- Q. What is depression?
- Q. How does depression affect college students?
- Q. Are there different types of depression?
- Q. What are the signs and symptoms of depression?
- Q. What causes depression?
- Q. How can I find out if I have depression?
- Q. How is depression treated?
- Q. What are antidepressants?
- Q. If a doctor prescribes an antidepressant, how long will I have to take it?
- Q. What is psychotherapy?
- Q. If I think I may have depression, where can I get help?
- Q. How can I help myself if I am depressed?
- Q. How can I help a friend who is depressed?
- Q. What if I or someone I know is in crisis?
- Q. How can research help college students who have depression?
- For more information on depression
Q. Are there different types of depression?
A. Yes. The most common depressive disorders are:
- Major depressive disorder—also called major depression. The symptoms of major depression are disabling and interfere with everyday activities such as studying, eating, and sleeping. People with this disorder may have only one episode of major depression in their lifetimes. But more often, depression comes back repeatedly.
- Dysthymic disorder—also called dysthymia. Dysthymia is mild, chronic depression. The symptoms of dysthymia last for a long time—2 years or more. Dysthymia is less severe than major depression, but it can still interfere with everyday activities. People with dysthymia may also experience one or more episodes of major depression during their lifetimes.
- Minor depression—similar to major depression and dysthymia. Symptoms of minor depression are less severe and/or are usually shorter term. Without treatment, however, people with minor depression are at high risk for developing major depressive disorder.
Other types of depression include:
- Psychotic depression—severe depression accompanied by some form of psychosis, such as hallucinations and delusions
- Seasonal affective disorder—depression that begins during the winter months and lifts during spring and summer.
Bipolar disorder, also called manic-depressive illness, is not as common as major depression or dysthymia but often develops in a person's late teens or early adult years. At least half of all cases start before age 25. People with bipolar disorder may show symptoms of depression and are more likely to seek help when they are depressed than when experiencing mania or hypomania.
Bipolar disorder requires different treatment than major depression, so a careful and complete medical exam is needed to assure a person receives the right diagnosis. You can find more information in the NIMH booklet, Bipolar Disorder in Adults.