Types of Depression

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Types of Depression

Although we may see depression as one disorder there are actually several different type of depressive disorders that manifest in a unique manner and result due to different causes. Becoming aware of the type of depression you are struggling with will help you find the treatment that has the best fit. Symptoms of depressed mood are frequently experienced by people who have been exposed to traumatic events. If you have symptoms of depression but are not recovering from the treatments being provided you might also want to ask your health care provider if you might require treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress.
The most common forms of depression are Major Depressive Disorder; Dysthymic Disorder and Bi-polar Disorder (aka Manic-Depression). They are share the common traits of significant and debilitating emotional distress that impairs ability to function in regular daily activities (i.e., work, socializing, studying, etc.)

  • Major Depressive Disorder is characterized a number of chronic and constant daily symptoms that impair the individual's ability to experience joy in life or to manage the demands of daily living. Many people who suffer from depression experience one episode and then never again while some experience recurring bouts of depressed mood.  The most common features are listed above in the Signs and Symptoms section of this FAQ.
  • Dysthymic Disorder sufferers experience a low-grade depression that is not as severe as Major Depression but lasts a long period of time (at least two years or more in duration). Those who struggle with dysthmia are often able to manage many of their regular daily activities, work, socializing, studying and other life demands. However they generally describe a sense of lack of enjoyment and a disconnection from any pleasureable feelings. They may feel that this is their normal way of experiencing life and that they do not recall feeling any other way.
  • Bi-polar Disorder is often characterized by cycling moods which range from Manic feelings to Depressed feelings. When an individual is in a manic phase they often describe it as high energy combined with irritability which generates increased levels of activty. They may feel compelled to act out their mood through compulsive spending, speaking loudly and rapidly, increased sexual activity and various types of risky behaviors. They may also experienced decreased need for sleep, lack of fear, racing thoughts, and an inflated sense of self. It is important to be aware that treating Bipolar Disorder with antidepressants can make the symptoms worse. Ensure that the prescribing practitioner is familiar with current medication for Bipolar Disorder if you have been given this diagnosis or believe that you may have Bipolar disorder.

Each of these types of depression require monitoring and may warrant hospitalization or intensive therapy or treatment. Nonetheless, depression is treatable through psychological therapy and when treated with the proper approach is is linked to good outcomes.

There are other less common types of depressive disorder that might be of concern. When meeting with your mental health care professional ensure that you are notified of any diagnoses that they make and request information about the specific type of depression that you have been diagnosed with.