These are our current categories according to the DSM V, but understand that the "types of depression" in women are likely much more complex and occur on a spectrum. I hope this is helpful for you in understanding yourself or someone you love better, but if it makes you feel stigmatized or pathologized disregard it.
The following types of depression in women linked to pages where you can learn more.
Major Depressive Disorder
Major Depressive Disorder is a dramatic departure from the previous functioning of the person experiencing it. People will often notice, and so will you. We usually will call this a depressive episode.
A woman with a major depressive disorder will have a depressed mood ( feel empty, hopeless, or tearful) or loss of interest and pleasure nearly every day, most days.
You also technically need four or more symptoms for over two weeks from this list below:
weight loss or gain
For a therapist to diagnose you with Major Depressive Disorder, these symptoms cannot be due to substance use, another mental health condition a medical condition and must cause problems in your functioning in a significant area of your life.
A major depressive episode can happen once or many times during a women's life, and each time it becomes more likely to happen.
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) with Peripartum Onset describes both postpartum depression ( depression that occurs during the first four weeks after delivery) and depression during pregnancy. Learn about anxiety during postpartum here.
Depression during pregnancy Antenatal Depression, also known as prenatal or perinatal Depression is present in millions of women. Although in the past we thought that women who had experienced Depression might be protected against relapse by their hormones, evidence and studies over the last twenty years have shown that the opposite is true. Learn about depression and pregnancy here.
Here are some more pages on this website how to deal with all types of depression in women:
Persistent Depressive Disorder
Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD) or dysthymic disorder might describe you if you have had low grade depression for a long time.
Though PDD is a less severe departure from your previous functioning than major Depression, it can still be very crippling. PDD has less symptoms then Major depressive disorder but LASTS at LEAST two years.
PDD in women consists of a depressed mood (feeling sad, empty, hopeless, or tearful) for most of the day, for more days than not, as indicated by subjective account or observation by others, for at least 2 years.
Presence while depressed of two or more of the following:
Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that goes from severe highs (mania) to extreme lows (depression). During lows or Depression, the same symptoms of Major Depression apply. Mood swings from manic to depressive can be gradual or abrupt. Each woman has a different pattern, and this can change throughout the illness.
To understand mood disorders in women, you need to understand episodes. Episode criteria are to the right.
Bipolar I consists of one or more manic episodes.
Technically no depressive episode must be present, but it almost always is.
Bipolar type II consists of one major depressive episode and at least one hypomanic episode. A person cannot be diagnosed with Bipolar type II disorder if they have had a manic episode.
Bipolar II = must equal a Major Depressive Episode + must have had a Hypomanic episode.
There are many pages on bipolar disorder on this website. Learn more here:
Cyclothymia is a mood disorder that consists of two years of episodes of hypomania and low-grade Depression. To be diagnosed with cyclothymia, you cannot have had a major depressive or manic episode during the first two-year period.
All forms of depression can have seasonal components.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder ( PMDD)
Diagnostic Criteria for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) according to the DSM 5
Timing of symptoms
A)In the majority of menstrual cycles, at least five symptoms must be present in the final week before the onset of menses, start to improve within a few days after the beginning of menses, and become minimal or absent in the week post menses
B) One or more of the following symptoms must be present:
C) One (or more) of the following symptoms must additionally be present to reach a total of 5 symptoms when combined with symptoms from Criterion B above
D) The symptoms are clinically significant distress or interference with work, school, usual social activities, or relationships with others.
E) Consider Other Psychiatric Disorders The disturbance is not merely an exacerbation of the symptoms of another disorder, such as major depressive disorder, panic disorder, persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia) or a personality disorder (although it may co-occur with any of these disorders).
Confirmation of the disorder
F) Criterion A should be confirmed by prospective daily ratings during at least two symptomatic cycles (although a provisional diagnosis may be made before this confirmation)
Exclude other Medical Explanations
G) The symptoms are not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., drug abuse, medication or other treatment) or another medical condition (e.g., hyperthyroidism).
One of the reasons that PMDD diagnosis is so rare is that PMDD cannot be diagnosed if a woman has a diagnosis of Depression or Bipolar Disorder. If that is the case, the woman is diagnosed with Pre Menstrual Exacerbation (PME).
Adjustment disorder with Depression
Women who have an adjustment disorder with depression have increased a stressor within three months of the signs of Depression. The symptoms of Depression are usually thought to be in excess to the stress and are usually expected to resolve themselves within six months. Adjustment Disorder with Depression cannot be diagnosed if better accounted for by another diagnosis or a worsening of a mental health condition you already have. These symptoms are normally expected to resolve within 6 months of the stressor going away
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596
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Medical information obtained from this website is not intended as a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you have a problem, you should consult a healthcare provider.