8 Different Types of Depression

The most common type of depression? Major depression. About 8.3 percent of the adult U.S. population has this debilitating mental health condition at any given time, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

If you’re experiencing major depression, you may feel and see symptoms of extreme sadness, hopelessness, anhedonia or loss of interest in pleasurable activities, lack of energy, irritability, trouble concentrating, changes in sleep or eating habits, feelings of guilt, physical pain, and thoughts of death or suicide — and for an official diagnosis, your symptoms must last for more than two weeks, per NIMH.

In some instances, a person might only experience one episode of major depression, but this type of depression tends to recur throughout a person’s life, according to McLean Hospital.

Some people may also develop major depression with “atypical” features — though these symptoms are not as uncommon as the name might suggest.

A common symptom of atypical depression is a sense of heaviness in the arms and legs — like a form of paralysis — according to Cleveland Clinic. However, a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry (now known as JAMA Psychiatry) showed that oversleeping and overeating are the two most important symptoms for diagnosing atypical depression.

People with this depression type may also gain weight, experience irritability, have relationship problems, or have increased sensitivity to interpersonal criticism or rejection, per Cleveland Clinic.

The most effective treatment options for major depression are psychotherapy (aka “talk therapy”) and medication, according to Mayo Clinic. And there’s good news: An estimated 80 to 90 percent of people with major depression respond well to treatment, per the American Psychiatric Association.

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