Types of depression: differences in symptoms and manifestations

Deep sadness , isolation and discouragement from activities that previously gave pleasure. These are some of the symptoms most associated with depressive conditions.

But the truth is that the intensity, the manifestation and even the amount of symptoms that patients with depression can manifest varies greatly. This is because, contrary to what many people may think, there is no single type of depression.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cases of depression have increased by more than 18% in the last 10 years. In Brazil alone, about 5.8% of the population is affected. This has a high impact on public health.

Which means that you need to pay attention to the picture, knowing that it can present itself at any stage of life – even when everything looks great. But one thing is valid for all types: there is treatment and it is extremely necessary.

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There are different types of depression and, in this text, we will present 11 of them, which occur most frequently.


Major depression

Also called classic depression, major depression is characterized by depressed mood (sadness, discouragement, negative thoughts etc.), loss of energy, inability to feel pleasure, unwillingness to do things, changes in sleep and appetite, thoughts and slow movements.

There are major impairments in the person’s functioning, who are unable to work, study or maintain relationships with other people when they are in this state. Suicidal thoughts are also frequent.

It is the most common type of depression.

For the diagnosis to occur, it is necessary that the symptoms are present almost every day, most of the time, for at least 2 weeks. Often, such an episode lasts up to 6 months.

Dysthymia (persistent depressive disorder)

Unlike major depression, dysthymia occurs continuously. Its symptoms are of moderate intensity, less limiting.

They have a minimum duration of 2 years and can be so light that they are usually perceived as part of the person’s personality. Thus, she is seen only as negative, not a person with a disorder.

Low self – esteem , bad mood, pessimism, discouragement and lack of energy are the main symptoms of dysthymia.

Although they are similar to those of major depression, they are less intense, not causing so much damage. Still, it needs treatment, because in addition to getting worse, there may be thoughts of suicide.

If left untreated, a person with persistent depressive disorder can develop an episode of major depression. In such cases, it is called double depression.

Atypical depression

Atypical depression gets its name because of a differentiated manifestation of symptoms, but it is still a very common type.

In general, the person with atypical depression responds to pleasant stimuli with a temporary improvement in mood.

In addition, she is also affected by a feeling of heaviness in the body, increased sleep and appetite. The mood, in addition to being depressed, also becomes more sensitive and irritable. Symptoms may get worse at the end of the day.

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Refractory depression

Also called resistant depression, the refractory type is characterized mainly by the lack of response to treatments.

The symptoms are the same as for major depression, but they do not show significant improvement even with proper treatment.

Numerous antidepressant drugs are tested and even those that work seem to lose their effect over time.

In these cases, treatment is done through psychotherapy and other alternatives that are not commonly used, but that are suitable for the case, such as electroconvulsive therapy or transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Psychotic depression

As its name says, psychotic depression mixes depressive and psychotic symptoms. In these cases, in addition to the symptoms already expected of depression, the person is affected by delusions (false beliefs) or hallucinations.

In psychotic depression, delusions and hallucinations are often persecutory or accusatory. That is, the person may believe that he is being persecuted and that people just want to harm him.

There are also delusions of ruin, in which the person believes that the world is ending or his life is falling apart, that he will not be able to recover from what is going on, among others.

Mixed depression

Also known as “mixed anxiety and depressive disorder”, it gets its name for mixing depressive and anxious symptoms. The most common are depressed mood, palpitations, tremors and stomach pains.

However, it cannot be said that the person suffers from depression and anxiety , because their symptoms are not enough to diagnose any of these disorders separately.

Melancholic depression

The main feature of melancholic depression is the lack of pleasure. The person stops responding to pleasant stimuli and, in addition, loses the ability to feel pleasure with the things that he previously liked to do.

Symptoms tend to be more intense in the morning. Late insomnia can occur , in which the person wakes up during the night and is unable to go back to sleep.

There may still be feelings of guilt, loss of appetite and weight loss.

Seasonal affective disorder

Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression related to winter and usually recurs every year due to the cold season. It is more common in countries with temperate climates, where there is little daylight during the winter.

With the arrival of the season, the person who suffers from seasonal affective disorder tends to isolate himself socially, sleep more and gain weight, in addition to showing depressed mood.

Read more: Risk of having depression in the future can be measured by genetic testing

Baby blues

After childbirth, many women suffer from depressive symptoms such as extreme sadness, hopelessness and exhaustion. They don’t feel like taking care of the newborn or themselves.

It is called postpartum depression, which can appear just before the baby is born or up to 12 months after delivery. It is often related to the fluctuation of hormones and changes in a woman’s lifestyle.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder

Often mistaken for premenstrual tension (PMS), premenstrual dysphoric disorder ( PMSD ) is even more intense, severely affecting a woman’s functioning.

It is normal to be emotionally unstable in the weeks before menstruation, as these are hormonal changes that influence affectivity. The same mechanism is behind the PMDD, which causes even more severe symptoms.

The woman may be unable to perform routine activities due to extreme sadness, irritability, indisposition and social isolation. TDPM resolves when the cycle begins, but tends to return at the end of the next ovulation.

There are different types of depression. Some have very similar symptoms, such as deep sadness, but they can vary in intensity and duration.

Other types of depression can cause agitation and anxiety, with unique ways of occurring.

It is always necessary to seek professional assistance, so that the condition is properly diagnosed and treated.

Although the majority of depression progresses well with an association of psychological therapy, medications and healthy habits, only psychiatrists can indicate the correct way to conduct the treatment.

Regardless of the condition, the main purpose of therapy is to stabilize the condition, restoring well-being and quality of life to the person.