Types of Depression in Adults

Everyone feels sad, blue, or disappointed at times. These feelings are usually temporary and pass within a few days. However, when feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or worthlessness persist and begin to interfere with your daily life, this may indicate depression.

If you are experiencing these feelings, specialists at NYU Langone’s Mood Disorders Consultation Service can help to determine the type of depression and the best course of treatment for you.

Major Depressive Disorder

Adults with major depressive disorder, commonly known as depression, may be irritable and moody, and they may lose interest in activities they previously enjoyed.

Other signs of depression include losing or gaining weight, sleeping too much or too little, and thinking of death or suicide. A person may have difficulty concentrating, paying attention, and working. Symptoms and their intensity vary from one person to the next.

Major depressive disorder is one of the most common mental health conditions in the United States. Adults of any age can experience it, though women are more prone to develop depression than men.

A combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors causes depression. The condition tends to run in families, but it can also occur in people without a family history of depression.

Emotional or physical trauma, the loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship, or chronic stress may trigger depression. It can, however, occur without an obvious trigger.

Persistent Depressive Disorder

Persistent depressive disorder is a chronic type of depression in which a person consistently experiences a depressed or irritable mood that lasts for two years or longer. This disorder resembles major depressive disorder but differs in that symptoms are fewer, less severe, and last longer, sometimes for years.

Because of the long duration and lower intensity of symptoms associated with persistent depressive disorder, people with this condition and those around them may not recognize that the person has persistent depressive disorder. Many people simply grow accustomed to the symptoms.

Postpartum Depression

Women are especially vulnerable to depression after giving birth, when hormonal and physical changes and the responsibility of caring for a newborn can be overwhelming. This condition, known as postpartum depression, may cause feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion, interfering with a new mother’s ability to care for herself and her baby.

About 10 to 15 percent of women experience postpartum depression after giving birth.

More Depression in Adults Resources

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