Identifying the Different Types of Depressive Disorders

“Depression” is a term that is used to describe a person that is dealing with negative symptoms due to an overall sense of sadness. However, depression is so much more than feelings of sadness and despair. Depression is a term used to describe symptoms of clinical psychological conditions known as depressive disorders. And, there are many different types of depressive disorders, all different in characteristics. Determining the type of depressive disorder a person may be living with can help to identify specific treatments that may be most effective. And, give the people living with these conditions a better understanding of the causes and best coping mechanisms to utilize.

So, what are the different types of depressive disorders?

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

Major Depressive Disorder, or MDD, is the type of depressive disorder that most people think about when they think of depression. This disorder is diagnosed when symptoms of this disorder are experienced for two weeks or longer. People living with this specific depressive disorder may experience specific symptoms that characterize this disorder including:

  • losing or gaining weight rapidly
  • sleep issues – not sleeping enough or sleeping too much
  • exhaustion of the mind and body
  • trouble focusing
  • suicidal ideation
  • feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and despair
  • apathy for things once enjoyed (work, hobbies, relationships, etc.)


This type of depressive disorder, also known as Persistent Depressive Disorder, is characterized by experiencing symptoms of depression off and on for at least two years. Days of depressive symptoms must be present on more days than not during this time period. Furthermore, periods of not experiencing depressive symptoms must not last longer than two months to receive this diagnosis. Finally, people diagnosed with Dysthymia may experience depressive disorders that are mild to severe, but not as severe as symptoms of MDD. Some of the symptoms of Dysthymia may include:

  • feelings of shame or guilt
  • sadness
  • unable to feel happiness
  • irritability
  • exhaustion
  • difficulty focusing
  • loss or increase in appetite

Post Partum Depressive Disorder (PPD)

With this type of depressive disorder, women who are pregnant or have recently given birth experience symptoms of depression. These symptoms are due to a psychological change that lasts longer than just normal negative feelings due to change after having a baby. Some of the common symptoms of PPD can include:

  • mood swings
  • feelings of despair and hopelessness
  • avoidance of social interaction
  • general apathy for things that once brought joy
  • feelings of worthlessness
  • anxiety
  • having difficulting connecting with the new baby
  • having thoughts of self-harm or harming the new baby
  • suicidal thoughts and ideation
Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorders are mood disorders that are also classified as depressive disorders. These disorders are characterized by episodes of both depression and also periods of mania. Mania is episodes characterized by symptoms of high energy and uplifted spirits and mood. Symptoms of bipolar disorders can be debilitating to daily life and may even require admittance into hospital settings. Some of the defining characteristics of bipolar disorders can include:

  • severe mood swings
  • loss of interest in things previously enjoyed
  • feelings of hopelessness
  • impulsive decision making
  • difficulty concentrating
  • sleep disturbances
  • intrusive thoughts

Help for People Living With Depressive Disorders

There are many types of depressive disorders, and identifying which depressive disorders a person may be living with can help to identify which treatments may be most helpful. Fortunately, there are treatments available to help people living with depressive disorders to reduce and manage symptoms of depression. Delray Center for Integrative Medicine offers treatment for people living with all types of depressive disorders. Find out more about how we can help from our website.

Dr. Raul J. Rodriguez

Dr. Raul Rodriguez


Existing patients, please text 561-409-7296 for follow-up appointment requests or if you have medication concerns please text 561-409-7296.