Major clinical depression
Major clinical depression is also referred to as major depressive disorder, unipolar depression, or simply ‘depression’. It is diagnosed when symptoms of depression last more than two weeks, and negatively impact on everyday functioning.
Dysthymia is deemed as a persistent mild depression where symptoms are less severe but last longer. It is diagnosed when depression continues over two years.
Melancholia is a severe form of depression that causes slowed movement and a complete loss of pleasure in everything, or almost everything.
Psychotic depression occurs when a person experiencing depression has a distorted view of reality, and delusional thinking. Psychotic features may include hallucinations, when the person sees things or hears things that are not there and/or delusions, which include false beliefs, not shared by others in their culture or community. Examples of delusional thoughts include thinking you are being watched or under surveillance, believing you are an evil person and paranoid that everyone is against you or causing your health issues.
This type of depression occurs during pregnancy and/or post the birth of a child. An estimated 16 percent of women in Australia will experience depression within three months of the birth of their baby, and 10 percent experience depression during pregnancy.
To find out more about perinatal depression visit Beyond Blue.
This depression may include a fear and sensitivity of rejection by others, sleeping excessively, and overeating.
Bipolar disorder affects two percent of the population. Symptoms include periods of depression and also periods of elevated moods (hypomanic).
Cyclothymic disorder is often described as a milder form of bipolar disorder. The person experiences chronic fluctuating moods over at least two years, involving periods of hypomania (a mild to moderate level of mania) and periods of depressive symptoms, with very short periods (no more than two months) of normality between. The duration of the symptoms is shorter, less severe and not as regular, and therefore does not fit the criteria of bipolar disorder or major depression.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
SAD is not common in Australia but is related to experiencing depression, usually during winter, due to a lack of exposure to sunlight.