How to never get misdiagnosed: 6 types of depression

  • By Lindsay Tsang
  • 07 Jul, 2016

“I think I’m feeling symptoms of depression but I’m not sure. Are there different types of depression?”

Great question! In fact, there are at least 6 different types of depression you should know about. It’s important for you to know what they are so that you do not get misdiagnosed.

Here is a list of them and what you could do for each:

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

This is the type that most people know about. The tell-tale sign is if it is all consuming, affecting most areas of your life. It happens to ~ 8% of adults in their lifetime. This could be a one-time deal and come in bouts.

The first word of warning with Major Depressive Disorder is to not let it last long. because it has the potential to turn into Persistent Depressive Disorder if left untreated.

Persistent Depressive Disorder

This is also commonly known as dysthymia or chronic depression. Your symptoms may not be as severe as in Major Depression but it has been going on a long term.

Persistent depressive disorder is deeply entrenched and so takes longer to treat. This is the reason why I believe in long-term therapy as opposed to brief therapy. I’ve had clients who had to take from 6 months to 1-year time in talk therapy to see real gains. Learn more here . In the mean-time, your physician should be working along side if you need medication. Or as I mentioned in my last blog , you should get a nutritionist to make a better meal plan.

Bipolar Disorder

About 1% of Canadians will experience Bipolar Disorder. It’s different from MDD in that you get swings between depression and ‘manic’ moods. Manic meaning that there’s a heightened energy which could show in different ways. For some it means they feel great and bubbly, and for others heightened irritation. In major manic swings, people can make impulsive decisions.

The swings between the different moods can be long term or in a short swing. This is why people suffering from Bipolar Disorder are commonly misdiagnosed for MDD.

It is important to keep track of your moods over time to see if there is a pattern. Look for upward and downward swings in your mood.

Talk therapy, can help you recognize the patterns, and keep you on track to curb the swings.

Psychotic Depression

Within the population of people with depression, a part may have psychotic symptoms. It means seeing things, distorted reality, or hearing voices.

It’s not uncommon to hear voices that put you down and disables you. If you know someone in this scenario, it is a serious case and they should be admitted to the hospital. Medication for psychosis is effective.

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression happens in the first few weeks, up to a year after having a baby. The reason it's included as one of the types here is because of how common it is. 8-12% of mothers experience it. This could even include adoptive mothers or even spouses.

It is normal to feel the “baby blues” after such a life altering event. But if you are feeling down after two weeks, this is a cue you should seek help before it turns chronic.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Welcome to Canada, the true North strong and free. Many people notice that they get depressed about the same time of the year. And it is usually during the darker days.

As with any other types of depression, the important thing is to not allow it to become chronic. Plan safeguards over the darker seasons to avoid falling into the depressive moods. Light therapy is well known to help a majority of people suffering from SAD.


All these types of depression could be diagnosable by a family doctor. Don’t try to diagnose yourself but educate yourself so you do not get misdiagnosed!

What if you have a milder form of depression and just need some help to get a better perspective?

Whether it is severe or mild, I can help you sort things out. There are two top indicators of effectiveness in therapy. Motivation of the client and a good standing therapeutic relationship. Learn more here or leave me a message below!

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