The term “depression” is often used generically to describe feelings of sadness, but clinical depression delves much deeper than that. There are many types of depression that you may experience in your life as a result of chemical changes, lifestyle changes, relationship changes, and more. Understanding what type of depression you have, if any, will allow you to seek the proper depression counseling to overcome your emotions. Let’s explore some of the most common types of depression so you can see what category you may fit into.
Note: It is possible to suffer from more than one type of depression at any given time. You may fluctuate from one type to another based on your personal circumstances. If you are unsure where you fall in the depression spectrum, you may work with a counselor or therapist to find the best solution for your individual needs.
Major Depressive Disorder
Major depressive disorder, also known as “major depression,” describes instances where you feel depressed most days of the week. Simply put, the feelings of depression have taken over your day-to-day thoughts, causing you to be numb or uninterested in the outside world. Some common symptoms of major depressive disorder include:
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Suicidal Thoughts
- Fatigue Or Loss Of Energy
- Disinterest In Pleasurable Activities
- Changes In Weight
- Difficulty Sleeping Or Feeling Tired Throughout The Day
- Feeling Guilty Or Worthless
- Trouble Making Decisions
Most doctors will diagnose you with major depression if you experience five or more of these symptoms for a period of two weeks or longer. However, some symptoms may not show themselves at first, even though you are still suffering from major depressive disorder.
Persistent Depressive Disorder
Persistent depressive disorder is similar to major depressive disorder, but the symptoms of it last two years or longer. It is sometimes referred to as dysthymia. Symptoms of persistent depressive disorder may follow those listed above, as well as:
- Low Self-Esteem
- Feelings Of Hopelessness
- Prolonged Lack Of Energy
- Sleeping Too Much Throughout The Day
- Changes In Appetite
In most cases, a person with persistent depressive disorder will have already sought counseling or medical help for their condition. If you have noticed these symptoms in your life for a long stretch of time, ask a healthcare professional about your treatment options.
Manic depression is half of the emotional experiences someone with bipolar disorder may encounter. The high energy, positive upswing of bipolar disorder is mirrored by a low swing of major depression. While the symptoms of manic depression may be the same as those of major depressive disorder, they may only last for a short period of time until the happy side of bipolar disorder kicks in. A doctor or psychiatrist can prescribe you with medication to treat both sides of bipolar disorder and better balance your mood fluctuations.
Psychotic depression is a derivative of major depression that includes bouts of psychotic behavior. In addition to the basic symptoms of major depression, you may experience:
- Irrational Behaviors
Psychotic depression requires treatments for both the depressive feelings and the psychotic outbursts that come with this condition.
Seasonal Affective Depression (SAD)
Seasonal affective depression only happens over a few months in the year, usually in the winter time when there is less sunlight out in the day. Some patients with SAD are required to use a special light box during the day to make up for the lack of sunlight, effectively improving their mood and reversing the symptoms of depression.
Postpartum depression affects women who have recently given birth to a child. Changes in the hormonal and chemical balances in a woman’s body may cause her to feel symptoms of major depression for weeks or even months after the birth of her child. Most women who experience postpartum depression are prescribed antidepressants to get through this adjustment period.
Stress Response Syndrome (Situational Depression)
Situational depression is not a term used in psychology, but it is used here to describe situations in your life that may cause you to feel depressed. In most cases, stress response syndrome will come from a sudden life change, such as divorce or the death of a loved one. Situational depression is usually worked through in counseling or therapy, but it may require antidepressant medications as well.
Getting Help For Your Depression
If you experience symptoms of depression, depression counseling can help. You can work with a professional therapist to learn how to sort through your emotions and improve your quality of life as a whole. Whether your depression is fleeting or longstanding, there are tactics you can use to overcome your emotional obstacles and work toward a brighter future. Reach out for help so you can start to enjoy your life once again.