Depression Home > Types of Depression

The three most common types of depression are major depression, bipolar disorder, and dysthymia. Within these three types, there are variations in the number of symptoms, their severity, and how long they last. There are also a number of other depression types besides those three. Some of these other types include postpartum depression, cyclothymic disorder, and seasonal affective disorder.

An Overview of Types of Depression

Many people may think of depression as a symptom. However, depression is actually a type of illness. Similar to other illnesses, such as heart disease, depression can come in several forms (or types). The three most common depression types are:
Within these different types are variations in the number of symptoms, their severity, and how long they last.

Types of Depression: Major Depression

Major depression is identified by a combination of symptoms that interfere with the ability to work, study, sleep, eat, and enjoy activities that were once pleasurable (see Symptoms of Depression). Such a disabling episode of depression may occur only once, but more commonly occurs several times in a lifetime. This type of depression is also known as:
  • Clinical depression
  • Unipolar depression
  • Major depressive disorder.
A subtype of major depression is atypical depression. Atypical depression signs and symptoms are similar to those of major depression. Yet, unlike a person with major depression, someone who has atypical depression will also have one or more of the following:
  • Significant anxiety
  • Oversleeping
  • Panic attacks
  • Overeating or significant weight gain
  • Increased sensitivity to rejection.
Atypical depression is the most common subtype of major depression. This type of depression is common in women.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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