Depression is a very common mental disorder throughout much of the world. Characterized by intense feelings of sadness and a lack of motivation, depression has the potential to significantly interfere in a person's daily life. However, depression is often not as straightforward as it appears. Contrary to popular belief, there is more than one kind of depression. In order to know how best to treat depression, it is necessary to know how to identify its different types.
Recognize that major depression is the most common form of depression. In major depression, the person suffering from it feels sad, uninterested in life and helpless to change things for the better. The person may despair of ever feeling better. People with major depression often have trouble coping with everyday life, letting work and family commitments fall by the wayside.
Watch for atypical depression. In this type of depression, a person can have breakthrough moments of happiness. However, sadness is still the dominant emotion. People with atypical depression frequently blame outside influences on their feelings. Overeating and sleeping too much are common manifestations of atypical depression.
Identify psychotic depression. A person with this type of depression will experience hallucinations along with the typical low emotional state. Hallucinations can be auditory (hearing voices) or visual.
Look out for dysthymia. People with dysthymia are not deeply depressed. They simply have an overall feeling of melancholy that will not go away. Often, they come to believe this feeling is just part of who they are and they get on with their lives. However, they are never truly happy.
Become aware of the signs of manic depression. This kind of depression is also referred to as bipolar disorder. A person with manic depression will experience alternating periods of intense euphoria and dramatic emotional lows.