Being aware of the various types of depression is vital for reducing the misconceptions and stigma revolving around mental health conditions. Millions of people in the United States live with some form of depression. Knowing the signs and symptoms of all the types of depression helps increase awareness so people can seek the proper treatment and self-care. The following guide will go through the six forms of depression, including associated signs and treatments.
To understand what Major Depression looks like, we have listed the DSM 5 criteria below for Major Depressive Disorder . The DSM 5 provides health workers with what signs and symptoms to look for and gives a framework for diagnosing. Major Depression goes beyond simply feeling down or sad and includes the listed signs and symptoms below. If you feel like you are experiencing the symptoms below, we encourage you to reach out to a mental health professional for further assessment.
Signs and Symptoms
Common symptoms of this condition include:
- Feeling extremely sad, hopeless, and fearful
- Resorting to angry outbursts
- Feeling easily irritable or frustrated
- Disinterest in activities that were once enjoyed
- Having various sleep disturbances, like insomnia or sleeping too much
- Being overly tired even performing small, everyday tasks
- Appetite changes, leading to weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain
- Slower thinking, speaking, or body movements
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Fixating on past regrets and missteps, leading to self-blame
- Feeling anxious, restless, or agitated
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering things, and/or making decisions
- Suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, or suicide
- Various physical problems, such as headaches and stomach upset
Treatment plans can look different depending on the individual and can include one or a combination of therapeutic approaches. Below we have listed the three most common forms of treatment:
- Medication like antidepressants
- Psychotherapy (traditional talk therapy) using techniques from cognitive behavioral and/or interpersonal therapy
- Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), used to treat life-threatening depression that hasn’t responded to therapy and medication plans.
Persistent Depression (PDD) is similar in many ways to major depression, sharing some of the same symptoms. However, the difference between the two is the duration of symptoms. In PDD, the symptoms must have been ongoing for at least two years. Adults diagnosed with Major Depression have episodes of symptoms with some gaps in symptom-free time.
Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms below are much like Major Depression:
- Feeling depressed and helpless
- Becoming irritated over little things
- A change in appetite, either wanting to eat too much or not eating enough
- Sleep issues, like insomnia or sleeping too much
- Experiencing fatigue or having low energy
- Expressing words that indicate a struggle with low self-esteem
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Having feelings of hopelessness
Like Major Depression, the reatment for PDD includes various medicines (SSRIs) and psychotherapy (talk therapy).
Bipolar Depression is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings from an emotional high to an extreme low. These alternating mood shifts are referred to as mania or hypomania (extreme high) and depression (extreme low). Approximately 4.4% of adults in the United States experience bipolar disorder in their lives.
Signs and Symptoms
Bipolar Depression can be classified into one of three categories:
- Bipolar I: The person has had at least one manic episode, preceded, or followed by hypomanic or major depressive episodes. Sometimes, during the mania phase, a break from reality (psychosis) can occur.
- Bipolar II: The person has had a minimum of one major depressive episode and one hypomanic episode but never a manic episode.
- Cyclothymia: A person with this condition will have had at least two years of several periods of hypomania symptoms and depressive symptoms. The depressive symptoms are not as severe as major depression, though.
In most cases, a person affected by bipolar depression will need to take mood-stabilizing medication to help manage the episodes. In addition, the provider will use therapies, such as:
- Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT)
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Family-focused therapy
Psychoeducation is another helpful tool used to manage bipolar disorder. Psychoeducation is a type of therapeutic approach or intervention that focuses on providing individuals and their families with information and education about mental health conditions, symptoms, treatments, coping strategies, and other relevant topics. The primary goals of psychoeducation are to empower individuals and their support systems, improve their understanding of mental health issues, and enhance their ability to manage and live with these conditions effectively.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Millions of people are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). People with major depression and bipolar depression have a higher percentage of experiencing this condition than the general population.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs at a specific time of the year, typically during the fall and winter months when there is less natural sunlight.
