- 4 Common Types of Depression
- Major depressive disorder (MDD)
- Persistent depressive disorder (PDD)
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
- Bipolar disorder
- Getting treatment for depression
- Depression: Types, Symptoms, Causes & Treatment
- How common is depression?
- What are the types of depression?
- What are the symptoms of depression?
- Can depression be prevented?
4 Common Types of Depression
Depression is one of the most debilitating mental health issues a person can experience, yet it often goes untreated and undiagnosed. Overall, more than 7% of Americans report regularly feeling depressed; among younger people, that rate climbs to almost 13%.
Recent data shows the number of Americans suffering from depression is increasing, with the biggest rise among teens, young adults, and seniors. The analysis found depression to be common among both the lowest and highest income groups — it can affect anyone, regardless of age, lifestyle, or experiences.
At Flux Psychology, Andrea Liner, PsyD, helps patients of all ages and walks of life from throughout the Denver, Colorado, area learn effective, proactive techniques for managing depression. Each treatment plan is customized and completely confidential. In this blog, we examine the four most common types of depression.
Major depressive disorder (MDD)
Major depressive disorder is probably the best known type of depression. People with MDD experience ongoing feelings of sadness and low mood, accompanied by a lack of interest in their daily activities, including things they once found pleasurable.
Many people with major depressive disorder have problems with sleep, such as sleeping too much or not being able to sleep. Appetite and energy levels often decline, and it’s hard to concentrate and focus. MDD is associated with very low feelings of self-worth and feelings of hopelessness. Some people may think about or even attempt suicide.
Persistent depressive disorder (PDD)
Sometimes called dysthymia, PDD has many of the same symptoms as MDD, but at a less intense level. To be diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder, symptoms must have been ongoing for at least two years.
While people with MDD often find it difficult or even impossible to continue with daily functioning, those with PDD can still manage day-to-day living activities while experiencing frequent feelings of sadness or low mood. Depressed feelings tend to become a regular part of your existence with PDD, taking a major toll on work, relationships, and other aspects of your life.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that follows a seasonal pattern. Most people who suffer from SAD experience symptoms during the fall and winter, months that are especially cold, gray, and dark. About 10% of patients with SAD experience symptoms in the spring and summer rather than in fall and winter.
SAD is much more common farther north of the equator, where differences in sunlight hours are greatest. It’s also much more common among women.
Researchers theorize that feelings of depression experienced with SAD are triggered by decreases in brain chemicals that respond to natural sunlight. As the amount of sunlight changes, those chemicals also fluctuate, resulting in mood changes and depression. Changes in light also disrupt sleep patterns in people with SAD, which exacerbates depression symptoms.
Sometimes referred to as manic-depressive disorder, bipolar disorder affects about 2.8% of the US adult population. People with bipolar disorder experience periods of depression between bouts of euphoria and extreme energy — what’s sometimes called the manic phase. The level of energy during these episodes can vary.
During manic periods, a person with bipolar disorder may exhibit an unrealistically high level of self-confidence often accompanied by risky behavior, overspending, and extreme physical activity. During these episodes, sleep may decrease, and thoughts and actions can speed up.
Getting treatment for depression
It’s important to note that while these are the four most common types of depression in the United States, they’re not the only types. Other types of depression can have different symptoms or behaviors. Just because your symptoms may not fit these types of depression, that doesn’t mean you’re not depressed.
No matter what type of depression you’re dealing with, remember: It can be treated. The key is to seek help from a licensed mental health professional as soon as possible so you can feel better and regain control of your life.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression or another mental health issue, call Flux Psychology or use our online form to request an appointment with Dr. Liner today.
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Depression: Types, Symptoms, Causes & Treatment
Depression is a medical condition that affects your mood and ability to function.
Depression types include clinical depression, bipolar depression, dysthymia, seasonal affective disorder and others.
Treatment options range from counseling to medications to brain stimulation and complementary therapies. Depression
Depression is a medical condition that affects your mood and ability to function.
Depressive symptoms include feeling sad, anxious or hopeless. The condition can also cause difficulty with thinking, memory, eating and sleeping.
A diagnosis of major depressive disorder (clinical depression) means you have felt sad, low or worthless most days for at least two weeks while also having other symptoms such as sleep problems, loss of interest in activities, or change in appetite.
Without treatment, depression can get worse and last longer. In severe cases, it can lead to self-harm or death. Fortunately, treatments can be very effective in improving symptoms of depression.
How common is depression?
Depression is common all over the world. Healthcare providers estimate that nearly 7% of American adults have depression every year. More than 16% of U.S. adults — around 1 in 6 — will experience depression in their lifetime.
What are the types of depression?
