What Are The Different Types Of Depression? Doctor Answers

Depression is when the feeling of sadness persists for a long time

Shubhangi Shah
Written by: Shubhangi ShahPublished at: Dec 03, 2021Updated at: Dec 03, 2021
What Are The Different Types Of Depression? Doctor Answers

It’s OK to feel sad once in a while. It’s a normal part of human existence. However, when such a sad mood persists long enough and interferes with day-to-day life, it’s called depression, which is a serious mental health issue. In recent times, many people have come forward to share their experiences. Many people also share useful information that might help others to cope. But, do you know that depression is an umbrella term and has different kinds, with different causes and treatments? To understand the different kinds of depression better, Onlymyhealth spoke to Dr Jyoti Kapoor, Senior Psychiatrist, and Founder, Manasthali.

What Is Depression? Symptoms, Causes

Before we delve into the different kinds of depression, let us understand this mental health condition a bit better. As you already know that depression is when sadness lasts for a long time and interferes with a person’s normal functioning. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), depression has the following symptoms:

  • Persistent feeling of sadness
  • Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy earlier
  • Getting irritated or frustrated easily
  • Sleep disturbances such as finding it difficult to fall or stay asleep
  • Change in appetite
  • You might experience aches and pains
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • Feeling helpless and/or worthless
  • In extreme cases, it can even trigger suicidal thoughts
Depression is a mental health condition
(Photo Credit: Freepik)

These are the symptoms and shouldn’t be understood as diagnosis, the CDC has warned. If you experience any or some of these, you must consult a mental health expert, who will first carry out a diagnosis and will then start the treatment.

Depression can result from several reasons, such as (source: US CDC):

  • Genetics can play a role in this. Some whose family members is/was suffering from depression can get it too.
  • Traumatic life events
  • Major life changes
  • Serious medical conditions such as chronic pain
  • Use of certain medications, alcohol, and drugs

Different Types Of Depression

Depression has many types

(Photo Credit: Freepik)

Now that you have a good idea of what depression is, let us look at some of its types:

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

While suffering from major depressive disorder (MDD), the person experiences symptoms that are intense or overwhelming and last for more than two weeks, said Dr Kapoor. Also known as clinical depression, MDD heavily impacts a person’s life. You might experience symptoms, which were stated above. But these are severe and persist for over two weeks.

Psychotic depression

“People with psychotic depression have severe depressive symptoms and delusions or hallucinations,” Dr Kapoor said. Following are some of its symptoms:

  • The feeling of personal inadequacy and worthlessness
  • Frequent mood changes
  • Hallucinations
  • Isolation
  • Change in appetite
  • Guilt and confusion

If you experience any of the above symptoms, you should consult a mental health expert.

Persistent Depressive Disorder

Although the symptoms experienced by those suffering from the persistent depressive disorder are a lot less severe as compared to MDD, these symptoms last for two years or longer. Formerly known as dysthymia, those with PDD go about their lives quite normally, however, they feel low and joyless most of the time, Harvard Health explains. 

Perinatal & Postpartum Depression

As you might know, many women experience minor or major depressive episodes following childbirth. This is postpartum depression. Some also experience the same during pregnancy. Such depression during pregnancy and after childbirth is called perinatal depression. It’s treated with counselling and medication, as per Harvard Health.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

Many women experience premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, before the start of their periods. Symptoms include:

  • Bloating
  • Cramps
  • Breast tenderness
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Change in appetite, such as food cravings
  • Sleep disturbances

However, some experience PMS to an extreme, which is known as a premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD. This generally starts with ovulation and ends once menstruation begins. Certain drugs are prescribed to treat PMDD, as per Harvard Health.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Many experience what is called a seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, during late fall and winters. Also known as seasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder, it often goes away during the spring and summer. It’s often treated with light therapy. Psychotherapy and medication are other options for treatment, Harvard Health stated.

Also read: Air Pollution & Depression, Is There A Link? Study Finds Out

What Is The Diagnosis Of Depression Like?

“Depression is primarily diagnosed when there is persistent and pervasive sadness for prolonged periods resulting in lack of interest, social withdrawal, disturbance in sleep and appetite, negative thinking, and in severe cases, suicidal ideation,” Dr Kapoor said. “The primary diagnosis of depression is based on ICD 10 or DSM v criteria and various intensity levels are defined as mild, moderate, and severe,” she added. Not only that, several variants of depressions can co-occur with other symptoms like anxiety or delusions, etc. 

Depression: Treatment & Prevention

Treatment options for depression include antidepressant medicines and psychotherapy. Regarding prevention, it is primarily aimed at identifying vulnerabilities such as family history, negative life circumstances, prolonged sickness, personality disorders, substance abuse disorders, and certain situations like peripartum and postpartum period in women. Also, general routine screening can identify populations that require intervention.

(With inputs from  Dr Jyoti Kapoor, Senior Psychiatrist and Founder, Manasthali)

Photo Credit: Freepik

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