What Are the Various Types of Depression?

September 8, 2023

Depression is a complex mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. While some people may think it is a single disorder, there are several types of depression that individuals may experience. Understanding these different forms of depression can help identify symptoms and guide appropriate treatment options. 

What Is Depression?

Depression is a mood disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness, and a lack of interest or pleasure in activities. It goes beyond normal mood fluctuations and can significantly impact daily functioning and quality of life. Depression often affects thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and physical well-being.

Major Depression

Major depression, also known as clinical depression or major depressive disorder (MDD), is the most common form of depression. It involves persistent hopelessness, sadness, and a loss of interest in once-enjoyable activities. 

Other symptoms can include changes in appetite and sleep patterns, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, worthlessness or guilt, and recurring thoughts of self-harm or suicide. Major depression significantly impacts a person’s ability to function at work/school and maintain healthy relationships. 

Manic Depression

Manic depression, also known as bipolar disorder, is a mood disorder characterized by extreme highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression). People with manic depression experience episodes of elevated mood, increased energy levels, impulsivity, racing thoughts, and decreased need for sleep during manic phases. 

Periods of intense sadness, fatigue, loss of interest, or pleasure in activities during depressive phases can follow manic phases. The shift between these two extremes can vary in frequency and intensity. 

Chronic Depression

Chronic depression, also known as persistent depressive disorder (PDD) or dysthymia, is a type of depression that lasts for a prolonged period. Unlike major depression, where symptoms are severe but often intermittent, chronic depression involves persistently low mood and feelings of hopelessness lasting for two years or more. 

While the symptoms may not be as intense as those in major depression, they can still significantly impact daily functioning and quality of life. Individuals with chronic depression may experience changes in appetite and sleep patterns, low energy levels, difficulty concentrating, feelings of self-criticism or inadequacy, and a general dissatisfaction with their lives. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a depression usually with a seasonal pattern. It typically develops as a result of less natural sunlight, common in the fall and winter. But it can also affect some individuals in the spring and summer. The specific cause of SAD is unknown, but it is believed to be linked to reduced exposure to sunlight, affecting brain chemistry and melatonin levels.

SAD symptoms include low mood, lack of energy, changes in appetite or weight, difficulty sleeping or oversleeping, irritability, hopelessness or worthlessness, and difficulty concentrating. These symptoms usually improve with the arrival of spring or increased exposure to sunlight.

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is a type of depression that occurs in women post-birth. It is characterized by extreme exhaustion, sadness, and anxiety that may interfere with the ability to care for themselves or their newborn. Postpartum depression can begin within the first few weeks after childbirth or develop gradually over several months.

The exact causes of postpartum depression are not fully understood. However, hormonal changes, sleep deprivation, physical recovery from childbirth, and emotional adjustments could play a role. Risk factors include a history of mental health disorders, lack of social support, and a difficult pregnancy or childbirth experience.

Other Types of Depression

In addition to the previously mentioned types of depression, there are several other types. Psychotic depression is a type of depression that includes symptoms of severe depression along with features of psychosis, such as delusions or hallucinations.

Atypical depression is where people often experience mood reactivity, meaning their mood brightens in response to positive events. They may also have excessive sleepiness, increased appetite or weight gain, and sensitivity to rejection.

Situational depression, also known as reactive depression, occurs in response to specific stressful life events such as losing a loved one, relationship problems, financial difficulties, or other significant challenges. Substance-induced depressive disorder is a type of depression directly caused by co-occurring disorders or develops during withdrawal from substances.

Types of Therapy That Help Depression

Several types of therapy are effective in treating depression, including:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), a goal-oriented, short-term therapy, helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors contributing to their depression.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) helps people with depression by teaching emotional regulation skills, distress tolerance techniques, interpersonal effectiveness skills, and mindfulness practices.
  • Red light therapy is a newer form of therapy that uses red or near-infrared light to stimulate the body’s natural healing processes by improving mood and reducing depressive symptoms. 
  • Yoga helps to reduce symptoms of depression by improving self-care practices and reducing stress levels.
  • Mindfulness can help individuals with depression by reducing ruminative thinking, improving emotional regulation, and promoting self-compassion. 
  • Art therapy can be particularly beneficial for individuals who struggle with verbalizing their feelings and provides a safe space to explore emotions.
  • Music therapy can help individuals with depression by providing an outlet for self-expression, promoting relaxation, and enhancing emotional expression and communication skills. 
  • Float tank therapy can help relieve stress, reduce anxiety and depression symptoms, promote relaxation, and enhance overall well-being.
  • Biosound therapy promotes relaxation, reduces stress, enhances mood, and can be beneficial in managing symptoms of depression.

Caring Depression Treatment in Chattanooga, TN

At Time Wellness in Chattanooga, TN, we help people recover from depression disorders using holistic and evidence-based therapies. We work with our patients to create a personalized treatment plan to improve their overall mental health and well-being.

Begin your journey now by contacting us today.