Depression Types

Published: February 5, 2012

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Medical professionals classify depression based on a combination of causes and symptoms that vary in terms of length and intensity. If you are diagnosed with depression, you may fall into a defined category, or you may not.

Depression affects people differently, and your condition will affect you in a unique way. It is important to remember that you are not alone and that help is available for whatever symptoms that you experience.

Melancholic Depression

This type of depression is characterized by a loss of pleasure. You might notice that your regular activities stop exciting you or that you feel sad all the time.

Other symptoms of melancholic depression include:

  • Extreme weight loss
  • Guilt
  • A sad mood that is stronger than grief
  • Problems waking up in the morning
  • Feeling numb or nonreactive to stimuli

It is common for people with melancholic depression to have trouble sleeping and to feel restless. You might notice that you have trouble reacting to different situations.

Atypical Depression

People who experience atypical depression might notice that they are gaining weight and eating more. Even when your situation is positive, you are unable to feel better or happier. You might notice that you are sleeping more than usual, and you might lash out into irrational episodes of rage, hysteria, aggression, and anger.

Atypical depression is chronic and long-lasting, and many people experience their first symptoms as adolescents. Common counterparts to this type of depression include panic disorder, social phobia, and avoidant personality disorder.

Catatonic Depression

This rare form of depression causes problems with motor functions. People may stay in rigid positions or exhibit constant hyperactivity for hours. People with this condition may display peculiar mannerisms or exaggerated facial expressions.

Postpartum Depression

Within a few months of giving birth, a woman might experience a temporary low mood or sustained feelings of sadness, exhaustion, anxiousness, or irritability. She may have trouble sleeping, and she may not have a sex drive.

It is unknown what exactly causes postpartum depression. One common belief is some women experience a vitamin deficiency after giving birth. Other studies suggest that postpartum depression results from fluctuating hormones during pregnancy.

It is estimated that a small percentage of women with postpartum depression will actually seek treatment. Those who do tend to find relief through group therapy sessions, counseling, and medications.

If you are a mother, and you suspect that you have postpartum depression, you should seek help as soon as possible. With postpartum depression, you might have trouble taking care of and developing a bond with your child.

Many women who experience postpartum depression feel isolated, alone, and abnormal because they cannot connect with their babies. It is important to understand that postpartum depression is relatively common and that the prognosis for a woman with postpartum depression is generally positive with treatment.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Some people feel depressed during colder seasons, and in the spring, the depression disappears. People who experience seasonal affective disorder may sleep too much, feel lethargic, and gain weight. Affected individuals will experience these symptoms to varying extents.

The opposite of seasonal affective disorder is possible: with reverse seasonal affective disorder, people feel depressed in the spring and summer but not during the fall and winter.

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