Types of depression: the keys to distinguishing them

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2. Major depressive disorder or major depressive disorder

Major depression is possibly one of the most severe types of depression that can occur. It excels at presenting Symptoms of high intensity and by the fact that they suffer most of the day. It can manifest itself only once or, in the worst case, repeat itself for a lifetime.

In many cases, major depression does not manifest itself until adolescence. The people who suffer experience phases of normality interspersed with depressionwhich can last for months or years.

Its main signal is a mood change. The person constantly feels sad and irritable, gets angry for trivial reasons, and notices a lack of interest in the things they liked. Because of its long duration, It can cause serious problems if not treated on time..

Major depression is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Depressed state most of the day, almost every day.
  • Lack of interest in the things they like.
  • weight gain or loss.
  • hypersomnia or insomnia.
  • Fault.
  • Low self esteem.
  • Difficulty finding solutions and loss of concentration.
  • Psychomotor retardation or agitation most days.
  • Loss of energy or tiredness almost every day.
  • suicidal thoughts.

A diagnosis of major depression in a person requires that it be present 5 or more symptoms for more than two weeks. These must represent a change from the previous state and at least one of the first two in the previous list must be present.

On the other hand, we can distinguish two different types of major depression:

  • with single episode: is a unique episode.
  • relapse: occurs 2 or more times in the patient’s life and the symptoms in their episodes are separated by at least 2 months.

3. Dysthymia or persistent depressive disorder

The dysthymia It is characterized by being one of the types of unipolar depression, meaning it does not involve manic episodes and significantly alters the well-being and normal functioning of the person suffering from it.

Some of the symptoms it causes are similar to major depression, but with the difference that you have one milder intensity and longer duration. To diagnose dysthymia, a person must have had symptoms for at least two years.

The patient suffering from dysthymia need not experience feelings of deep sadness; sometimes it is manifested by a lack of motivation or aimlessness before his behavior in life. In some cases it can cause severe depressive episodes, so its treatment is essential to alleviate the suffering suffered.

As for his symptomsyou can see the following:

  • sadness
  • hypersomnia or insomnia.
  • fluctuations in appetite.
  • tiredness or lack of energy.
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions.
  • loss of self-esteem.
  • feelings of hopelessness

If you want to read more about dysthymia, I have a blog post where I talk about it in more detail.

4. Premenstrual Dysphoria (PMDD)

This disorder is experienced by some girls or women in the week before their menstrual period due to a significant surge in hormones. In some cases, it can be confused with the so-called “Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)”, with the difference that its symptoms can seriously complicate your everyday life; while PMS causes certain behavioral disorders, PMDD can produce feelings more akin to many of the existing types of depression.

Those patients suffering from PMDD may feel anxious, angry or depressed. They have a great facility with crying and can show lack of concentration and worry that everyone is angry with them. At the same time, the manifestation of certain physical problems such as headaches, body aches, colic and breast tenderness is possible.

Symptoms can appear a week before menstruation, although in some cases they can appear earlier and sooner disappear completely once the period starts. This disorder can appear at any time in your life after puberty.

5. Destructive mood dysregulation disorder

This is a relatively new disorder, first appearing in the DSM-5 in 2013. Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder is a type of depression in which Children are persistently irritable, angry, or upset. They usually have tantrums intense, disproportionate to the situation they are in.

As we all know, it’s normal for children to get angry at times, but children with destructive mood dysregulation disorder spend most of the day doing so irritated or angry. This chronic irritability is interspersed with outbursts of anger that are met with little or no provocation.

The symptoms the most common are the following:

  • Having severe and frequent tantrums, which may be verbal (eg, yelling) or behavioral (eg, hitting someone or throwing objects).
  • These outbursts of anger are incompatible with the age of the child.
  • Mood between outbursts is irritable or angry.

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6. Other types of depression

Finally, I would like to mention some other types of depression that can be diagnosed but which we will not go into because they are more technical and not as relevant: substance/drug-induced depressive disorder, other specific depressive disorder, depressive disorder secondary to a depressive disorder to another medical condition and another unspecified depressive disorder.

any of the different types of depression above occurs much more frequently than we can imagine. All of them can cause a significant loss in the life quality, both for the patient and his loved ones, and in some cases can have catastrophic and irreversible consequences. He Treatment With time you can resolve these disorders and we as psychologists can help them enjoy life the way they deserve.

Does a loved one have depression? That’s why I’m sharing with you an article where I talk about how I can help my friend, partner or family member with depression.

I leave you this picture that summarizes the different types of depression:

7. Bibliographic References

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2014). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. Madrid: Panamerican Medical Editorial.
  2. Smith, K (2014). Mental Health: A World of Depression. Nature 515, 180-181. doi:
  3. Tiller, J (2013). depression and anxiety. The Medical Journal of Australia, 199(6): S28-S31. doi: 10.5694/mja12.10628

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