Depression affects millions of people worldwide. In fact, it is the most common psychological disorder across the globe. Although much more is known about depression now than in the recent past, many people still lump multiple types of depression into a single category. That oversimplifies the condition immensely. The truth is that depressive disorders come in several forms. A diagnosis often depends upon the severity and duration of an individual’s symptoms.
Three main types of depression do exist. Despite their differences, each syndrome has certain criteria in common. They cause significant distress in the sufferer and/or impair that person’s ability to function on a day-to-day basis. It’s important to note that these types of depression are not caused by a medical condition or substance. They are biochemical disorders that may require medication as a treatment. (Note: If you suspect that you or someone you love is afflicted with any type of depression, please seek assistance immediately.) Depression is an illness, albeit a highly treatable one, but an illness nonetheless. Those afflicted with depression should be treated with the sensitivity and respect that is their due.
1) Major Depressive Disorder – is also known as Major, or Clinical, Depression. This is the most serious form of depression. Most of the symptoms usually attributable to depression are present in those who are clinically depressed. They last a lot longer than in other depressive disorders (ranging from as little as two weeks to up to two years and beyond) and the person afflicted with this condition may be subject to a relapse. A person who is clinically depressed may or may not have suicidal thoughts. However, they will show a decreased interest in activities that used to bring them enjoyment.
2) Dysthymic Disorder (or Dysthymia) – is a near-constant depression lasting for a long time. Dysthymia isn’t diagnosed unless a person has been in a non-continuous depressed state of mind for several years. Those with dysthymic disorder struggle with low energy or fatigue, low self-esteem, difficulty making decisions and decrease or increase in sleeping or eating. These individuals may exhibit symptoms for several weeks or months at a time and do not generally struggle with the same intensity of those symptoms during a dysthymic episode.
3) Manic Depression, aka Bipolar Disorder – has become an increasingly popular diagnosis in the past decade or so. Those who struggle with manic depression go through periods of mania and depression. During the manic period, the bipolar individual has an inflated sense of self-importance or self-esteem. They can also become more talkative, show a marked decrease in the need for sleep and/or food, get easily distracted and more. The bipolar sufferer will alternate these manic periods with depressive episodes.
Other forms of depression can include, but are not limited to:
- Post-Partum Depression
- Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD)
- Anxiety Depression
- Atypical Depression
- Chronic Depression
- Double Depression
- Endogenous Depression
- Situational, or Reactive, Depression
- Agitated Depression
- Psychotic Depression
- and Melancholic Depression.
For more information on these or any of the other kinds of depression, click on the links within this page.