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What Are the Types of Depressive Disorders?

Anyone can experience episodes of deep sadness and grief. Such feelings normally drop away within a matter of days or weeks, depending on individual circumstances. But sadness that lingers for more than two weeks and restricts your ability to function could be a sign of depression. Thankfully, depression symptoms are treatable.


Depression is a medical condition that affects your mood and ability to function. Depression types include clinical depression, bipolar depression, dysthymia, seasonal affective disorder and others. Treatment options range from counseling to medications to brain stimulation and complementary therapies.”

According to the World Health Organization, depression affects nearly 300 million people – including more than 17 million Americans – and is a leading cause of disability. It’s also known to affect adolescents 12 to 17 years old.


Trained medical doctors or other mental healthcare professionals who specialize in psychiatric care identify four common types of depression: major depression, persistent depressive disorder (once known as dysthymia), bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorder. Each has its own symptoms and can overlap not only with one another, but other health issues like anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other ailments.

  • Major depression. The classic depression form, major depression is a situation where a grim mood is all-consuming and you lose interest in activities, even those that were once pleasurable.  Symptoms of this kind of depression include changes in appetite or weight, trouble sleeping, low energy levels, and feeling useless. Thoughts of suicide or death may happen. Normal treatment may include psychotherapy or ketamine therapy. Research has shown that some people affected by severe depression, and who haven’t seen positive results from other therapy, may experience positive outcomes from ketamine.
  • Persistent depressive disorder. Once called dysthymia, this kind of depression presents a low mood that has persisted for at least two years but might not achieve the intensity of major depression. Many people experiencing this kind of depression can function day to day but feel joyless or low a lot of the time. Other symptoms can include sleep and appetite changes, lack of energy, poor self-esteem, or hopelessness.
  • Bipolar disorder. People experiencing bipolar disorder — once called manic-depressive disease — have incidents of depression. But they also suffer through periods of abnormal activity or high energy. Manic symptoms are the opposite of depression symptoms: extravagant ideas, quixotically high self-esteem, less need for sleep, activity and thoughts at higher speed, and ramped-up chase of pleasure including overspending, and living dangerously. Oddly, it can feel great, but the feeling is brief, and can result in self-destructive behavior. It’s normally followed by a time of depression. Certain medicine and other therapy for bipolar disorder are different from those recommended for other kinds of depression but can be very successful at calming a person’s mood.
  • Seasonal affective disorder. This form of depression occurs as days shorten in the fall and winter. The mood change may be due to alterations in your body’s biological daily rhythms, in your eyes’ light sensitivity, or in the function or imbalance of certain messengers in the brain. Your doctor or therapist can recommend a treatment, but usual options for depression, like psychotherapy and certain, may also help alleviate symptoms.

If you’ve been diagnosed with any form of depression, a doctor or mental healthcare professional may recommend different forms of therapy for symptoms management, including the use of ketamine treatment.


According to a 2017 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women are about twice as likely as their male counterparts to have depression in their lifetime. Although women are at a bigger risk of depression, they’re also more susceptible to two different kinds of depression that are affected by reproductive hormones — perinatal depression and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

  • Perinatal depression. This kind of depression presents major and minor depressive incidents that happen during pregnancy or within the first 12 months following delivery (also called postpartum depression). Perinatal depression harms about one in seven women who give birth and can result in devastating effects on their health, their infants, and their loved ones. Treatment includes medication and counseling.
  • PMDD. This form of depression is a severe kind of premenstrual syndrome. Symptoms of PMDD usually begin shortly after ovulation and end once menstruation starts. The U.S. Office on Women’s Health reports that PMDD impacts up to five percent of women of childbearing age. Many women experiencing PMDD may also suffer from anxiety or depression.

If you or a loved one suffer from any form of depression, contact us today to learn more about how we may be able to help you.

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