Types of Depression


This page discusses the different Types of Depression that adults may have, including Major Depression, Manic Depression, Chronic Mild Depression, and Seasonal Affective Disorder, as well as possible treatment options for each type.

Major Depression

Major depression (also known as “clinical depression”) is defined as a grouping of symptoms in which an individual’s ability to function (eat, sleep, study, work, and find pleasure in activities that were once enjoyable) is interfered with.

WebMD, an online health portal, estimates the number of adult Americans living with major depression is around 19 million.

I have personally experienced a major depressive episode and it was very disabling.

I had some unresolved issues in my past and lots of stress during this time, as well as a poor emotional support system. I didn’t see the need to ask for help and it took quite a while to get the help I needed. A lot of trial and error went into the treatment I received, including finding the right doctor, the right medication and the right therapist.

Manic Depression

Manic Depression (also known as bi-polar disorder), is defined as a grouping of symptoms which include dramatic changes in a persons energy levels, activity levels and mood.

A person with manic depression cycles through moods that are high or manic, to symptoms that are low, or depressive.

These symptoms are so severe that it negatively impacts the persons ability to function day-to-day.

Around 2.6% of American adults currently have this disorder.

Of those 2.6%, almost 83% are considered “severe.” (These statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health website.)

I have a friend who has manic depression and he has told me that he has highs that are really great to experience, and then lows that are extremely disabling.

He has trouble with finding the motivation to get work done during the low times, but during the high times he feels inspired, elated and euphoric.

Manic Depression can be successfully treated; psychotherapy and psychiatric medication will help in most cases.

Chronic Mild Depression

Chronic Mild Depression (also known as dysthymia) is defined as a persistent low-level type of depression.

In order for a patient to be diagnosed with chronic mild depression, he or she will have had a mixture of two or more signs of depression for two or more years (often much longer than two years.)

While patients with dysthymia may have symptoms of a lower intensity than those with major depression, it can often impact a person’s life more negatively because of the length of time it usually lasts.

Around 1½% of adults in the US suffer from this disorder.

Almost half of that number is considered as having a “severe” chronic mild depressive disorder.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder (also known as SAD) is a form of depression which happens each year around the same time.

Most patients with SAD experience symptoms beginning in the fall and lasting into the winter months.

Most people diagnosed with SAD feel a loss of energy and can have unpredictable moods.

Treatment for SAD may include psychotherapy, medication, and phototherapy (or light therapy.)

Light therapy involves a piece of equipment called a light therapy box.

The person undergoing light therapy will take a seat and will read or work while under the artificial light. Researchers believe that phototherapy affects brain chemicals that are associated with mood.

The previous paragraphs have included a listing of some of the different types of depression that are in existence today. Hopefully this page has helped answer a question of yours or given you more information about these types of depression. 

If you are looking for some holistic approaches to alleviating your depression, check out natural depression treatments.

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