Depression: Types, Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Depression is a mood disorder in which a person feels sadness, loss, anxiety, numbness, or anger. Before depression treatment, you must know first what is depression and what are depression symptoms, and their causes.

What is Depression?

Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, loss of interest in anything, lack of pleasure in activities, and a number of other physical and emotional symptoms. It affects the way a person thinks, feels, and acts, often causing significant distress and impairment in daily life.

Different Types of Depression

Depression is a complex mental health condition, and there are different types of depression that can be diagnosed based on specific features and patterns of symptoms. Here are some common types of depression:

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

It is also referred to as clinical depression, this is the most common form of depression. It involves experiencing a persistent low mood and a loss of interest or pleasure in activities for at least two weeks. Other symptoms may include changes in appetite and weight, sleep disturbances, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, and thoughts of death or suicide. MDD can vary in severity, ranging from mild to moderate to severe.

Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)

PDD, formerly known as dysthymia, is a chronic form of depression characterized by long-lasting depressive symptoms that persist for at least two years in adults (or one year in children or adolescents). Individuals with PDD often experience a continuous depressed mood, accompanied by low self-esteem, disrupted sleep patterns, poor appetite or overeating, fatigue, and difficulty experiencing pleasure.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder involves alternating periods of depression and mania or hypomania. In contrast, during manic or hypomanic episodes, individuals may feel excessively high or euphoric, have increased energy levels, engage in risky behavior, experience racing thoughts, and have a reduced need for sleep. Bipolar disorder is categorized into different types, including bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder, cyclothymic disorder, and other specified and unspecified bipolar disorders.

Bipolar Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

SAD is a type of depression that follows a seasonal pattern, typically occurring during the fall and winter months when there is less sunlight. Symptoms include low mood, lack of energy, increased sleep duration, craving for carbohydrates, weight gain, and social withdrawal. SAD tends to improve during the spring and summer months.

Postpartum Depression (PPD)

PDD occurs after childbirth. It is characterized by intense feelings of sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that may interfere with the ability to care for oneself and the newborn. PPD can develop within the first few weeks after delivery, or even after a year.

These are just a few examples of the types of depression. It’s important to note that diagnosis and classification may vary depending on the specific criteria used in different diagnostic manuals, such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)..


The symptoms of depression can vary from person to person, but they generally involve persistent feelings of sadness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, and changes in thinking, behavior, and physical well-being.

Some Common Symptoms:

Emotional Symptoms:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness.
  • Loss of interest.
  • Frequent feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or excessive self-blame.
  • Irritability, restlessness, or agitation.
  • Decreased energy or persistent fatigue.
  • Difficulty experiencing positive emotions.

Cognitive Symptoms:

  • Difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or remembering things.
  • Slowed thinking, speaking, or moving.
  • Negative or pessimistic thoughts.
  • Preoccupation with death or suicidal thoughts.

Behavioral Symptoms:

  • Social withdrawal or isolation, avoiding social interactions.
  • Sleep disturbances (insomnia, excessive sleeping, or disrupted sleep patterns).
  • Loss of interest in personal hygiene or neglecting self-care.
  • Decreased productivity or difficulty performing daily tasks.
symptoms of depression

Physical Symptoms:

  • Persistent physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, or back pain.
  • Digestive issues or changes in bowel habits.
  • Chronic fatigue or low energy levels.
  • Slowed movements or lethargy.
  • Changes in appetite, sleep patterns, or sexual desire.

It’s important to note that these symptoms should be present most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks to be considered diagnostic criteria for depression. Additionally, not everyone with depression will experience all of these symptoms, and the severity and duration can vary.

Duration and Severity

To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must persist for at least two weeks and significantly interfere with daily functioning and well-being. It can range from mild to severe, and in severe cases, it can lead to feelings of hopelessness and suicidal ideation.

The duration and severity can vary among individuals and may change over time.


To meet the diagnostic criteria for depression, symptoms must persist for at least two weeks. This duration helps differentiate depressive episodes from temporary feelings of sadness that may occur in response to specific events. However, depressive episodes can last much longer, and some individuals experience chronic or recurring depression.


Depression can range from mild to moderate to severe. The severity is determined by the impact of symptoms on daily functioning and the level of distress experienced. Commonly used diagnostic criteria, such as those outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), help classify depression into different severity levels.

  • Mild Depression: Symptoms cause minimal impairment in functioning and only mildly interfere with daily life.
  • Moderate Depression: Symptoms are more pronounced, leading to noticeable difficulties in various areas of life, including work, relationships, and self-care.
  • Severe depression: Symptoms are severe, have a significant impact on daily functioning, and often result in an inability to perform routine tasks or engage in normal activities. Severe depression may also include suicidal thoughts or behavior.

