Did you know there are different types of depression? Many people still misunderstand what depression is. It is more than feeling sad or upset for a short period of time. Everyone gets down every now and then. Life doesn’t go as planned and sometimes things don’t work out the way you might like them to.

Depression is something different than short periods of sadness, though. Depression is a mental illness that leaves some people entirely debilitated for weeks to years at a time. But it doesn’t always look the same on everyone; more than 300 million people live with some form of depression.

Misconceptions surrounding the disorder include the idea that there is only one single diagnosis, not multiple types of depression. There are different forms, though, depending on the severity of symptoms and whether others symptoms are also present.

Do you know what the differences between diagnoses are? Continue reading to learn about the different types of depression, how to know which type you may have, and what to do about it.

Millions people live with some form of depression

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

Major depressive disorder, also called major depression or clinical depression, is one of the most well known types of depression. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) outlines the symptoms of major depressive disorder:

  • Feeling sad or down most all of the days
  • Losing interest in things you used to love doing
  • Difficulties falling asleep or troubles with sleeping too much
  • Experiencing an extreme lack of energy or motivation
  • Problems with your appetite, either eating too much or too little
  • Suddenly losing or gaining a noticeable amount of weight
  • Feeling irritated or restless
  • Telling yourself you’re worthless or feeling guilty for no reason
  • Having troubles thinking or focusing on things
  • Experiencing suicidal thoughts or ideations

In order to receive a diagnosis, you must experience a number of these symptoms for at least two weeks. Oftentimes people find that major depressive disorder lasts significantly longer than that.

Persistent Depressive Disorder

Also called dysthymia, persistent depressive disorder, is a long-term form of depression. The DSM-5’s symptoms of MDD show in those with these types of depression. Rather than lessening over time, though, their symptoms continue to come back over the months and years. It’s also referred to as “chronic depression” due to its often relentless ability to continue returning.

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Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression)

Bipolar disorder, or manic depression, is different from other types of depression. While depressive symptoms are a part of this diagnosis, it also incorporates symptoms of mania. The DSM-5 defines bipolar disorder by a person’s shift between manic episodes and periods of depression.

There are a few different types of bipolar disorder:

  • Bipolar I Disorder
  • Bipolar II Disorder
  • Cyclothymia
  • Bipolar with “Mixed Features”
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Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) defines the especially low mood experienced by some during particular times of the year. After the time changes in the winter, days get shorter and the sun sets earlier. These longer periods of darkness lead some to experience changes in mood and symptoms similar to those seen in other types of depression. Usually symptoms of SAD tend to fall away as the springtime come and the sun comes out for longer periods of time.

Perinatal Depression

Perinatal depression, also called postpartum depression or the “baby blues,” describes the feelings many women experience after delivering their baby. The symptoms seen in women with these types of depression are either minor or major signs of depression. In order to qualify for a perinatal depression diagnosis, a woman must experience symptoms within the first 12 months following her child’s birth.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is another type of depression experienced only by women. Often referred to as PMS, PMDD describes the rapid shifts in mood that take place prior to a woman’s monthly period. It also refers to the physical symptoms, like bloating, that happen prior to a woman’s period. The symptoms of this type of depression lift after her period ends.

Situational Depression

Situational depression is different than other types of depression because it doesn’t usually have to do with pre-existing conditions. Those with situational depression experience a short period of time where they are extremely sad and often lack energy to do much. Situational depression usually happens in response to an outside circumstance like a breakup or a death.

Finding Treatment for Different Types of Depression

The sections above provided a brief overview of each variation of the most common types of depression. Doctors cannot approach depression treatment as a “one size fits all” outlook. Every case differs slightly despite the underlying similarities.

The way you treat your depression depends on the types of depression you think you experience. A doctor won’t treat situational depression or PMDD in the same way they’ll handle someone with MDD or persistent depressive disorder.

Visit with a psychiatrist first (who may request more than a single sit-down). While this article program may have helped you get to where you are now, nothing is a proper substitute for real-life primary care.

Call Hawaii Island Recovery at 877-721-3556 to get help.