Signs and Symptoms
Some people have fall/winter seasonal affective disorder, while others have spring/summer seasonal affective disorder.
- Oversleeping or sleeping more than usual
- Appetite changes, with cravings for carbohydrate foods
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Low appetite
- Weight loss
- Anxious or easily agitated
- Increased irritability
The three main forms of treatment for seasonal affective disorder are light therapy (exposure to bright artificial light that mimics natural sunlight), psychotherapy, and medication (such as antidepressants).
Postpartum is a medical condition that affects women after they give birth to a baby. In some cases, women may begin to feel postpartum symptoms during pregnancy. Postpartum is a serious condition that consists of a more severe form of depression related to the physical and hormonal changes as a woman’s body returns to its pre-pregnancy state. This form of depression can last for several months or longer.
Signs and Symptoms
Here are some signs and symptoms of postpartum depression:
- Overwhelming tiredness or fatigue
- Depressed mood or extreme mood swings
- Less interest in everyday pleasures and activities
- Crying much more than usual
- Severe anxiety and panic attacks
- Intrusive thoughts of harming oneself or the baby
- Struggling to bond with the baby
- Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, shame, or inadequacy
- Difficulty with concentration
- Intense irritability and anger
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Changes in appetite
- Insomnia or over-sleeping
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
Most treatment options for postpartum involve psychotherapy, antidepressants, or other medications, such as antipsychotic medicines, mood stabilizers, and benzodiazepines.
Since many postpartum symptoms could also mimic those common with becoming a parent, new mothers should consider starting therapy right before/ right after giving birth to monitor any symptoms that arise and help identify postpartum early.
Atypical depression is a subtype of major depression with a specific set of symptoms that make it different from typical depression Atypical Depression is milder but more persistent and long-lasting.
Signs and Symptoms
Here are some signs and symptoms of atypical depression:
- Mood Reactivity: In atypical depression, individuals experience mood reactivity, meaning their mood can improve temporarily in response to positive events or situations. This is in contrast to the persistent low mood seen in other forms of depression.
- Increased Appetite and Weight Gain: People with atypical depression often have an increased appetite and may gain a significant amount of weight as a result of overeating. This is a hallmark symptom that distinguishes atypical depression.
- Hypersomnia: Individuals with atypical depression may experience excessive sleepiness and prolonged sleep durations (hypersomnia). They may sleep more than usual and find it difficult to wake up in the morning.
- Leaden Paralysis: Some individuals with atypical depression report experiencing a heavy, leaden sensation in their limbs, making them feel physically weighed down.
- Rejection Sensitivity: People with atypical depression may be highly sensitive to interpersonal rejection, often interpreting social situations negatively and feeling a strong need for social approval.
- Interpersonal Difficulties: Atypical depression may lead to difficulties in personal relationships due to these heightened sensitivities and emotional responses.
Atypical depression treatment involves psychotherapy (talk therapy) and/or medication (MAOIs/SSRIs). Other factors can also aid patients in feeling better including lifestyle modifications, such as regular exercise, self-care, or stopping alcohol and/or recreational drug use.
Although much has been done in society to decrease the stigma associated with mental health conditions like major depression and Bipolar Disorder, many people still have misconceptions about it that are important to dispel.
Misconceptions say that:
- The person simply lacks willpower.
- The person is only feeling “blue” and will get over it.
- Medicine alone should resolve the problem.
- The person is giving into their feelings.
- The person can snap out of it easily.
- Depression affects everyone in the same way.
- Depression only happens when something negative has or is happening.
- Depression is the same as anxiety.
- Only adults get depression.
It’s important for someone who is struggling with a mental health condition, like any of the depressive conditions, to seek out the many available resources. Telemynd is a source of support for those who need to connect with a mental health provider.
Telemynd offers a comprehensive mental health solution for people who want to be matched with qualified, mental health providers. We also partner with a variety of insurance companies to make necessary healthcare access easier.
Telemynd's specialists are here to assist individuals or their loved ones on their journey to improved well-being. Contact Telemynd today.