Everyone goes through periods of deep sadness and grief. These feelings usually fade away within a few days or weeks, depending on the circumstances. However, intense sadness that lasts more than 2 weeks and affects your ability to function may be a sign of depression.

Some common symptoms of depression are:

  • deep feelings of sadness
  • dark moods
  • feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
  • appetite changes
  • sleep changes
  • lack of energy
  • inability to concentrate
  • difficulty getting through your normal activities
  • lack of interest in things you used to enjoy
  • withdrawing from friends
  • thinking a lot about death or self-harm

Depression affects everyone differently, and you might only have some of these symptoms. You may also have other symptoms that are not listed here.

Keep in mind, it’s also normal to have some of these symptoms from time to time without having depression.

If your symptoms start to affect your day-to-day life, they may be the result of depression.

There are many types of depression. While these types share some common symptoms, they also have some key differences.

Here’s a look at types of depression and how they affect people.

Major depression is a common, recurring condition. According to 2017 research, about 17.3 million adults in the U.S. have experienced at least one major depressive episode.

People may also refer to major depression as:

People with major depression experience symptoms most of the day, every day.

Like many mental health conditions, it has little to do with what’s happening around you. You can have a loving family, friends, and a dream job. You can have the kind of life that others envy and still have depression.

Even if there’s no obvious reason for your depression, that doesn’t mean it’s not real or that you can simply tough it out.

Major depression is a severe form of depression that causes symptoms such as:

  • sadness, gloom, or grief
  • difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • lack of energy and fatigue
  • changes in appetite
  • unexplained aches and pains
  • loss of interest in formerly pleasurable activities
  • lack of concentration, memory problems, and inability to make decisions
  • feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
  • constant worry and anxiety
  • thoughts of death, self-harm, or suicide

These symptoms can last weeks or even months. Some people might have a single episode of major depression, while others experience it throughout their life. Regardless of how long your symptoms last, major depression can cause problems in your relationships and daily activities.

Persistent depressive disorder is depression that lasts for 2 years or more. People may also refer to this as dysthymia or chronic depression. Persistent depression might not feel as intense as major depression, but it can still strain relationships and make daily tasks difficult.

Some symptoms of persistent depression include:

  • deep sadness or hopelessness
  • low self-esteem or feelings of inadequacy
  • lack of interest in things you once enjoyed
  • appetite changes
  • changes to sleep patterns or low energy
  • concentration and memory problems
  • difficulty functioning at school or work
  • inability to feel joy, even on happy occasions
  • social withdrawal

Though it’s a long-term type of depression, the severity of symptoms can become less intense for months at a time before worsening again. Some people also have episodes of major depression before or while they have persistent depressive disorder. This is called double depression.

Persistent depression lasts for years at a time, so people with this type of depression may start to feel like their symptoms are just part of their normal outlook on life.

Manic depression involves periods of mania or hypomania, where you feel very happy. These periods alternate with episodes of depression. Manic depression is an outdated name for bipolar disorder. Hypomania is a less severe form of mania.

Signs of a manic phase include:

  • high energy
  • reduced sleep
  • irritability
  • racing thoughts and speech
  • grandiose thinking
  • increased self-esteem and confidence
  • unusual, risky, and self-destructive behavior
  • feeling elated, “high,” or euphoric

For a medical professional to diagnose you with bipolar I disorder, you have to experience an episode of mania that lasts 7 days, or less if hospitalization is required. You may experience a depressive episode before or following the manic episode.

Depressive episodes have the same symptoms as major depression, including:

  • feelings of sadness or emptiness
  • lack of energy
  • fatigue
  • sleep problems
  • trouble concentrating
  • decreased activity
  • loss of interest in formerly enjoyable activities
  • suicidal thoughts

In severe cases, episodes can include hallucinations and delusions. You can also have mixed episodes, in which you have symptoms of both mania and depression.

Hallucinations are when you see, hear, smell, taste, or feel things that aren’t really there. An example of this would be hearing voices or seeing people who are not present. A delusion is a closely held belief that’s clearly false or doesn’t make sense. But to someone experiencing psychosis, all of these things are very real and true.

Some people with major depression may experience periods of psychosis. This can involve hallucinations and delusions.

Medical professionals refer to this as major depressive disorder with psychotic features. However, some providers still refer to this phenomenon as depressive psychosis or psychotic depression.

Depression with psychosis can cause physical symptoms as well, including problems sitting still or slowed physical movements.