Healthcare providers name depression types according to symptoms and causes. These episodes often have no obvious cause. In some people, they can linger much longer than in others for no clear reason.
Types of depression include:
- Major depressive disorder (MDD): Major depression (clinical depression) has intense or overwhelming symptoms that last longer than two weeks. These symptoms interfere with everyday life.
- Bipolar depression: People with bipolar disorder have alternating periods of low mood and extremely high-energy (manic) periods. During the low period, they may have depression symptoms such as feeling sad or hopeless or lacking energy.
- Perinatal and postpartum depression: “Perinatal” means around birth. Many people refer to this type as postpartum depression. Perinatal depression can occur during pregnancy and up to one year after having a baby. Symptoms go beyond “the baby blues,” which causes minor sadness, worry or stress.
- Persistent depressive disorder (PDD): PDD is also known as dysthymia. Symptoms of PDD are less severe than major depression. But people experience PDD symptoms for two years or longer.
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD): Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a severe form of premenstrual disorder (PMS). It affects women in the days or weeks leading up to their menstrual period.
- Psychotic depression: People with psychotic depression have severe depressive symptoms and delusions or hallucinations. Delusions are beliefs in things that are not based in reality, while hallucinations involve seeing, hearing, or feeling touched by things that aren’t actually there.
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD): Seasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder, usually starts in late fall and early winter. It often goes away during the spring and summer.
Various factors can cause depression:
- Brain chemistry: Abnormalities in brain chemical levels may lead to depression.
- Genetics: If you have a relative with depression, you may be more ly to become depressed.
- Life events: Stress, the death of a loved one, upsetting events (trauma), isolation and lack of support can cause depression.
- Medical conditions: Ongoing physical pain and illnesses can cause depression. People often have depression along with conditions diabetes, cancer and Parkinson’s disease.
- Medication: Some medications have depression as a side effect. Recreational drugs and alcohol can also cause depression or make it worse.
- Personality: People who are easily overwhelmed or have trouble coping may be prone to depression.
What are the symptoms of depression?
Depression can affect your emotions, mind and body. Depression symptoms include:
- Feeling very sad, hopeless or worried.
- Not enjoying things that used to give you joy.
- Being easily irritated or frustrated.
- Eating too much or too little.
- Changes in how much you sleep.
- Having a difficult time concentrating or remembering things.
- Experiencing physical problems headache, stomachache or sexual dysfunction.
- Thinking about hurting or killing yourself.
If you or someone you know has thoughts of hurting themselves, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800.273.8255. This national network of local crisis centers provides free, private emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Everyone may feel sad or down from time to time. However, clinical depression has more intense symptoms that last two weeks or longer.
To determine whether you have clinical depression, your healthcare provider will ask questions. You may complete a questionnaire and provide a family history. Your healthcare provider may also perform an exam or order lab tests to see if you have another medical condition.
Depression can be serious, but it’s also treatable. Treatment for depression includes:
- Self-help: Regular exercise, getting enough sleep, and spending time with people you care about can improve depression symptoms.
- Counseling: Counseling or psychotherapy is talking with a mental health professional. Your counselor helps you address your problems and develop coping skills. Sometimes brief therapy is all you need. Other people continue therapy longer.
- Alternative medicine: People with mild depression or ongoing symptoms can improve their well-being with complementary therapy. Therapy may include massage, acupuncture, hypnosis and biofeedback.
- Medication: Prescription medicine called antidepressants can help change brain chemistry that causes depression. Antidepressants can take a few weeks to have an effect. Some antidepressants have side effects, which often improve with time. If they don’t, talk to your provider. A different medications may work better for you.
- Brain stimulation therapy: Brain stimulation therapy can help people who have severe depression or depression with psychosis. Types of brain stimulation therapy include electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and vagus nerve stimulation (VNS).
Depression can affect anyone, no matter their age, gender or circumstances. About 16 million Americans experience depression each year.
Women may experience depression more often than men. And your genetics or other health conditions can increase the lihood that you’ll have at least one depressive episode in your lifetime.
Can depression be prevented?
You can help prevent depression by getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet and practicing regular self-care activities such as exercise, meditation and yoga.
If you’ve had depression before, you may be more ly to experience it again. If you have depression symptoms, get help. Care can help you feel better sooner.
Depression can be mild or severe. And it can be brief or long-lasting. It’s important to get help right away.
Without treatment, depression can:
- Become worse.
- Increase your chance of other health conditions, dementia.
- Lead to self-harm or death.
- Return, even after you start to feel better.
If you have symptoms of depression, see your healthcare provider. They can give you an accurate diagnosis, refer you to a specialist or suggest treatment options.
If you or someone you know is thinking of hurting themselves or taking their own life: