Classifying depression is not always an easy thing to do. There are many different kinds of depression, each with similar symptoms. The reason categorizing depression is important is that it helps in accessing the right treatment for a particular type of depression since not all types require the same medications. This in itself is very important to understand. Not all medication dos the same thing and so must be chosen carefully based on the exact symptoms the depressive is suffering from.

Unipolar or Bipolar

To begin with depression can be unipolar or bipolar. Unipolar is the more common category that depression types fail into. It means that the person will suffer from only periods of depression. They will suffer only the lows. That is why most types of depression fit here. Bipolar means that a person suffers not only the terrible lows but highs as well. These highs, known as mania or manic episodes, mean that the person suffers the tetter-tottering effects of ups and downs.

Many researchers categorize depression in three distinctive classifications. These are melancholic depression, non-melancholic depression and psychotic depression. Some will add atypical depression as a forth category. They are explained as follows.


A melancholic depression, melancholic meaning to cause or communicate a feeling of sadness, is an uncommon type of depression affecting no more than two percent of depressives. It is suffered equally among those men and women who are depressives. The primary symptoms are severe episodes of depression accompanied by psychomotor disturbance. That is slow or nervous movements that go together with the ability to comprehend and use their intellectual aptitude. This type of depression almost never goes away by itself. It responds well to medication but only mildly to counseling.


Non-melancholic depression affects twenty five percent of women and seventeen percent of men. It is believed to be not of a biological nature but is caused by an outside circumstance and is the most common type of depression. The cause may be a loss, stress or something similar.

The primary symptoms are a prolonged mood of depression lasting more than two weeks and a problem handling social entanglements, work or school. Fortunately this type of depression will often self correct as the person deals with the issue or issues that have been the cause. This depression also reacts well to both medication and counseling.


Psychotic depression is even more uncommon than melancholic depression. All aspects of which are considered very severe. This includes the depressive episodes, psychomotor disturbance and delusional feelings often accompanied by hallucinations. This type of depression almost never self corrects but it does react well to medication.


The final category is atypical depression. Atypical itself means not typical, not the norm and that describes the various symptoms that accompany this form of depression. Those suffering from it often have an increase in their appetites and may eat enough to put weight on. Instead of being insomniacs they will sleep more than normal. They also suffer with an increased sensitivity to how others deal with them, called hypersensitivity.

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