Perinatal depression, or major depressive disorder with peripartum onset, occurs during pregnancy or within 4 weeks of childbirth. People may refer to this as postpartum depression, but that term only applies to depression after giving birth. Perinatal depression can occur while you’re pregnant.

Hormonal changes during pregnancy and childbirth can trigger changes in the brain that lead to mood swings. The lack of sleep and physical discomfort that often accompany pregnancy and having a newborn do not help, either.

Symptoms of perinatal depression can be as severe as those of major depression and include:

  • sadness
  • anxiety
  • anger or rage
  • exhaustion
  • extreme worry about the baby‘s health and safety
  • difficulty caring for yourself or the new baby
  • thoughts of self-harm or harming the baby

People who lack support or have had depression before are at increased risk of developing perinatal depression, but it can happen to any person who’s pregnant or just gave birth.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). While PMS symptoms can be both physical and psychological, PMDD symptoms tend to be mostly psychological.

These psychological symptoms are more severe than those associated with PMS. For example, some people might feel more emotional in the days leading up to their period. However, someone with PMDD might experience a level of depression and sadness that gets in the way of day-to-day functions.

Other possible symptoms of PMDD include:

  • cramps
  • bloating
  • breast tenderness
  • headaches
  • joint and muscle pain
  • sadness and despair
  • irritability and anger
  • extreme mood swings
  • food cravings or binge eating
  • panic attacks or anxiety
  • lack of energy
  • trouble focusing
  • sleep problems

Similarly to perinatal depression, PMDD may relate to hormonal changes. Its symptoms often begin just after ovulation and start to ease up once you get your period.

Some people dismiss PMDD as just a bad case of PMS, but PMDD can become very severe and can include thoughts of suicide.

Seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder is depression that’s related to certain seasons. Medical professionals refer to this as major depressive disorder with seasonal pattern.

For most people with seasonal depression, it tends to happen during the winter months.

Symptoms often begin in the fall, as days start to get shorter and continue through the winter. Symptoms include:

  • social withdrawal
  • increased need for sleep
  • weight gain
  • daily feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or unworthiness

Seasonal depression may get worse as the season goes on, and it can lead to suicidal thoughts. Once spring rolls around, symptoms tend to improve. This may relate to changes in your bodily rhythms in response to the increase in natural light.

Situational depression, or adjustment disorder with depressed mood, looks like major depression in many ways.

However, situational depression is brought on by specific events or situations, such as:

  • the death of a loved one
  • a serious illness or other life threatening event
  • going through divorce or child custody issues
  • being in emotionally or physically abusive relationships
  • being unemployed or facing serious financial difficulties
  • facing extensive legal troubles

Of course, it’s normal to feel sad and anxious or even withdraw from others during events like these. However, situational depression happens when these feelings start to feel out of proportion with the triggering event and interfere with your daily life.

Situational depression symptoms tend to start within 3 months of the initial event, and symptoms can include:

  • frequent crying
  • sadness and hopelessness
  • anxiety
  • appetite changes
  • difficulty sleeping
  • aches and pains
  • lack of energy and fatigue
  • inability to concentrate
  • social withdrawal

Atypical depression refers to depression that temporarily goes away in response to positive events. Your doctor might refer to it as a major depressive disorder with atypical features.

Despite its name, atypical depression is not unusual or rare. It also does not mean that it’s more or less serious than other types of depression.

Having atypical depression can be particularly challenging because you may not always “seem” depressed to others (or to yourself). It can also happen during an episode of major depression or with persistent depression.

Other symptoms of atypical depression can include:

  • increased appetite and weight gain
  • disordered eating
  • poor body image
  • sleeping much more than usual
  • insomnia
  • heaviness in your arms or legs that lasts an hour or more a day
  • feelings of rejection and sensitivity to criticism
  • various aches and pains

If you think you might have any type of depression, it’s important to follow up with a doctor. All depression types discussed in this article are treatable, though it might take some time to find the right treatment for you.

If you’ve had a previous episode of depression and think it may be happening again, see a therapist or another mental health professional right away.

If you’ve never had depression before, start with a primary care physician. Some symptoms of depression can be related to an underlying physical condition that should be addressed.

Try to give your doctor as much information about your symptoms as you can. If possible, mention:

  • when you first noticed the symptoms
  • how they’ve affected your daily life
  • any other mental health conditions you have
  • any information about a history of mental illness in your family
  • all prescription and over-the-counter medications you take, including supplements and herbs

It might feel uncomfortable, but try to tell your doctor everything. This will help them give you a more accurate diagnosis and refer you to the right type of mental health professional.