Types Of Depression

In addition to the core symptoms of depression, there are several distinct types of depression, each with its own set of symptons.

Major Depressive Disorder

This is what most people recognize as depression, the kind you see in the movies where the person is suffering from horrible fatigue, cries a lot or avoids social contact with family, friends, and work. This type of depression has two subtypes, single episode and recurrent.

The difference is exactly what you might imagine. People who are diagnosed with a major depressive disorder, single episode have never experienced depression before. Those with a recurrent diagnosis have had more than one period of depression, and there was a period of time, at least two months long, between their depressive episodes.

Bipolar Disorders

These types of depression is what we used to call manic-depressive disorder. They are the conditions where people experience mood swings from very high energy and activity (manic episodes), to very low energy and activity (depressive episodes), regardless of external events.

For example, if I told you you’d just won the $100 million dollar lottery, you might get very excited and look as if you were having a manic episode. Or if your favorite pet died, you might get very sad. People with bipolar disorder have mood swings that cannot be accounted for by events in their environment.

There are subtypes here also, depending on whether the predominate feature is one of mania or depression and how fast the cycle from mania to depression occurs.

Cyclothymic Disorder

This a type of depression is a milder form of Bipolar Disorder.

Dysthymic Disorder

This is the diagnosis given to people who have a chronically depressed mood for most of the day, more days than not, for at least two years. The main difference between this diagnosis and major depressive disorder is the long-term, less serve nature of the depressive symptoms. Chronic mild to moderate chronic depression, as opposed to major depression.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

This is major depression that appears in the fall or winter and goes away in spring, thought to be caused by lack of sunlight

Postpartum Depression

This is a specific subtype of depression that occurs within four weeks of giving birth. Most new mothers suffer from some form of the "baby blues." Postpartum depression, by contrast, is major depression, thought to be triggered by changes in hormonal flows associated with childbirth.

Atypical Depression

This afflicts about 40% of patients with a major depressive disorder and is identified when there is an anxiety component along with the depressive symptoms.

Melancholic Depression

This is a severe form of depressive disorder that is most common among persons hospitalized for depression.

Vascular Depression

This is a newly recognized type of depression that reflects the existence of silent cardiovascular disease and is most common among persons over the age of 60.

Psychotic Depression

This is a severe form of depressive disorder that is distinguished by mood-congruent delusions and accompanied by specific changes in brain tissue