It is important to recognize that there are different types of depression, and the symptoms as well as their duration may vary depending on the type. Understanding these differences can help you if you or your loved one is battling depression. If you have depression, consulting with a Christian Counselor, can help you better understand your situation and options. Educating yourself about depression helps you to be a more effective support for others.

If you or a loved one are experiencing a depressive episode, you may wonder what might have caused the depression and how best to deal with it. For one thing, it is never wise to leave depression untreated or to cut the treatment plan short. If you have any symptoms of depression, you should err on the side of caution and speak with a doctor about your symptoms.

The experience of depression will vary widely between different people. For example, it can cause some people to overeat while others may lose their appetite and eat very little. Generally speaking, a person with depression will go through a period of at least two weeks feeling low energy, sadness, and a loss of interest in things they used to enjoy. However, while there may be some similarities, each type of depression will have distinct features, symptoms, and effects.

The common types of depression.

There are seven common types of depression described below.

Major depression.

Also known as major depressive disorder, this is what people mean when they refer to clinical depression. It includes the typical symptoms of depression such as sadness, difficulty sleeping, changes in appetite, and feelings of worthlessness and guilt for at least two weeks.

These symptoms will often interfere with a person’s daily functioning such as working, studying, sleeping, and eating. Major depressive disorder can affect a person’s cognitive ability, making it hard to concentrate, remember things, or make decisions.

Persistent depressive disorder (PDD).

This type is also sometimes called dysthymia. It has less severe symptoms than major depressive disorder, but the symptoms of depression will typically last for at least two years. While it is less severe than major depression, PDD nonetheless affects one’s sleep, appetite, levels of energy, and self-esteem.

A person with PDD may function in daily life, but they may find themselves struggling to experience joy in their lives. This form of depression also seems to be more common among women than men.

Perinatal or postpartum depression.

This type of depression differs from the baby blues, a phenomenon that occurs and affects around 80% of mothers after giving birth to their child. Baby blues may look like mild anxiety, sadness, and fatigue that can last for a few days after childbirth.

This type of depression occurs around a pregnancy, whether during the nine months of pregnancy or up to a year after giving birth. Perinatal or postpartum depression causes more severe symptoms of depression than baby blues. It can affect mothers as well as fathers, though in different ways.

Major depressive disorder with seasonal pattern.

This has been called seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and is a type of depression that occurs in the winter months due to the lack of natural light. This disorder affects around five percent of the U.S. population. A person’s mood change may be the result of the alteration of the body’s natural daily rhythms, or in how chemical messengers such as serotonin and melatonin function.

The symptoms of depression that attend SAD, such as fatigue, anxiety, and weight gain, typically last from early winter to spring. There is also a less common form of this disorder, called summer-onset seasonal affective disorder, and this disorder has symptoms of depression that occur in the spring and summer months.

Depression with signs of psychosis.

This is a severe type of depression accompanied by symptoms of psychosis such as hallucinations or delusions. A delusion is a disturbing and false fixed belief, and a hallucination is when one hears or sees things that other people do not. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) names this type of depression as major depressive disorder with psychotic features.

Situational depression.

When a person experiences a life-altering event that is traumatic, they may struggle to adjust to the changes that brings. This form of depression is diagnosed more often in children and adolescents, but adults can struggle with it too.

Some of the events that can bring about situational depression include losing your job, getting divorced, experiencing a chronic illness, birth of a sibling, being victimized by violent crime, loss of a loved one, or parental separation. In many cases, the symptoms of depression will go away on their own, but depending on the situation, it may be necessary to receive treatment to prevent the symptoms of depression from worsening.

Bipolar depression/disorder.

If a person has bipolar disorder, they may have depressive episodes in which they feel fatigued, sad, or hopeless. These depressive episodes alternate and contrast with the manic periods of extremely high energy or activity.

The medications that are prescribed for bipolar depression/disorder will vary from those prescribed for other types of depression. But they can nonetheless be effective at stabilizing a person’s mood and addressing the symptoms of depression.

Another form of depression is Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), which is a severe form of premenstrual disorder (PMS) that affects women in the days or weeks that lead up to having their periods.

Diagnosis and treatment of depression.

If you suspect that you or a loved one might have any type of depression, it’s important to follow up with your doctor to receive a proper diagnosis and the necessary treatment. The various types of depression highlighted in this article are treatable, though it can take time to find treatment that works well for you.

A diagnosis of depression will likely require that a doctor undertake a physical examination and tests such as blood tests to make sure that there aren’t other underlying causes behind the symptoms.

They may also need to know your medical history, such as when you first noticed the symptoms, how the symptoms affected your daily life, whether there is a history of mental illness in your family, whether you have any other mental health conditions, and any over the counter or prescription medications you take, including supplements and herbs.

Additionally, you will need to undergo a psychiatric evaluation in which your symptoms will be checked against the DSM-5 to ascertain if a diagnosis of depression is appropriate.

An accurate diagnosis will allow your doctor or primary health care provider to refer you to the right type of mental health professional to help you address the depression. Regarding treatment of depression, medication, talk therapy, or a combination of both are the most common form of treatment for most types of depression. For example, light therapy may be the most effective treatment for SAD.

Talk therapy, or psychotherapy, is effective for addressing depression. It can help people become aware of the issues and behaviors that contribute to their depression. It provides space to set and pursue goals. Talk therapy can assist a person in adjusting to life circumstances. It challenges negative patterns of thought and behavior while teaching healthy ways to cope with stressful life events and situations.

Lifestyle changes in conjunction with talk therapy can also support recovery from depression. Having a set sleep schedule, eating healthy foods, getting regular exercise, avoiding alcohol and drugs, and connecting socially with others can all support a treatment plan.

Medication is used to treat some forms of depression in combination with the above. No two people will react the same to these medications, and that means there will be a period of trying to figure out the right medication(s) and the appropriate dosage that will have the greatest impact. You and your doctor need to discuss the various benefits and risks of using medications to address depression.

There are several types of antidepressants, including Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs), tricyclic antidepressants, Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs), and atypical antidepressants. Some other medications that have proven effective and can be helpful include anti-anxiety drugs, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers.

Other treatments.

In cases of severe depression, your doctor may recommend therapies such as electroconvulsive therapy or transcranial magnetic stimulation, which are forms of brain stimulation therapy. The risks and potential benefits attendant to these therapies should also be discussed with your doctor.

Get help for depression.

The good news with any type of depression is that it is treatable, but you need to seek help and treatment as soon as possible. Your counselor will walk alongside you as you seek to understand the underlying causes of your depression. He or she will help you work through any relational damage that may have resulted from the depression.

Your counselor will encourage you as you learn how to better cope with stress and make any lifestyle changes that will support your treatment. Instead of going it alone, or waiting to reach out when things are desperate, seek help immediately if you notice any of the symptoms of depression. A Christian Counselor is ready to help you today.

“Depressed”, Courtesy of Nathan Cowley,, CC0 License; “Sitting on the Floor”, Courtesy of Sofia Alejandra,, CC0 License; “Diagnosis”, Courtesy of MART PRODUCTION,, CC0 License; “Counseling”, Courtesy of cottonbro studio,, CC0 License


Articles are intended for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice; the Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All opinions expressed by authors and quoted sources are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors, publishers or editorial boards of San Diego Christian Counseling. This website does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site. Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk.