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Other Common Types of Depression

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: September 2023

Depression can show up in different ways. Each type of depression has unique features and symptoms. Understanding these types can help you recognize what you or your loved ones might be experiencing and seek the help you need.1

Aside from major depressive disorder (MDD), other common types of depression include:1

  • Persistent depressive disorder (PDD)
  • Postpartum depression (PPD)
  • Depression with psychotic features
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • Treatment-resistant depression

Persistent depressive disorder

PDD, also known as dysthymia, is a type of depression that lasts for a long time, often for 2 years or more. People with PDD might feel sad or down most days. This may interfere with their daily life. The symptoms of PDD might not be as severe as those of MDD, but they can still make life challenging.2

People with persistent depressive disorder might have:2

  • Low energy
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Poor concentration
  • Lack of interest in things they used to enjoy

Even though PDD can last a long time, there are treatments available that can help improve how people feel.2

Postpartum depression

PPD is a type of depression that some people experience after giving birth. It is different from the "baby blues," which are common and often go away on their own.3

Postpartum depression involves intense feelings of sadness, emptiness, and even anxiety that can make it hard for a new parent to enjoy their baby or take care of themselves. These feelings can start within a few weeks after childbirth or even months later.3

People with PPD might:3

  • Have trouble sleeping
  • Lose interest in things they used to enjoy
  • Have a hard time bonding with their baby

Fortunately, treatment and support are available to help manage PPD and make this challenging time a bit easier.3

Depression with psychotic features

Depression with psychotic features is a type of depression that includes having the usual symptoms of depression plus added ones called "psychotic" symptoms. These can be things like having false beliefs (delusions) or hearing or seeing things that others do not (hallucinations).4

When someone has depression with psychotic features, their thoughts might not feel connected to reality. This can make their struggles even more intense. This type of depression may need treatment approaches that differ from those for other types of depression such as including different medicines or spending time in a hospital.4

Seasonal affective disorder

SAD is a type of depression that comes and goes with the changing seasons. It is often linked to the arrival of colder and darker months, like fall and winter.5

People with SAD might:5

  • Feel down or tired
  • Be less interested in things they used to enjoy
  • Sleep more
  • Crave certain foods
  • Have trouble concentrating

When spring and summer arrive, these feelings usually improve.5

The exact cause of seasonal affective disorder is not fully understood. Reduced sunlight during the colder months might play a role. Light therapy and other treatments can help manage SAD and bring relief during those tougher seasons.5

Treatment-resistant depression

Treatment-resistant depression occurs when depression continues even after trying at least 2 different first-line antidepressant drugs. It means that the usual treatments did not provide enough relief for the depressive symptoms.6

It can be frustrating and challenging to not get the relief you hoped for. Your care team might need to explore different treatments, combinations of therapies, or medicines to find what works best for you. Keep in mind that even when depression is resistant to treatment, there are still options to explore.6

With the right support and care, depression can improve. If you or someone you know is having symptoms of depression, talk to a doctor or mental health professional. They can help you navigate the best path forward.

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