The Different Types of Depression

November 12, 2012

The Different Types of Depression

There are many different types of depression, which can vary in its symptoms, duration and severity of the symptoms. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, an American Psychiatric Association has defined Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymic Disorder and Manic Depression, three of the mot commonly diagnosed types of depression. The criteria generally followed in order to diagnose one of these three conditions is that the symptoms must either cause the patient significant distress or have a direct effect on daily life and functions. Also they cannot be caused by any medication, substance abuse or a related condition to an underlying illness.

Clinical Depression

Major Depressive Disorder, also known as Clinical Depression, involves symptoms that for the majority of the day and most days for a period of at least two weeks. In order to diagnose Major Depressive Disorder, the patient should experience either a depressed mood or a significant decrease of interest in any enjoyable activity as well as at least four of the following symptoms:

  • Either an increase or loss of appetite a long with a gain or loss of weight

  • Sleeping excessively or getting a lack of sleep

  • Anxiety or other form of mental tension that is noticeable to others such as excessive movement

  • Fatigue or feeling drained of energy

  • A feeling of worthlessness or a feeling of guilt

  • Difficulty in thinking, concentrating or decision making

  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

Dysthymic Disorder

Dysthymic Disorder refers to a depressed mood or feeling that is almost constant for at least two years as well two or more of the following symptoms:

  • Either an increase or loss of appetite a long with a gain or loss of weight

  • Sleeping excessively or getting a lack of sleep

  • Fatigue or feeling drained of energy

  • A lack of self-esteem

  • Difficulty in thinking, concentrating or decision making

  • A feeling of hopelessness

Symptoms of this type of depression do last for longer than two months at a time but return regularly. It is considered to have symptoms less severe than Major Depression but often more persistent.

Manic Depression

Manic Depression, which has more recently become known as Bipolar Disorder involves random periods of depression, mania or both at the same time. The changes in state can be rapid and a manic episode may include a persistent and extreme irritable mood. These episodes usually last for at least one week with at least three of the following other symptoms occurring:

  • An inflated feeling of self-esteem or self-importance

  • A decreased need of sleep

  • A compulsion to keep talking or to talk more that usual

  • A rush of erratic thoughts or ideas

  • Easily distracted

  • An increase in activities with a goal such as work, school or sexual

  • Excessive movement

  • Involvement in risk taking pleasurable activities such as careless spending or careless sexual activity

  • Hallucinations or delusions

Symptoms of Manic Depression can be extreme enough to require hospitalisation in order to prevent harm to the patient or those around them.

There are many other types of depression and subcategories such as post partum depression, seasonal affective disorder, anxiety depression, atypical depression, chronic depression, double depression and melancholic depression. If you notice any of the symptoms of depression, seek advice and treatment from your doctor or a mental health care professional.

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