The duration and severity can also influence the choice of treatment, as more severe cases may require more intensive interventions, such as medication and therapy.


The causes of depression are complex. It can involve a combination of biological, environmental, genetic, and psychological factors. It’s important to note that it can vary from person to person, and what may trigger depression in one individual may not have the same effect on another.

Here are some common causes:

Biological Factors:

  • Brain Chemistry: Imbalances in certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, which are involved in mood regulation, can contribute to the development of depression.
  • Genetics: A family history of mood disorders can increase the risk of developing depression. Certain genetic variations may also play a role in susceptibility to depression.

Psychological Factors:

  • Personal or Family History: Having a history of this disorder or other mental health disorders in the family or experiencing previous episodes of depression can increase the risk.
  • Personality Traits: Certain personality traits, such as low self-esteem, pessimism, or a tendency to be overly self-critical, can make individuals more susceptible to depression.
  • Childhood Trauma: Experiencing traumatic events during childhood, such as abuse, neglect, or loss, can increase the risk of developing this disorder later in life.
  • Chronic Stress: Persistent stress, whether from work, relationships, or other sources, can contribute to the development of this disorder.

Environmental Factors:

  • Life Events: Significant life changes, such as the loss of a loved one, divorce, job loss, or financial difficulties, can trigger this disorder in susceptible individuals.
  • Social Isolation: Lack of social support, feelings of loneliness, or social isolation can increase the risk of depression.
  • Substance Abuse: Substance abuse, including alcohol and drug use, can both be a cause and a consequence of this disorder.

It’s important to note that these factors interact with each other, and the development of this disorder is likely to involve a combination of multiple factors. Additionally, not everyone with risk factors or exposure to certain triggers will develop this disorder, and some individuals may experience this disorder without identifiable causes.

Depression Treatment

Depression is a treatable condition, and various approaches can be effective in managing and reducing its symptoms.


Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is an essential component of treatment. There are different types of therapy that may be used:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This type of therapy helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to depression. It focuses on developing coping skills, problem-solving techniques, and strategies to challenge negative beliefs.
  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT): IPT focuses on improving interpersonal relationships and addressing any difficulties with communication, grief, or life changes that may be contributing to this disorder.
  • Psychodynamic Therapy: This therapy explores how past experiences and unconscious processes may influence present emotions and behaviors, aiming to enhance self-awareness and insight.
Depression Treatment


Antidepressants may be prescribed to help ease the symptoms of this disorder. The most commonly prescribed types of antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs). These drugs work by balancing certain brain chemicals to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression.

It is important to consult a healthcare provider for proper evaluation and prescription, as the choice of medication may vary based on individual needs and considerations.

Brain Stimulation Therapies

In cases where psychotherapy and medication are not effective, or if the this disorder is severe, brain stimulation therapies may be considered. These therapies include:

  • Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT): ECT involves passing an electric current through the brain to induce a controlled seizure. It is typically used in severe cases of depression or when other treatments have not been successful.
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS): TMS uses magnetic fields to stimulate specific areas of the brain associated with mood regulation. It is typically used when other treatments have not provided sufficient relief from depression symptoms.

Lifestyle Changes

Making certain lifestyle changes can help with treatment of this disorder and overall well-being. This includes:

  • Regular Exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity, such as aerobic exercises or other forms of exercise, has been shown to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression.
  • Healthy Diet: Eating a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can help support overall well-being and may have a positive impact on mood.
  • Sleep Hygiene: Establishing healthy sleep habits, such as maintaining a regular sleep schedule, creating a relaxing bedtime routine, and ensuring a comfortable sleep environment, can contribute to improved sleep quality and overall mood.
Lifestyle Changes

Support Network

Building a strong support system can be beneficial in managing depression. This can include seeking support from family, friends, or support groups who can provide understanding, encouragement, and assistance during difficult times.

If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms and they are interfering with daily life and well-being, it is recommended to seek professional help from a healthcare provider.

NLP counselor can help you in that situation. Contact Brain Soul & You to come out from such a situation.


Saurabh Goel

Read more blogs on Glossary of Mental Health Terms – Different Types of Mental Disorders

Saurabh Goel

Saurabh Goel

He is the Founder and CEO of the Training and Counselling Company ‘Brain Soul & You’. He is an NLP Wellness Coach, Life Coach, Brain analyst, and Trainer for Education, Corporate, and Entrepreneurship. For more than 7 years, he delivered presentations on entrepreneurship, mind programming, and motivation. He did his in IT and later choose to be a successful psychologist. He is helping people in various ways through his counseling and training sessions.

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