Published On: April 24, 2022
Reviewed On: April 24, 2022
Updated On: July 5, 2023
Major depression affects a large percentage of Americans. In fact, in 2017, an estimated 7.1% of adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode. Depression is a mood disorder that can be debilitating and affect your daily life and functioning. While it’s common to go through periods of grief and even deep, profound sadness, when these feelings persist and begin to interfere with life, it may be more than just the normal blues.
Depression can present in many forms, and the type of depression you have, along with the severity you experience, can have a wide range of symptoms and impacts on your life.
If you’re wondering how many types of depression are there, read on. We’re exploring the different kinds of depression and its symptoms here.
There are many forms of depression. Your depression type can lead to a different depression symptom, and some symptoms may even overlap or seem similar to others. It’s important to understand the various types of depression and the symptoms that are common to each if you think you may be depressed.
Though depression can come in many forms, the following are some of the most commonly experienced types.
Sometimes referred to as clinical depression, major depressive disorder (MDD) is a mood disorder where those affected typically have depressive symptoms almost all day, virtually every day. It’s important to note that just like a mental health condition, MDD is not situational. Even if you have a very full life with loving relationships and a great career you can be diagnosed with MDD.
So, what does depression feel like? A typical depression symptom can occur for several weeks or even months. Sometimes MDD is one single episode, and other times it’s something people deal with for years or their entire life.
Major depressive disorder symptoms may include:
Persistent depressive disorder (PDD) was once commonly known as dysthymic disorder. This chronic depression lasts for two years or more. It typically won’t feel quite as debilitating as major depressive disorder, but it can still have a major impact on your life, relationships, and daily function. The severity of PDD can range from mild, to moderate, to severe depression.
Even with brief reprieves of symptoms (usually two months or less), symptoms typically return and can be quite disruptive. Because PDD symptoms can occur for such a long period, it’s not unusual for those with it to start feeling like they’re having regular behavior and thought patterns.
Symptoms of PDD or dysthymic disorder can include:
Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that results in large mood swings. Those with this bipolar depression will experience periods of mania (extreme highs) that often alternate with depressive periods (extreme lows).
There is an increased risk of suicide with bipolar disorder, and those who have the most severe form may experience delusions and hallucinations. Symptoms may differ, depending on if someone is having a manic or depressive episode.
Symptoms of a bipolar manic episode can include:
Symptoms of a bipolar depressive episode can include:
It’s clinically referred to as major depressive disorder with peripartum onset, and PPD is experienced in the weeks before and up to months after giving birth. It’s known as perinatal depression when the symptoms occur during pregnancy, and postpartum when they occur after birth. While it’s largely women who have PPD, some men also become depressed during this time.
Symptoms of PPD can include:
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is an extreme and severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMDD tends to have more psychological symptoms, whereas PMS on its own can have both psychological as well as physical symptoms. With PMDD, the psychological symptoms are more extreme, however. High emotions (similar to what you may experience with PMS) may present as a more intense sadness or depression that actually hinders daily functioning when you have PMDD.
PMDD is thought to be caused by hormonal changes (like PMS) but can become so severe that some women experience thoughts of suicide in some cases.
Symptoms of PMDD can include:
Depressive psychosis, or depression with psychosis, occurs when someone with major depression experiences a loss of touch with reality. Delusions and hallucinations are common during depressive episodes. Depressive psychosis is clinically known as a major depressive disorder with psychotic features.
For people who have depressive psychosis, these experiences are very realistic. They’re unable to recognize that what they think or feel is happening is not true or based on reality.
Symptoms of depressive psychosis can include any of the following, with the inclusion of delusions or hallucinations:
Symptoms of psychosis can include:
“Depression can be much more than just feeling sad or having a difficult time getting out of bed. If you find yourself feeling more irritable than normal, or if things you used to enjoy simply aren’t fun anymore, you may want to consider talking with a mental health professional and getting screened for depression.”
Do you wonder if you have any of the forms of depression discussed here? Take our depression test to find out if you may have typical depression symptoms. Keep in mind that depression can have different effects on different people, so if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms we’ve covered and you feel like they’re beginning to interfere with your life, it may be time to get help.
Reaching out to your doctor or a care provider who works with people who have a mental health condition is the first step. They can guide you in the direction of where to seek treatment, whether through in-person or online therapy. Depression treatment is available, and with the right guidance and support, you can learn how to manage depression and return to living a full and productive life.
“Depression can make you feel hopeless, but there are a lot of different strategies and treatments available to ease symptoms of depression. Talking with a mental health professional can help you figure out a unique plan to improve and maintain your mental wellness.”
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Ashley Ertel, LCSW, is a Nationally Board Certified Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has over a decade of experience specializing in trauma and depression, working primarily with first responders, military personnel, and veterans, and sexual assault survivors.