The Six Most Common Types of Depression

By Jackie O’Brien, CADC III

Depression is one of the leading causes of disability in the United States. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), depression affects more than 264 million people worldwide. There are six major types of depression and learning about each may lead to better personal mental health habits.


One of the most common types that is more acute (has occurred within the last 2 weeks to six months), symptoms associated with Major Depression are an increase or decrease in sleep, poor eating habits, an increase or decrease in libido and a deep sense of anhedonia, which means loss of pleasure-seeking feelings and activities. In severe cases, suicidal ideations can occur. Treatment varies depending on the severity of symptoms. Outpatient group therapy, individual therapy, and medication are often recommended.


This type of depression is chronic and has lasted for at least two years. People suffering from this have a low mood, but it is usually not as severe as Major Depression. People experience many of the same symptoms of MDD including, concentration issues and feelings of hopelessness. PDD is best treated with a combination of therapy and medication.


This mental health disorder is a little different from the aforementioned types of depression. Bi-polar disorder has two major components. The first being, Mania. Manic episodes are defined as periods of time in which one’s mood is extremely elevated and there is a major increase in energy and motivation levels. Also present are racing thoughts, hyper-verbosity and in severe cases, psychosis or hallucinations. Subsequent to mania, depression occurs and is highly debilitating. Bipolar Disorder, left untreated, can endanger one’s life. Medication combined with intensive outpatient treatment is most effective.


SAD, as it’s known, occurs in most people during the winter months, when the days get shorter and the evenings longer. There is a plethora of research out there and most of it indicates that there is a link between sunlight and the levels of serotonin and melatonin released in the brain. The most effective treatment is light therapy which involves sitting in front of a specific light box for short bursts during the day.


While primarily known to affect women during or after pregnancy, research suggests that 1 in 10 men may also experience symptoms after the birth of a child. Due to the importance of early childhood connections between caregiver and child, this type of depression can be particularly devastating for all parties involved. The symptoms found in Major Depressive Disorder can be found in Postpartum Depression as well as psychotic symptoms, such as delusions and hallucinations. Medication and intensive therapy are usually the most effective treatment for caregivers.


PMDD occurs in people biologically assigned female at birth. It is directly connected to the female menstrual cycle and most symptoms occur in the weeks prior to the start of menses. These symptoms include extreme irritability and agitation as well as drastic mood swings, anxiety, fatigue, and changes in sleeping and eating patterns. Often the symptoms go away after the start of a period, but they are severe enough when present to disrupt the quality of life. Usually, oral contraceptives are most often prescribed to combat these disruptive symptoms.

Depression is a soul-sucking and life altering disease. When left untreated the results are disastrous and, in some cases, life-ending. However, a common thread between the various types is the effectiveness of therapy as treatment. In fact, Intensive Outpatient Group Therapy has shown to be most effective across the board. If you start experiencing any symptoms of depression, please reach out to someone and give yourself the help you deserve.

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