Different Types of Depression
With Their Symptoms

There are several different types of depression. The depressions listed below are defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), very clinical and detailed, which is the bible of mental disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association describing the standard criteria for different types of psychiatric disorders. 

I studied this book religiously when I was taking post graduate studies in Mental Disorders at Cambridge College while working in Boston.

I will  describe each depression and the effects that will be easy to understand without the clinical jargon.

Each of the following depressions have their symptoms which cause either

  1. feelings of unhappiness or
  2. impaired functioning at work, at school, or in relationships, not caused by a medical condition or medication or drug.

 Here are symptoms for the different types of depression that are generalized and which I observed in my work with clients suffering from mental illness.

Major Depressive Disorder which is also known as Major Depression or Clinical Depression. This major depressive episode is characterized by symptoms that last for most of the day, nearly every day for at least two weeks. The major symptom is a

 1. depressed mood or. a noticeable decrease in interest or pleasure in most activities, and

 2. four (or more) additional symptoms  which could be considered severe symptoms of depression:

  • significant weight loss / weight gain or decrease / increase in appetite
  • difficulty sleeping or increase in sleeping
  • excessive movement or slowing down associated with mental tension (observed by others)
  • fatigue or loss of energy
  • feeling worthless or excessive guilt
  • difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
  • repeatedly thinking about death or suicide, trying to attempt suicide or having a specific plan to commit suicide

Dysthymic Disorder (or also referred to as Dysthymia) – This is a constant depressed mood for at least 2 years. Generally, this type of depression has persistent, but less severe depressive symptoms than Major Depression.

Manic Depression (now known as Bipolar Disorder) – This kind of depression includes periods of mania and depression. Cycling between these two states can be rapid or only mania can be present without any depressive episodes.

A manic episode consists of a persistent elevated or irritable mood that is extreme, and which lasts for at least one week. At least three (four if only irritable mood) other features are also present.

Thinking back about my departed sister who suffered from depression, I would say that from the different types of depression, she had Manic Depression which became more severe with the death of our mother. She displayed all the symptoms below.

  • inflated self-esteem or self-importance
  • decreased need for sleep
  • more talkative than usual or compelled to keep talking
  • experiencing racing thoughts or ideas
  • easily distracted
  • increase in goal-oriented activity (social, work, school, sexual) or excessive movement
  • excessive involvement in potentially risky pleasurable behavior (e.g. over spending, careless sexual activity, unwise business investments)

Symptoms can be severe enough to warrant hospitalization to prevent harm to self or others or include psychotic features (e.g. hallucinations, delusions).



Other Different Types Of Depression,
Except Catatonic Depression

Post-Partum Depression – this type of depression occurs after having a baby. Depressive symptoms usually begin within four weeks of giving birth and can vary in intensity and duration.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – this is a major depression which re-occurs at a specific time of the year (e.g. fall, winter)

Anxiety Depression – This depression is not defined by the DSM, but anxiety is often present where the depressed individual may also experience anxiety symptoms such as panic attacks, or an anxiety disorder such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (which many of our troops are suffering upon returning from Afghanistan), panic disorder, social phobia, and generalized anxiety disorder.

Atypical Depression (This is a sub-type of Major Depression or Dysthymia) which is characterized by a temporary improvement in their mood in reaction to positive events and two or more following symptoms:

  • significant weight gain or increase in appetite
  • over sleeping
  • heavy feeling in arms or legs
  • long standing pattern of sensitivity to rejection

Chronic Depression - this depression last for at least 2 years.

Double Depression – Someone who has Dysthymia (chronic mild depression) and also experiences a major depressive episode (more severe depressive symptoms lasting at least two weeks). See above for definitions of these two categories of depression.

Endogenous Depression – Endogenous means from within the body. This type of depression is defined as feeling depressed for no apparent reason.

Situational Depression or Reactive Depression (also known as Adjustment Disorder with Depressed Mood) – These symptoms of depression develop from a specific stressful situation or event such as a job loss, a relationship ending and occur within 3 months of the stressful situation and usually lasts up to 6 months after the event or when a person no longer feels the effects. The symptoms can cause significant distress and impairs daily functioning in relationships, at work, or at school. These symptoms do not fall in the criteria for major depressive disorder.

Agitated Depression –This depression disorder is characterized by agitation such as physical and emotional restlessness, irritability and insomnia, where the person experiences increased energy which is the opposite of many depressed individuals who have low energy both physically and mentally.

Psychotic Depression – This type of depression has  psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations (e.g. hearing voices), delusions (false beliefs).

Today, this is one of the most over-used of the different types of depression regarding people who are able to hear voices who are  falsely diagnosed.

 Melancholic Depression This is a sub-type of Major Depressive Disorder and it’s main features  include either a loss of pleasure in all activities and/or their mood does not  improve in response to a positive event. Usually, three or more of the following symptoms are present:

  • Depressed mood that has a distinct quality (e.g. different from feeling depressed when grieving)
  • Depression is consistently worse in the morning
  • Waking up earlier than usual (at last 2 hours)
  • Noticeable excessive movement or slowing down
  • Significant decrease in appetite or weight loss
  • Feeling excessive or inappropriate guilt

Catatonic Depression – This is another sub-type of Major Depressive Disorder and it is a condition characterized by slow, stopped or repetitive motions. Because the source is generally a mental disorder, this movement effect is called a psychomotor disturbance.

Catatonic features occur most often in schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and similar conditions, but can occur with bipolar and major depressive disorder.

Note: In some cases, catatonia may also be an extreme side effect of a medication.

This is one of the very different types of depression which is characterized by at least two of the following symptoms. These are symptoms of severe depression:

  •  lack of response to external stimuli - e.g., no response to being spoken to or prodded
  •  muscular rigidity, so that the limbs remain in whatever position they are placed.
  • excessive motor activity with no purpose
  • extreme negativism which is resistance to movement or instruction
  • Mutism - being unable or unwilling to speak
  • Inappropriate postures and grimacing
  • parrot-like repetition of a word or phrase just spoken by another person
  • repetitive imitation of the movements of another person



Related Content to Different Types of Depression

Return from different types of depression to depression warning signs

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