Types of Depressive Disorders

There are many classifications of depression and major depressive disorders along with dysthymic disorders are the most commonly identified.48

  • Major depressive disorders are also known as major depression; collectively symptoms impact one’s ability to function, work, and enjoy life. This type of depression becomes disabling; it may occur only once or recur throughout a lifespan.48
  • Dysthymic disorders are typically characterized as lasting two or more years; altering normal functioning, yet not totally creating disability. Episodes involving major depression tend to occur often during a lifetime.48

Other characteristics of depression are classified as:

  • Postpartum depression can be diagnosed one month after a new mother delivers a baby.48 Altshuler and colleagues62 report 10-15% of women suffer with this depressive episode after delivery.
  • Psychotic depression represents a form of psychosis; delusions and hallucinations usually coexist with severe depression.48
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can be characterized by depression experienced during the winter season. Oftentimes, light therapy is used in combination with antidepressant medications and psychotherapy to reduce SAD symptoms.63
  • Bipolar disorders are also known as manic-depressive illnesses and appear not as common as major depressive disorders. They are characterized by mood swings with extreme highs known as mania to very extreme lows classified as depression.48