types of depression

Do you have any of these types of depression?

Depression feels different for everyone, and though the symptoms are closely related, the intensity and frequency are not.

Personally, I feel different about depression daily. There were days when I felt I could manage it, and others when I knew I could go no where.

However, depression is more than that. The difference lies more on the type you have and less on the side of the bed you woke up from.

types of depression

How you feel depends on many factors, including your personality and the type of depression you have.

Do you know if you are depressed? These general symptoms of depression cut across every type of depression, and assessing yourself for them can tell whether you are depressed. However, the final diagnosis of the type of depression you have is made by the doctor.

General symptoms of depression

The following usually characterize clinical depression

  • An intense feeling of sadness
  • Low moods
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Changes in appetite and sleep patterns
  • Low energy
  • Lack of focus
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Withdrawing from friends and social circle
  • Suicide or self-harm thoughts
  • Difficulty doing normal activities

You should know that it is normal to have any of these symptoms without being depressed. But if many of them occur together, you likely have depression.

Depression is treatable by medication, natural remedies, changes in lifestyle, and talking to a therapist.

It can be diagnosed, and is classified into different types.  Changes in the brain cause some types of depression, while others are caused by situations and events.

Types of depression

There are different types of depression. Though most of them have common symptoms, there are other significant differences you need to know.

There are precisely 9 types of depression, and they are listed below.

types of depression

Major depressive disorder (MDD)

You may have heard people talk about major depressive disorder, unipolar depression, and classic depression. All these terms are used to describe major depression.

This depression is a prevalent kind, and about 16.2 million adults in the United States have not less than one episode of major depressive disorder.

People with this kind of depression usually experience the symptoms almost throughout the day and every day. It is a typical mental health condition because it doesn’t directly relate to what happened to or happens around you.

It is possible to have a dream life wit’s everything desirable and still have this depression.

Since there may be no apparent reason around you for this depression, it doesn’t make it imaginary, and you can not just simply snap out of it.

This type of depression is real and severe. People who have it experience the following symptoms

  • Sadness, gloom, despair, or grief
  • Fatigue or low energy
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Overeating or loss of appetite
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Pains and unexplained aches
  • Anxiety and constant worry
  • Loss of interest in activities once treasured
  • Difficulty remembering, concentrating, and making decisions
  • Feeling hopeless and worthless
  • Thoughts of self-harm, death, or suicide

People may have an episode of depression just once in their lives or may go for weeks, months or even throughout their lives experiencing the condition.  No matter the duration of major depression, it can still hinder daily activities and strain relationships.

Diagnosis of major depressive disorder

Doctors usually diagnose a person with the major depressive disorder if they experience at least five of these symptoms or more for many days, up to two weeks or longer.  Among the five symptoms expected, one must be ‘loss of interest in activity’ or depressed mood.

types of depression
What does major depressive disorder feel like?

Major depressive disorder feels differently for different people. The following are the manifestations of major depressive disorder

  • Anxious distress

People who experienced this type of depression as anxious distress will feel tense and restless most days. If you have these, you may not be able to concentrate because you are worried that something terrible will happen, or you may lose control of yourself.

  • Agitation

If you have major depressive disorder manifesting as agitation, you will likely feel uneasy most of the time. Also, you may

  • Talk very much
  • Act impulsively
  • Fidget with your hands, pace around the room, or make other movements for no reason.

For this kind of feeling, taking talk therapy will help. You just need to meet a mental health specialist who will help you discover ways to manage the depression. 

However, if the talk therapy or medication do not work, your doctor may recommend you go for

ECT is done with electrical pulses, VNS works as an implanted device, while TMS uses a special type of magnet. All these devices are used to stimulate some part of your brain activity. This stimulation aids your brain regulates your mood and work better.

  • Melancholy

This makes people have intense sadness and ultimately lose interest in the activities they once enjoyed. You could still experience sadness even when good things happen with melancholic depression. You may also

  • Lose weight
  • Feel down, especially in the mornings
  • Have poor sleep
  • Consider suicide

People with melancholic depression usually have worsened symptoms in the morning when they wake up. If you have these, you may want to look for someone that will help you take up the first task of the day. Also, try to eat regularly, even when you are not hungry.

Persistent depressive disorder (PDD)

You could be diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder if you have depression that lasts for over 2 years or more. This type of depression is also called chronic depression or dysthymia, which means low-grade persistent depression.

types of depression

This type of depression does not feel as intense as major depression, but it can still make it difficult to do your daily task and strain your relationships. Persistent depression usually has the following symptoms

  • Hopelessness or feeling of deep Sadness
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • A sense of inadequacy or low self-esteem
  • Changes in appetite
  • Low energy
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Difficulty concentrating and memory problems
  • Difficulty functioning well at work or school
  • Not being able to feel happy even on a happy occasion
  • Social withdrawal

This type of depression is a long-term one, and the severity of the symptoms can fluctuate. There may be some months when you feel less intense symptoms before they worsen again.

You may also experience some episodes of major depression even when having a persistent depressive disorder. Medical personnel called this a double depression.

If you have persistent depression, you may start to feel like the symptoms are a part of you, because they last for years at once.

Persistent depression is not you; do not mistake it for your identity. You will some day overcome the situation and become better.

Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is mainly known as manic depression. People with bipolar disorder usually have series of abnormally high moods called mania.

Some episodes of mania can be mild, while others can be so extreme that they cause impairment in the person’s life. This situation may affect the person’s sense of reality, they may need to be hospitalised.

