complicated, as it must take into account the individual’s developmental stage and personal history. However, many of the symptoms of other types of depression are part of the diagnostic criteria of dysthymia. Dysthymia is only diagnosed when another type of depression does not better explain the symptoms.

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