When it comes to categorizing depression, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America recognizes three main types. These types all have similar symptoms and identifying signs. However, there are a few key differences that set them apart.
This is probably the most commonly known form of depression. Bipolar disorder is characterized by periods of mania followed by periods of intense depression. Also described, as high-highs and low-lows, bipolar is a dangerous form of depression that can result in rash decision-making, inappropriate social behavior, and risky behavior. The shift between mania and depression can happen suddenly or gradually depending on the person.
Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)
An individual suffering from PDD can often seem like a negative thinker or pessimistic person. PDD is less intense than other forms of depression, but it has a negative impact on a person’s life nonetheless. Those with PDD are easily irritated, over-critical and have low self-confidence and difficulty making decisions. In most cases, periods of PDD last about two years.
Major depression is diagnosed when a person is experiencing five or more symptoms of depression for a period of two weeks or longer. It’s not as simple as feeling sad for a day or two. Major depression makes it almost impossible to lead a normal life since activities such as work, school, or hobbies become unbearable. With each unique case, major depression is different. Some may experience it suddenly as a result of trauma or loss, while others will struggle with it for their entire lives.