As is usually the case with the majority mental health conditions, depression is also divided into many subclasses. These types of depressive illnesses are usually distinguished from each other by analyzing their variations as it relates to how their indicators are shown. Sufferers of specific forms of depressive illnesses typically show different symptoms characteristics with regard to their seriousness, length as well as other conspicuous properties.
Despite this the disparity of the symptoms are usually not that big. Moreover, for most forms of depression there are actually more similarities than differences a fact that often demands that only skilled persons perform diagnosis. It is crucial to be aware that and though there are lots of similarities in warning signs, treatment often produces better outcome when it is specific and targeted towards the complications related to an individual category.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), a publication of the American Psychiatric Association is a very handy resource that contains information regarding the various forms of depression or other psychological ailments.
The most common types of depression are:
1. Major or Clinical Depression (Major Depressive Disorder) - The major characteristics of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) include low mood, lack of interest in most activities, nervousness, appetite and sleeping problems, unceasing lethargy, diminished mental capabilities, irritability, mysterious bodily aches and pains, powerful guilt as well as low self-esteem. A person is said to be suffering from clinical depression if these symptoms continue for a period of more than two weeks.
2. Dysthymic Disorder (Dysthymia) - Dysthymia is a type of depression which shares the majority of its symptoms with clinical depression. The main dissimilarity between the two is that the symptoms of dysthymia are mostly not as severe as those of major depression. Besides that, the symptoms of dysthymic disorder tend to last for prolonged durations of time which can span from a period of a few years to a lifetime. An individual is said to be suffering from dysthymia when the above mentioned symptoms persist for over two years.
3. Manic Depression or Bipolar Disorder (Also Manic Depressive Disorder) - Bipolar depression also has a lot of the low mood and energy symptoms like those of major depression. The only difference is that apart from patients experiencing bouts of depression they also undergo durations of exceptionally high mood, energy and activity levels.
4. Post-Partum Depression - Post-partum depression ordinarily affects parents who have just received a child. Signs of this ailment include intense and prolonged feeling of desolation, hopelessness, incessant tiredness and so on. On the other hand these symptoms are not experienced in the same way between different patients, for some patients it may last longer or be more intense than in others.
5. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) - This is a type of depression that affects certain people during certain periods or seasons in the year. Signs of SAD include lousy mood, constant exhaustion, sleep and eating habit changes. This tends to happen mostly during the beginning of winter. Symptoms of this type of depression tends to fade off once the season ends.
6. Reactive Depression (Or Situational Depression) - This usually happens when a person experiences low mood after undergoing a difficult or unpleasant experience. Examples of such disturbing experiences include financial difficulties, death of a loved one and natural disasters. Persons who are affected with this type of depression are more capable of recovering quickly from the condition even without treatment as compared to other types of depression.
Less common types of depression include; Melancholic Depression, Psychotic Depression, Catatonic Depression and Atypical Depression. The types and severity of the symptoms for each of these forms of depression vary from patient to patient and are not easy to diagnose. To ensure that diagnosis (and therefore treatment) is correct, mental health professionals should be always consulted.