Understanding the Different Types of Depression

types of depression

Understanding the Different Types of Depression

Depression is a common issue, with nearly 280 million people worldwide suffering from the condition.[1] While you have probably heard of depression before, you might be unaware that there are several different types of depression disorders.

You heard that right, depression is not just one singular condition. There are several different ways that depression can manifest itself, causing varying symptoms and behaviors depending on the specific type. For example, one person might be unable to sleep while they are depressed, and another might be constantly tired and lethargic. (https://artandhistory.org/)

It is important for you to be aware of the different types of depression and how they affect people. Being educated on this topic can help you provide your friends and loved ones with the type of support they need.

Major Depressive Disorder

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is also referred to as clinical depression. This is one of the most common mental health conditions in the world. MDD is characterized by persistent and constant feelings of sadness that occur over some time.

For you to be diagnosed with major depressive disorder, you must experience most of the following symptoms for 2 weeks or more:

  • Low mood
  • Lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Changes in weight
  • Changes in sleep
  • Fatigue
  • Issues concentrating
  • Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, and despair
  • Suicidal thoughts or ideation

If you struggle with major depressive disorder, your depression may be mild, moderate, or severe. Oftentimes, severe MDD requires extensive treatment, behavioral therapy, and medication management.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a type of mood condition that causes you to swing from a depressed mood to an elevated one (mania). During the manic phase of bipolar, you may behave with heightened energy, thoughts of grandeur, and express ambitious plans.

Symptoms of mania include:

  • Feeling extremely happy, overjoyed, or elated
  • Being full of energy
  • Feelings of self-importance
  • Speaking quickly
  • Feeling full of great new ideas and plans
  • Sleeping and eating less
  • Acting impulsively (i.e. gambling, spending excessive amounts of money, abusing substances)

During a depressive episode, you tend to behave similarly to that with major depressive disorder. However, there are some differences. The symptoms of depression include:

  • Lacking energy
  • Feeling sad and hopeless most of the time
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feelings of emptiness and worthlessness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Waking up early
  • Self-doubt and pessimism
  • Being delusional or having hallucinations
  • Suicidal thoughts and ideation


Dysthymia (persistent depressive disorder) is a mild but long-lasting type of depression. If you struggle with this condition, you may tend to have less severe symptoms than individuals with major depressive disorder. However, the symptoms last much longer (two years or more).

While the symptoms are less severe, struggling with feeling down constantly over such a long period makes this condition just as worrisome as MDD.

The symptoms of dysthymia include:

  • Losing interest in daily activities
  • Sadness, emptiness, or feeling down
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Lacking energy
  • Low self-esteem, self-criticism, or feeling incapable
  • Trouble concentrating and making decisions
  • Feeling irritable or angry
  • Decreased activity, effectiveness, and productivity
  • Avoiding social activities
  • Feelings of guilt and worries over the past
  • Poor appetite or overeating
  • Sleep problems

Psychotic Depression

This mental health condition is a subtype of major depressive disorder. Psychotic depression occurs when you are suffering from depression and it causes you to experience psychotic symptoms. This could include losing touch with reality, hallucinating, and delusional thinking.

Signs and symptoms of psychotic depression include:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Disorganized thoughts and speech
  • Paranoia
  • Social withdrawal
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Hypochondria
  • Insomnia
  • Intellectual impairment
  • Physical immobility
  • Delusions or hallucinations
  • Suicidal thoughts

Psychotic depression can be extremely distressing for you and the people around you. If you think you are struggling with this condition, it is important to seek help as soon as possible.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that follows a seasonal pattern, usually affecting you in the wintertime. This usually occurs in winter climates where the sun does not come out and the sky is gray and dreary, causing you to experience a low mood.

It is possible for you to experience SAD during the summer and not during the winter.

The symptoms of the seasonal affective disorder (SAD) include:

  • Feeling sad or down most of the day, every day
  • Losing interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Sleeping too much
  • Having low energy or feeling sluggish
  • Experiencing cravings for carbs and gaining weight
  • Issues with concentrating
  • Suicidal ideation

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is a form of depression that affects mothers after childbirth. This condition is usually linked to hormonal changes that happen during pregnancy. After childbirth, estrogen and progesterone drop suddenly, causing changes in your brain and intense mood swings.

The sleep loss associated with having a newborn can worsen this condition. Sometimes, this can lead you to develop postpartum psychosis, which is similar to psychotic depression.

The symptoms of postpartum depression include:

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Irritability
  • Becoming easily overwhelmed
  • Crying
  • Issues with concentration
  • Appetite changes
  • Trouble sleeping

Finding Help for Depression

Depression is not an easy thing to go through, especially if you are attempting to go through it alone. Professional treatment centers can provide you with the support and tools you need to overcome or manage your symptoms of depression.

Contact Florida Recovery Group today for more information on our mental health treatment program in Delray Beach, Florida.


  1. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression