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Top 7 Most Common Types of Depression

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Updated October 17, 2012

The following are descriptions of the most common types of depression.

1. Major Depressive Disorder

When people use the terms depression or clinical depression, they are generally referring to major depressive disorder. Major depressive disorder is a mood disorder characterized by a depressed mood, a lack of interest in activities normally enjoyed, changes in weight and sleep, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness and guilt, difficulty concentrating and thoughts of death and suicide. If a person experiences the majority of these symptoms for longer than a two-week period, they may be diagnosed with major depressive disorder.

2. Dysthymic Disorder

Dysthymia, or dysthymic disorder, refers to a mild to moderate type of chronic depression. It may have episodes of major depression superimposed on top of it, which is referred to as "double depression."

3. Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is more than just depression. It consists of periods of depression alternating with periods of a better than normal mood called mania. These periods of mania can be mild (hypomania) or they can be so extreme that they interfere with daily life.

4. Postpartum Depression

Pregnancy brings about many hormonal shifts. These dramatic shifts can sometimes affect mood. This is commonly known as the "baby blues." Postpartum depression can be more than just a case of the blues, however. It can range from mild symptoms that go away without treatment all the way up to postpartum psychosis, which left untreated, may be responsible for tragic murders of children.

5. Seasonal Affective Disorder

If you experience depression, sleepiness, weight gain and carbohydrate cravings during the winter months, but feel great as soon as spring returns, you may have a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

6. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Among the most common symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) are irritability, fatigue, anxiety, moodiness, bloating, increased appetite, food cravings, aches and breast tenderness. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) produces similar symptoms, but the symptoms related to mood are more pronounced.

7. Atypical Depression

Do you experience symptoms such as improved mood when good things happen, overeating, sleeping too much or sensitivity to rejection? These are symptoms characteristic of atypical depression, which is a type of depression which does not follow the "typical" set of depression symptoms, such as a lack of appetite and insomnia. It is actually more common than the name might imply.
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