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Do You Know the Nine Types of Depression?

Though depression is commonly mistaken for sadness, it is much more than a state of mind. According to the National InstituteTypes of Depression of Mental Illness, depression is classified as an illness that interferes with daily life or functioning.

According to the Kim Foundation on Mental Health Resources, 26.2 percent of individuals over the age of 18 suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder. Anyone can be affected, and each person experiences it differently. Though many subsets of the disorder exist, there are nine more general classifications.

9 Types of Depression:

1. Major Depression

Also known as clinical depression, individuals suffering from this form of the disorder endure a depressed mood most of the day. It typically causes a loss of interest in normal activities and can affect sleep, appetite and social routines. These symptoms are often experienced for a couple of months at a time.

2. Persistent Depressive Disorder

Persistent depressive disorder is a sense of hopelessness and despair lasting for a period of at least two years. This form was previously referred to as dysthymia or chronic depression. According to WebMD, the symptoms may be less severe at different points, but last for two years or more.

3. Psychotic Depression

This form can be quite difficult, as it includes some form of psychosis (delusions or hallucinations) along with the typical symptoms. A false sense of reality on top of feeling depressed is a combination of illnesses often treated with medication. The U.S. National Library of medicine explains that the cause of this subset is unknown, but it commonly runs in families.

4. Postpartum Depression

Often written off as “baby blues,” this form of the disorder is a result of hormonal and physical changes to the body after giving birth. Ten to 15 percent of women suffer from postpartum depression, and can experience the symptoms within a year of giving birth. Treatment is available from any of your medical doctors, including your OBGYN.

5. Seasonal Affective Disorder

During winter months, less natural light is produced. The human body reacts accordingly, causing people to feel the need to hibernate. In these circumstances seasonal affective disorder can set in, resulting in oversleeping, daytime fatigue, overeating and loss of interest in daily activities. An interesting form of treatment, light therapy, involves the use of a device that imitates natural light.

6. Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder was formerly referred to as manic depression, but was changed because those suffering from bipolar disorder can experience extreme low moods (depression), as well as high moods (mania). These highs and lows fluctuate, out of the control of the person with bipolar disorder.

7. Atypical Depression

Atypical depression is considered one of the most underdiagnosed and most common forms of the disorder. It can be more easily diagnosed because of its physical side effects on the person suffering, which include a sense of heaviness of the arms and legs. Often, the physician may not link the physical symptoms to depression right away. Other symptoms include oversleeping, overeating and increased relationship problems.

8. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

This form is often mistaken for premenstrual syndrome (PMS), but is much more severe. This occurs during the second half of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Only 5 percent of women experience PMDD, while 85 percent of women experience PMS. Symptoms include severe depressed moods and anxiety.

9. Situational Depression

Situational depression usually stems from a catastrophic event, or a series of unpleasant events strung together. Individuals suffering from this form often feel excessively sad, worried and nervous. These situations can often trigger more serious forms of the disorder if they aren’t addressed promptly.


Though many people face a form of this disorder, it is possible to overcome the symptoms and get back to a state of good mental health. Any individual suffering from a mental illness of any kind is encouraged to seek assistance from a physician, counselor or other mental health professional. No matter who you inform, it is important to let someone you trust know your struggle with depression. Each day in treatment is a day closer to becoming healthy, just like the healing process from any illness.

If you or someone you know needs immediate assistance, 1-800-273-TALK is a free, 24-hour call center that is willing to listen.

You can learn more about many of these disorders on the NIMH website.