Depression is often lumped into a one-sum category, but there are actually different types of the mental health disorder, Harvard Health explains. Six common types are discussed below.
- Major depression
This is the type of depression most people associate depression with. It is when someone feels dark, down, and uninterested in activities someone used to find pleasurable. People with this type of depression can experience an array of issues, such as sleep issues; changes in weight, appetite, and energy; and an overwhelming feeling of worthlessness. Some people may even have suicidal thoughts or reoccurring thoughts of death. Psychotherapy and medication often helps with major depression.
- Persistent depressive disorder
This type of depression involves a person being in a low mood for at least two years without feeling the overwhelming emptiness of major depression. A person with persistent depressive disorder experiences symptoms similar to someone with major depression, such as feeling joyless or low energy, but necessarily at the same level of intensity. Persistent depressive disorder used to be known as “dysthymia.”
- Bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder entails transitioning from time periods of intense highs to time periods of intense lows. This form of depression used to be referred to as manic-depressive disease. When someone with bipolar disorder is experiencing a maniac episode, everything is heightened: energy, self-esteem, sexual promiscuity, and risk taking. At the end of the maniac period, a person with bipolar disorder experiences an intense period of depression.
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
Seasonal affective disorder is a well-known and common form of temporary depression. Often, when it is darker for longer periods of time during the fall and winter, people experience seasonal affective disorder. People who experience SAD usually feel down and less energized. To help counteract these symptoms, light therapy is a useful treatment. Psychotherapy and medication can help as well.
- Perinatal depression
Perinatal depression is a type of depression that is only experienced by women. Some women experience perinatal depression either during pregnancy or within 12 months of delivery. After delivery, this type of depression is commonly known as postpartum depression. The depressive episodes can be major or minor, and they affect one in seven women who give birth. Counseling and medication are the most commonly used treatment methods.
PMDD is another form of depression unique to women. It is an intense form of premenstrual syndrome, which is commonly known as PMS. This form of depression, like PMS, begins after ovulation and ends once menstruation starts. Medicine normally helps this form of depression.