Depression manifests in diverse ways, with each variant bearing individual characteristics and features. According to a survey by the National Institutes of Health, a quarter of young adults worldwide aged between 10 and 24 have experienced depression. Exact detection of these multiple forms is crucial for personalising proper treatment. Let’s learn more about the most common types of depression.

What are the types of depression?

There are several ways for depression to manifest itself, along with distinctive symptoms, traits, and varying degrees of severity and duration. Some common kinds of depression include: 
  1. Major Depressive Disorder: A prevalent mental health illness, major depressive disorder (MDD) is characterised by persistent sorrow, diminished interest in activities, and difficulties with day-to-day functioning. Changes in appetite, sleep issues, exhaustion, trouble focusing, and suicidal thoughts are some of the symptoms. MDD may affect anybody and usually necessitates treatment such as therapy and medication to alleviate symptoms and enhance quality of life.
  2. Bipolar Depression: Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterised by extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression).  While depressive episodes are characterised by melancholy, exhaustion, and a loss of interest in activities, manic periods are marked by an enhanced mood, increased energy, impulsivity, and a decreased need for sleep. There are several forms of bipolar disorder, such as Cyclothymic Disorder, Bipolar I, and Bipolar II, each having unique criteria and mood episode patterns. Mood stabilisers, antidepressants, psychotherapy, and alterations to lifestyle are commonly used in treatment to control symptoms and stabilise mood swings.
  3. Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD): Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD) is a chronic depression that lasts for at least two years and is marked by a recurrently poor mood and disinterest in everyday activities. Although symptoms are not as severe as those of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), quality of life can still be greatly impacted. Therapy, medication, and lifestyle modifications are typically part of the treatment.
  4. Postpartum Depression (PPD): Following childbirth, some women have PPD, which is characterised by intense emotions of sadness, worry, and tiredness. It may interfere with the new mums' capacity to care for themselves and their newborns, making it harder for them to form a relationship with their infant. Mood swings, sobbing fits, agitation, trouble bonding with the child, and adjustments to eating or sleep schedules, are some of the symptoms. Although it can happen later, PPD can manifest itself in the initial weeks following childbirth. Women suffering from PPD should seek help from healthcare experts since treatment options include therapy, medication, and peer support groups.
  5. Psychotic Depression: A subtype of major depressive disorder (MDD), psychotic depression is characterised by extreme depression coupled with psychotic symptoms including hallucinations or delusions. Delusions are incorrect notions that persist despite evidence to the contrary, whereas hallucinations include experiencing sensations that are not real, such as hearing voices. Psychotic depression is more severe and may need a combination of antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs to treat both depressed and psychotic symptoms adequately. Psychotherapy may also help people manage their symptoms and enhance their general functioning.
  6. Seasonal Affective Disorder: Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a kind of depression associated with seasonal changes. If you're like most individuals with SAD, your symptoms might begin in the fall and last throughout the winter, draining your energy and making you cranky. Spring and summertime are usually when these symptoms go away. Medication, psychotherapy, and light therapy, or phototherapy, are possible treatments for SAD.
  7. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder: The severe version of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Every month, it produces a variety of physical and mental symptoms in a week or two leading up to your period.  PMDD develops during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. This is the interval of time that follows your ovulation and precedes the onset of your period. Some major symptoms of PMDD include breast tenderness, pain in your muscles and joints, headaches, mood swings, and lack of energy.
  8. Atypical Depression: Atypical depression is a subtype of major depression that varies from typical depression in numerous significant aspects. One distinguishing trait of atypical depression is mood reactivity, which means that individuals' moods might improve in reaction to good events or experiences. Other typical symptoms include an increased appetite or weight gain, excessive tiredness or a desire for sleep (hypersomnia), a sense of heaviness in the limbs (leaden paralysis), and sensitivity to rejection or criticism, all of which have a substantial influence on social and occupational performance. Psychotherapy and antidepressant medicines are frequently used to treat atypical depression. Furthermore, therapeutic approaches such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) or interpersonal therapy (IPT) may help address the specific symptoms and difficulties associated with this subtype of depression.

When to consult a doctor?

If you're having persistent feelings of despair or hopelessness, a lack of interest in previously loved activities, changes in eating or sleep habits, problems focusing, exhaustion, or thoughts of dying, you should see a doctor. If these symptoms linger for over a few weeks and interfere with your everyday activities, you should seek expert treatment.

A mental health care plan can be quite beneficial in treating depression. It provides a systematic framework for treatment, medicine, and support services specific to your requirements. It is designed collaboratively with your healthcare practitioner to guarantee complete care, regular evaluation, and adjustment of treatment plans. This comprehensive approach targets the underlying causes of depression, encouraging general well-being and stable mental health

Understanding these types of depression is vital for precise assessment and correct treatment. Depending on the individual's needs, each type may demand diverse strategies including medical intervention, counselling, lifestyle adaptations, or a combination of all.

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This content is created for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition. For emergencies please immediately contact 000.