The types of depression depends on the symptoms, intensity and the characteristics of the illness.
Dysthymia is a more subtle depressive illness, characterized by chronic low level depression. It is typically less debilitating than major depression, although some people with dysthymia do eventually experience episodes of major depression.
Symptoms of dysthymia are the same as those in major depression, though less severe, and often first appear in childhood or early adulthood.
Bipolar disorder, or manic depression, is typified by cycling periods of mania and depression. The changes in mood can be rapid, though the shift is usually gradual. During the depressed phase, a person can display any or all of the symptoms associated with major depression.
While in the manic phase, the person often experiences over-activeness, extreme elation, and racing thoughts. These symptoms may affect decision making and judgement.
Postpartum depression affects approximately 10-15% of women after they give birth. Fluctuating hormones, coupled with physical and mental stress, are the main cause of depressive symptoms in these women.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) typically triggers depression during the winter months when people have less exposure to natural sunlight. Light therapy helps lessen depressive symptoms for some sufferers of SAD.
Psychotic depression includes severe bouts of depression coupled with signs of psychosis, such as delusions, hallucinations, and false beliefs, which are often associated with the person’s depression.