Signs of mania include:

  • High energy
  • Irritability
  • Reduced sleep
  • Racing speech and thoughts
  • Heightened self-esteem and confidence
  • Grandiose thinking
  • Risky, self-destructive behavior
  • Feeling high, elated, or euphoric

 Also, most people with bipolar disorder usually have episodes of major depression.

types of depression

When people experience this depressed mood, they also usually have the other signs of depression, including:

  • Decreased interest in activities
  • Insomnia, fatigue and lethargy
  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Pains and unexplained aches
  • Psychomotor agitation
  • Indecision
  • Disorganisation

People with bipolar disorder are 15 times more prone to committing suicide than the other part of the population. They may also experience psychosis when the case is extreme.  Psychosis is characterized mainly by hallucination and delusion.

People with bipolar disorder will benefit significantly from support from the family and psychotherapy.

Peripartum (Postpartum) depression (PPD)

Doctors define type of depression as a major depressive disorder that begins during the onset of peripartum, pregnancy, or within the first four weeks of childbirth.

It is also frequently called postpartum depression. However, that term is used to define depression when it occurs after childbirth.  Perinatal depression describes it when it happens during pregnancy.

This usually happens because of the common hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy and childbirth. These hormonal changes can cause changes in your brain, thereby leading to a mood swing. 

Also, pregnancy is associated with physical discomforts and lack of sleep. These discomforts can worsen depression. Also, the stress of having a newborn doesn’t help issues.

Sometimes, a person with perinatal depression can experience severe symptoms of depression as a person with major depression. These symptoms include

  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Fierce anger
  • Exhaustion
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Extreme worry about the safety of the baby and their health
  • Difficulty caring for the baby or themselves
  • Considering self-harm or harming the baby

Perinatal depression is widespread for women who do not have support or who had depression before becoming pregnant. However, it can still happen to anyone.

types of depression

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) has similar symptoms to premenstrual syndrome (PMS), only that the symptoms of PMDD are more severe.

The difference between the symptoms of PMS and PMDD is that PMS are both physical and psychological, while those for PMDD are primarily psychological.

For instance, some women feel emotional a few days before their period, but with PMMD, women feel a high level of depression and sadness, disrupting their daily functioning.

Some women just believe that PMDD is just their PMS gone wrong. However, it can become severe that they consider suicide.

The following symptoms characterize PMDD

  • Breast tenderness
  • Bloating
  • Cramps
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Headaches
  • Sadness and despair
  • Anger and irritability
  • Crazy mood swings
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Binge eating or food cravings
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Low energy
  • Changes in sleeping patterns

PMDD is believed to be caused by hormonal changes. That is why the symptoms begin after ovulation and end after your period.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

Seasonal affective disorder, also called seasonal depression, is a major depressive disorder that occurs with seasonal patterns.

For example, people become more depressed during the month they don’t get enough sunlight. This can be during the rainy season or winter months.

The symptoms of the seasonal affective disorder include

  • Social withdrawal
  • Heightened need for sleep
  • Feeling sad, hopeless, or worthless
  • Weight gain

This type of depression can become worsened as the contributing factors last and may lead to suicidal thoughts. However, when the season end and there is more sunlight, the symptoms will improve.

Psychotic depression

Psychotic depression happens when you have psychotic symptoms alongside major depression. Psychotic symptoms include

  • Delusion (false belief)
  • Hallucinations (hearing and seeing things that are not physically present)
  • Paranoia (a false belief that others are trying to harm you)

This type of depression can also cause physical symptoms like slowed physical movement or difficulty sitting still.

Situational depression

This is a very common type of depression. It occurs when you have stressful life events which may be challenging to manage. These events include serious illness, death of a loved one,  divorce or breakups,  being in abusive relationships, facing financial setbacks, being unemployed, or having legal troubles.

types of depression

Atypical Depression

Atypical depression is the type of depression that fades off for a while when you have positive events in your life. Doctors call it major depressive disorder with atypical features.

Though this type of depression is periodical, it is still as severe as other types of depression. It is even more dangerous because you may not feel like you’re depressed around others or yourself, but then you just keep having these symptoms of sadness that won’t go away. 

It can make people not seek help when they need it, thereby worsening their symptoms.

People with atypical depression usually experience the following symptoms

  • Low self-esteem
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Weight gain from increased appetite
  • Disordered eating
  • Aches and pains
  • Being extremely sensitive to criticism and feeling rejected
  • Feeling heavy around the arm and leg region for more than an hour or a day

Treatment-resistant depression

This is when patients have been given the conventional therapy for depression but they don’t find relief.

This treatment resistant depression could happen because of other conditions that make it difficult to treat the depression.

Patients with this type of depression may benefit from Electroconvulsive Therapy ECT alongside other therapies and self-care.

How to know the type of depression you have

It is not difficult to know when you are depressed, but you will need to consult a doctor before knowing the exact type of depression you have.

If you have not been depressed before, talk to a therapist about how you feel. Be attentive to yourself to recognize when the symptoms of depression first appeared and when they come again.

I know it is very uncomfortable to talk to a doctor or more preferably, a therapist about depression, but it’s advisable.


It is not enough to know that you are depressed. Find out the type of depression you have as it will make it easier for you to find the most suitable help.

Medical Disclaimer

The information shared on this website is gathered from researches, peer-reviewed studies and real-life observations. We aim to educate and help you live mentally strong and positive. What we share here may be controversial, but we expect you to use your intuition and judgment. Our information does not replace professional medical advice. In fact, we encourage you to seek professional help when you need it.

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