What Type of Depression Do I Have?

Depression is a common mental health condition that can affect people of all ages and backgrounds. Learn about the different types of depression and how to identify them.

What Type of Depression Do I Have?

Depression is a common mental health condition that can affect people of all ages and backgrounds. It is characterized by a persistent feeling of sadness, loss of interest in activities, and difficulty functioning in everyday life. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, lifestyle, and environmental stressors. Identifying the type of depression you may be experiencing is an important step in getting the right treatment for your symptoms.

The most common type of depression is major depression, which is characterized by a dark mood that consumes everything and causes you to lose interest in activities that are usually pleasurable. Symptoms of major depression include difficulty sleeping, changes in appetite or weight, loss of energy, and feeling worthless. Thoughts of death or suicide may also occur. This type of depression is usually treated with psychotherapy and medication.

For some people with severe depression that is not relieved by psychotherapy or antidepressant medications, electroconvulsive therapy may be effective. Persistent depressive disorder, formerly known as dysthymia, is a type of depression that lasts for at least two years but may not reach the intensity of major depression. People with this type of depression may feel depressed or joyless most of the time but can still function day to day. Other symptoms may include changes in appetite and sleep, lack of energy, low self-esteem or hopelessness. Bipolar disorder, also sometimes called manic depression, involves periods of mania or hypomania (a less serious form of mania) alternating with episodes of depression. When you're in the low phase, you'll have symptoms of major depression.Seasonal affective disorder is a period of major depression that occurs most often during the winter months when days get shorter and you get less sunlight.

It usually disappears in spring and summer. Peripartum depression is a type of major depression that occurs in the weeks and months after childbirth. About 1 in 10 men also experience depression in the peripartum period. Psychotic depression involves periods of psychosis which may involve hallucinations and delusions. Medical professionals refer to this as major depressive disorder with psychotic characteristics. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is similar to perinatal depression and may be related to hormonal changes. Symptoms often start right after ovulation and begin to subside once you have your period. Situational depression, or adjustment disorder with depressed mood, resembles major depression in many ways.

It can be caused by a stressful event such as the death of a loved one or a job loss. Depression can be difficult to endure and it is also a risk factor for heart disease and dementia. If you experience cognitive or mood changes that last more than a few weeks, it's a good idea to contact your doctor or see a mental health specialist to help determine possible causes. Taking some time to consider the source of your depression will go a long way when you feel ready to talk to a doctor or other mental health professional about depressive disorder. Identifying what type of depression you may experience can help you get the right treatment for your symptoms.

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