Understanding The Different Types

Depression is a highly complex mental disorder that can have a profound impact on a person’s life. It manifests in different ways in different people, making it a challenge to diagnose and treat. However, understanding the various types of depressive disorders can help individuals seek proper treatment and lead healthier, happier lives. In this article, we will explore the different types of depressive disorders based on DSM 5, the standard classification of mental disorders used by healthcare professionals.

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

MDD is the most common type of depressive disorder characterized by symptoms of sadness, loss of interest, and feelings of worthlessness or guilt. These symptoms persist for at least two weeks and interfere significantly with daily activities. Healthcare professionals often diagnose MDD if these symptoms are not related to any medical condition or substance abuse.

Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)

PDD is a chronic form of depression that affects people for at least two years. It is marked by feelings of sadness, hopelessness, low self-esteem, and loss of interest in regular activities. While the symptoms are less severe than MDD, they can last for a more extended period and can cause significant disruptions in daily life.

Postpartum Depression (PPD)

PPD is a severe form of depression affecting new mothers after childbirth. The symptoms include extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion, which can make it a significant challenge for them to care for themselves or their babies. PPD can occur anytime in the first year after childbirth and is often treated with medication and therapy.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

SAD is a type of depressive disorder that occurs with the onset of fall and winter. People with SAD experience changes in mood, energy, and sleep patterns, and often have a reduced interest in activities they normally enjoy. Symptoms of SAD typically improve in the spring and summer months.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder involves episodes of both depression and mania, characterized by high energy, an inflated sense of self, and reckless behavior. It can range from mild to severe, and people with bipolar disorder require lifelong treatment.


Depressive disorders can have a significant impact on one’s life, but appropriate treatment can help manage symptoms and improve overall wellness. It’s crucial to seek help if you or a loved one is experiencing any symptoms, as appropriate treatment can make a significant difference. With a better understanding of the types of depressive disorders based on DSM 5, healthcare professionals can provide accurate diagnoses and effective treatment plans.


  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.).
  2. Mayo Clinic. (2018). Depression (major depressive disorder) – Symptoms and causes. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20356007
  3. Harvard Health Publishing. (2019). What are the real risks of antidepressants?. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/what-are-the-real-risks-of-antidepressants
  4. National Institute of Mental Health. (2018). Bipolar Disorder. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder/index.shtml
  5. Mental Health America. (2018). Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Retrieved from https://www.mhanational.org/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad
  6. Postpartum Support International. (2019). Postpartum Depression. Retrieved from https://www.postpartum.net/learn-more/postpartum-depression/

Additional Resources

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): https://www.nami.org/learn-more/mental-health-conditions/depression
  • Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance: http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=education_diagnosis_bipolar_disorder#types
  • Anxiety and Depression Association of America: https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/depression
  • Black Dog Institute: https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/resources-support/types-of-depression/
Print Friendly, PDF & Email