Alongside normal depression, there are also other types. These include postpartum, winter or late-life depression. Causes and symptoms can sometimes differ depending on the type.
Depression mainly progresses in phases. These differ in intensity and last from a few weeks to several months. There are various types of depression:
A depressive mood is characterised by a lasting low mood, apathy and a sense of inner emptiness. It is a light form of depression.
As the name suggests, one-off unipolar depression is a one-off depressive episode. It starts as an acute depression and ends completely after a certain period.
“Recurrent” means “repeating at intervals”. With recurrent depression, a depressive episode is followed by months or years with no symptoms before another depressive episode.
When depressive phases alternate with manic highs, this is known as bipolar depression or bipolar affective disorder. During the high phase, affected persons are euphoric and extremely active. They usually barely sleep.
Dysthymia is a longer-lasting depressive mood. The symptoms are less severe, but the depressive mood lasts for months or years. Work and day-to-day life are very tiring for the affected person.
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Burnout is characterised by physical and emotional exhaustion. It is usually triggered by a longer period of chronic exertion, such as at work or due to illness or family stress. Burnout is a risk factor for depression.
Although boreout causes the same symptoms as burnout, the triggers could not be more different: Underload and monotonous work are responsible for boreout.
A person’s metabolism changes after giving birth. This can lead to low mood known as the baby blues. If this lasts for more than a week, this can indicate postpartum depression. This doesn’t just affect new mothers. It can also affect fathers.
The body’s day-night rhythm changes during winter. Hormones and neurotransmitters get out of balance due to the darkness. The body produces more melatonin. Those affected sleep more and have little energy. They have a low mood and are withdrawn. Light therapy is one example of a suitable treatment.
Do you need additional information? Or would you like to know more about the various types of depression? Our health consultation advisors are happy to help you.
“Masked” depression gets its name from the fact that it only manifests in the form of physical complaints. Symptoms include headaches, respiratory problems, loss of appetite and gastrointestinal issues. It is treated just like normal depression – as long as there are no underlying physical causes.
Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the elderly. However, it is often difficult to recognise at first, and is therefore frequently confused with dementia. Symptoms, triggers and treatment options are similar to those for normal depression.
Young people show similar symptoms to adults. Children, on the other hand, often struggle to concentrate, are anxious and have trouble sleeping. Their performance at school often suffers. Depression at a young age is usually triggered by serious events in the school or family environment.
A GP can not only determine whether someone is actually suffering with depression, but also the type of depression. This is important as it’s the only way to optimally tailor any treatment to the complaints and requirements.
Melissa Biedermann (MSc) works as a health consultation advisor at Helsana. She is committed to providing psychology services for our customers. Melissa Biedermann provided the editorial team with advice and input for this article.