Types of Depression: Bipolar, Chronic, Major, Psychotic and More

Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.

Types of Depression

There are different types of depression that manifest differently in an individual. The two most common types of depression are Major depression also referred to as Clinical depression and Chronic depression aka Dysthymia. However, there are other forms of depression with different symptoms and requires unique treatment therapies.

  • Major Depression:

    Types of Depression

    Major depression (clinical depression) is a mental disorder characterized by repeated occurrence of depressive illnesses where patients experience loss of confidence in life. You find out that you no longer enjoy things you previously did. Although it normal to experience low moods, persistent ones may signal clinical depression. Sharing of personal experiences with your personal doctor is the diagnostic approach for major depression. Your friends and family members can also provide useful information to your physician. In most people, major depression mostly occurs only once in a lifetime but there is chances of recurrence in a few.

  • Chronic Depression (Dysthymia):

    Chronic depression is a serious kind of mental disorder that may last for up to two years. With this type of depression, you experience symptoms for a long duration before you are diagnosed. This is from the assumption that the symptoms you experience are part of your character. With this in mind, you fail to share them with your doctor or friends. It is in fact more severe compared to clinical depression. Dysthymia symptoms are typical to general depression but you reach a point where you want to withdraw from pleasurable daily activities and suicidal thoughts become common.

  • Atypical Depression:

    Atypical depression is a mental disorder in which a patient experiences the common symptoms of depression. However, this type of depression is common in younger individuals. Improved* moods in sufferers after positive event like parties is one of distinguishing feature of atypical depression. Your appetite improves* and enjoys every serving with end result being weight gain. Patients with atypical depression are likely to sleep more than usual and enjoy time in isolation since their interpersonal relations with others become impaired.

  • Postpartum Depression:

    Post Partum Depression (PPD) is a clinical depression common in women. New dads are also subject to this kind of depression though it’s rare. It usually occurs few months after childbirth. New mums suffering from PDD show changes in moods and short-lived weeps following emotions and excitements sparked by their bundle of joys. If these signs persist for a long duration, they could symbolize an onset of postpartum depression. The main triggers of PDD are complications during the delivery. However, not all women who have difficulties while giving birth will suffer this kind of depression. Symptoms include loss of sexual drive, irritability and sleeping disorders.

  • Bipolar Depression (Manic Depression):

    People with Bipolar depression experience alternating moods change characterized by two levels of productivity. At lower mania level, people seem excited and very strong in performing any task. Contrary to this, at higher mania level, these individuals become inconsistent and uncontrollable leading to poor judgments and conclusions about unrealistic future goals. At this point, they suffer sleep deprivations and develop indistinct worldly beliefs, a condition known as psychosis. People who commonly experience low mania levels are also likely to suffer from the other and vice versa. Both manic levels can occur simultaneously in an individual and last for days or few months.

  • Seasonal Depression (SAD):

    People with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) experience depression at a given period every year. I can compare this to plants which don’t do well in all seasons. Although experts were skeptical about depression associated with seasons, it is now evident especially among US citizens. If you are suffering from SAD, you are more likely to notice its onset during autumn and may last in to winter. Your productivity is decreased* during this season. Though uncommon, seasonal depression may cause depression during summer or spring in some individuals. You shouldn’t ignore those low mood feelings caused by SAD, get medications or undergo phototherapy to remain productive throughout the year.

  • Psychotic Depression:

    This is a type of major depressive disorder with psychotic symptoms which include hallucinations and delusions. Hallucinations may be accompanied by voices telling trying to control your intentions or telling how useless and unworthy you are. Delusions include deep feelings of guilt and unworthiness. According to National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) one in every four individuals admitted in hospitals with depressive illnesses suffer from Psychotic depression. In addition, NIMH, also points out that people with Psychotic depression are out of touch with real life. If you suffer from psychosis, you may hear “weird” commanding voices. Others may believe you can hear them thinking. In some cases, out of guilt for no crime committed, people with psychotic depressions hide from police for fear of arrest.

  • Situational Depression:

    This is also known as adjustment disorder where you are unable to cope with a change in environment or following an emotional event. This type of depression may be triggered by loss of a close friend or family member, a move to a new home or work place or when you are unable to deal with a particular source of discomfort. Other major causes of situational depression include accidents or involvement in crimes, floods or fire. This kind of depression is temporary and lasts only for a few days once you adapt to the change.

  • Endogenous Depression:

    Endogenous or unipolar depression is a kind of atypical depressive disorder that is believed to emerge from within an individual. Unlike other types of depression caused by external factors, chemical imbalances in the brain trigger endogenous depression. There are strong connections suggesting that endogenous depression can be genetically passed from parent to child. According to Net Doctor, endogenous depression was believed to impact negatively on the lifestyle of an individual affecting sleep, appetite and sex drive.


It is evident that you will not only have to say that one is depressed. With all these kinds of depression, it is difficult to tell what exactly one’s sickness is. For the best diagnosis for treatment on depression, more information should be provided to a health provider. Almost all of us will experience one or more type of depression over our lifetime. The good news is that depression is curable and can be prevented.

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Expert Author : Joan Raynor (Consumer Health Digest)

Joan Raynor is a health researcher and expert writer specializing in mental health issues where she provides hope and support to persons with treatment-resistant depression and other chronic mood disorders.