When we hear or read about depression, our first initial thoughts are around the common symptoms that individuals experience like sadness, feelings of worthlessness/hopelessness, and disinterest. And, while this is true for many who suffer from clinical depression, others may have different symptoms depending on how their depression manifests. Here are 4 types of depression, and 2 subtypes that you may recognize either in yourself or in those around you.

1. Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

or clinical depression, is marked by a long list of symptoms, with the most recognizable being a lack of energy, little to no interest in activities or hobbies that normally hold your attention, and extremely low mood. It can be described as either being mild, moderate, moderately-severe, or severe depending on the intensity of your symptoms, and the frequency at which they occur. Those with MDD may:

  • Be overwhelmed by feelings of sadness, emptiness, hopelessness, and worthlessness.
  • Have major outbursts of frustration, irritability, and anger (small matters included).
  • Have a complete loss of interest in hobbies or spending time with others.
  • Experience sleep disturbances like insomnia or hypersomnia.
  • Suffer from major changes in appetite (loss or increase).
  • Suffer from major changes in weight gain or weight loss due to appetite changes.
  • Have outbursts of agitation, anxiety, and restlessness with oneself and others.
  • Are unable to concentrate, make decisions, or think.
  • Have a clouded memory.
  • May complain of physical aches/pains with no explanation.
  • Ruminate on past failures, and fixate on self-blame (guilt).
  • Have frequent thoughts around death, suicide, or suicidal ideation.
  • Find that everyday tasks go unfinished due to a severe lack of energy or disinterest.

There are many potential factors that can cause MDD, such as a chemical imbalance in the brain, genetic predisposition, or a natural lean towards seeing the self and the world through a negative perspective.

1.1 Depression with psychotic features

occurs when an individual has both severe depressive illness and some form of psychosis combined, which makes it a subtype of major depressive disorder (MDD). This means that the individual is likely to experience some symptoms of MDD, but will also have symptoms of psychosis, like hallucinations (hearing voices), delusions that center around themes related to depression, like worthlessness, inadequacy, or guilt, or even paranoia. Oftentimes, individuals with depression with psychotic features may hold illogical ideas, like others are out to harm them, or that others can hear their thoughts. Those with depression with psychotic features may have:

  • Delusions, and hallucinations.
  • Anxiety, agitation, and difficulty concentrating.
  • Intellectual impairment or physical immobility.
  • They may neglect appearance or may be hard to talk with.
  • Have feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, or self-hate.
  • Be socially isolated and lose interest in activities.
  • Have changes in appetite leading to weight gain or loss.

1.2 Postpartum Depression

is classified as a subtype of major depressive disorder (MDD) that occurs in mothers and fathers after the birth of their baby. There is no single cause for it, but both physical changes to a mother’s body and the emotional issues that come with caring for a newborn are often cited as playing a role in postpartum depression. While many parents do experience some form of “baby blues”, these tend to only last a few weeks, while postpartum depression is much more intense, and can last much longer. Postpartum depression symptoms may include:

  • Severe mood swings accompanied by excessive crying.
  • Withdrawal from family, friends, and difficulty bonding with the baby.
  • Problems with getting to sleep (insomnia), or sleeping too much.
  • Intense irritability, anger, restlessness, fatigue, and anxiety.
  • Trouble with concentration or clear thinking.
  • Recurrent thoughts around death, suicide, and harming yourself or the baby.

A parent with postpartum depression may also find themselves questioning if they will be a good parent, or have intense feelings of worthlessness, shame, or guilt. They may also exhibit a disinterest in activities they previously enjoyed.

2. Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression)

is now classified by health professionals as a separate mental health condition but used to be called manic depression because the individual would experience interchangeable episodes of depression and mania.The mania portion of bipolar disorder is hallmarked by spontaneous, risky behavior that can lead to irrational decisions. It is recognized by increased energy/activity levels and talkativeness, racing thoughts, an exaggerated sense of self-confidence, and abnormal levels of jumpiness. Individuals in a manic episode may feel euphoric, have trouble sleeping, or may become very distracted or restless.Those with Bipolar I disorder may experience full manic episodes, while those with Bipolar II disorder may only experience minor manic episodes which are less intense and shorter lasting. It is important to distinguish that both manic and depressive episodes can last for varying lengths of time, or an individual may only experience one and not the other.

3. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

is another type of depression that is directly related to the changing of the seasons. What makes it different from other subsets of depression is that it has a consistent start and end date every year. Most individuals with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) will experience it through the autumn and winter months. Common symptoms associated with SAD include:

  • Major changes in appetite.
  • Very low energy, and fatigue accompanied by oversleeping.
  • Find it hard to concentrate.
  • Lose interest in participating in activities.
  • Individuals may gain weight due to overeating or emotional stress.

4. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

is classified as a health condition, but is similar to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), in that it occurs at a specific time and includes similar symptoms to that of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Individuals who have PMDD will experience severe bouts of depression, anxiety, and irritability in the week or two leading up to menstruation. When menstruation occurs, the symptoms typically fade within a few days. Common symptoms of PMDD include:

  • Severe mood swings, and excessive crying (even at small things).
  • Feelings of sadness, despair, and irritability towards others.
  • Feelings of tension, aggression, and anxiety.
  • Overwhelming fatigue or tiredness, and trouble focusing.
  • Eating too little or too much.
  • Lack of interest in all types of activities; daily or hobbies.

While PMDD is similar to premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which also occurs in the two weeks leading up to one’s period, PMDD leads to much more severe symptoms found in depression and anxiety disorders.

Wrapping It Up

Due to the long list of symptoms, the varying degrees at which someone can experience them, and the different forms that depression can manifest as, it can be very difficult to understand, recognize, and know when you or someone else is depressed. If you do feel like you or someone else you know is experiencing one of these forms of depression, please do your best to reach out for treatment. The treatments available now can help you manage the symptoms, and get you back to enjoying life. Contact us or call us at 727-344-9867 to schedule your evaluation at our office or virtually in Saint Petersburg or Tampa, Florida.