Types of Depression - An Overview

This page offers an overview of some of the common types of depression.

Depression can affect people of almost all age groups - children, adolescents, young adults, middle-aged people, and the elderly can all suffer from depression, and the various depression types that people experience are as described.

Major Depression or Clinical Depression

As the name suggests, this is a slightly severe form of depression, and people suffering from major depression can experience depressed moods for months. Symptoms exhibited include marked decrease in fun, pleasure or social activities, and expressing a predominantly irritable or depressed mood. Episodes of major depression last for months on end and could be a one-time problem, but often, major depression can recur several times during one’s lifetime.


Dysthymia is not among the more serious types of depression. Unlike major depression, dysthymia is not an intense or severe form of depression. Dysthymia episodes of depression last for several years at a stretch and since the intensity of depression is much lower, this form of depression does not normally interfere with one’s routine activities.

Manic Depression or Bipolar Disorder

This variety of depression is often followed or preceded by episodes of mania. Bipolar depression is one part of Bipolar Disorder, which is characterized by both depression and mania that occur in cycles. During the manic phase of Bipolar Disorder, patients exhibit high levels of energy and activity. The manic phase is then followed by the depressive phase, during which the patient experiences severe depression. Due to the cyclical nature of this condition, it is often referred to as Manic Depression.

Seasonal Depression

Commonly referred to as Seasonal Affective Depression or SAD, this form of depression manifests predominantly during winter, which is why it is also referred to as winter blues. Despite being forewarned and forearmed to face seasonal depression, patients tend to experience extreme and intense depression during these phases, and sometimes contemplate suicide. This is mainly because this is among the types of depression which exacerbates easily and intensifies rapidly, leading to serious episodes of depression.

Postpartum Depression

As the name suggests, this type of depression occurs after childbirth. Postpartum depression does not necessarily manifest immediately after delivery, and can occur at anytime during the course of a year following childbirth.

This is another of the severe types of depression and can last for several months. Intense emotions, anxiety of childbirth, hormonal changes, lack of sleep and stress related with nurturing and being responsible for a little one can give rise to “baby blues”. This needs to be tackled at the earliest because, unattended, postpartum depression can lead to thoughts of disliking the baby or even harming the little one.

Atypical Depression

This form of depression does not exhibit the typical characteristics or classic symptoms of depression. In fact, the symptoms exhibited are contrary to regular symptoms. People suffering from atypical depression will not complain of lack of sleep or insomnia and will instead experience sleepiness or increase in sleep cycles.

Increase in appetite, as opposed to loss of appetite, is another symptom exhibited by people suffering from atypical depression. These patients can be convinced to participate in pleasure activities and can also enjoy them, but are extremely sensitive to sensing rejection from other people.

Depression can occur in various forms and manifest in numerous ways, and mentioned above are some of the broad categories of the types of depression that can affect children, teenagers, adults and the elderly during various stages of life.

Click here for more information on the different types of depression.

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