Are there different types of depression?In the past, depression was divided into two types. Reactive or exogenous depression was the term used to describe depression that was caused by an easily identifiable trigger such as losing your job. Biological or endogenous depression was used for depression that developed out of the blue. However, such a classification has fallen out of favor for a number of reasons. Firstly, it does not seem to matter whether there is an obvious reason for the depression or not; sufferers still respond to the same treatment. And, secondly, there is growing recognition that both internal and external factors play a role in the development of depression in most people.
Usually, Depression is further divided according to level of overall severity
Mild depression is often self–limiting and may respond to additional support and help. Even so it cannot be dismissed lightly, as without treatment, it may develop into moderate Depression
Moderate depression presents with a wider range of symptoms and difficulty in functioning at home or at work.
Severe depression is a serious illness. It causes great and comprehensive distress in all areas of functioning, and is most likely to be associated with suicidal thoughts.
But in addition to these broad categories there are a number of other types of depressions recognized.
Depression can be further defined as unipolar or bipolar. In unipolar depression people may suffer from repeated episodes of depression. However, their mood returns to normal at the end of an episode, is characterized by alternating periods of depression and mania, where the person has an exaggerated sense of well being which may make him/her very reckless. This type of illness is also referred to bipolar disorder.
Dysthymia is the name given to an illness in which the symptoms are similar but much milder than those of major depression. It is also characterized by a prolonged course.
Psychotic depression is characterized by psychotic features such as delusions or hallucinations. Lastly, there are a number of specific syndromes. These include seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and post partum depression.
Sad usually occurs only in winter and may be due to a lack of sunlight. One of the most effective treatments appears to be exposure to artificial light.
Post partum depression affects mothers usually within six weeks of the birth of a child. A more severe, but rare form, is puerperal psychosis which has symptoms similar to manic depression and often requires admission to hospital.