Mental Health Awareness

The Different Types of Depression

Matt Kuntz with ChatGPT

Matt Kuntz and ChatGPT

February 8, 2024

oil painting of a serene Montana landscapes on snowy morning
oil painting of a serene Montana landscapes on snowy morning

Written and Illustrated by ChatGPT through prompts by Matt Kuntz

Depression is a complex mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Its symptoms can range from mild to severe, impacting daily life, relationships, and overall well-being. While many are familiar with the general concept of depression, it's important to understand that this condition can manifest in various forms, each with unique causes, symptoms, and treatment approaches. In this blog post, we'll explore some of the different types of depression, including treatment-resistant depression, thyroid disorder depression, and depression possibly linked to the immune system, to provide a comprehensive guide for our NAMI Montana members and the broader public.

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

Major Depressive Disorder, commonly referred to as clinical depression, is characterized by a persistent feeling of sadness or a lack of interest in external stimuli. People experiencing MDD may face difficulties performing daily activities, feel hopeless, experience changes in appetite or sleep, and may even have thoughts of suicide. Treatment typically involves a combination of medication, psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes.

Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)

Previously known as dysthymia, Persistent Depressive Disorder represents a chronic form of depression. Individuals with PDD may experience symptoms for two years or more, but these symptoms are often less severe than those of major depression. However, the long-term nature of PDD can significantly affect a person's quality of life and relationships.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is characterized by mood episodes ranging from extreme highs (mania) to extreme lows (depression). The depressive episodes in bipolar disorder can resemble those of Major Depressive Disorder but require different treatment strategies, often including mood stabilizers in addition to antidepressants and psychotherapy.

Treatment-Resistant Depression

Some individuals may not respond to standard treatments for depression, such as medication and psychotherapy. This condition is known as treatment-resistant depression. Exploring alternative treatments, such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), or ketamine infusions, can be beneficial for those struggling with this form of depression.

Thyroid Disorder Depression

The thyroid gland plays a crucial role in regulating our body's metabolism, and its dysfunction can lead to mood disorders, including depression. Hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) is particularly linked to depressive symptoms. Treating the underlying thyroid disorder often improves or resolves the depressive symptoms, highlighting the importance of thorough medical evaluation in cases of depression.

Depression Linked to the Immune System

Emerging research suggests a potential link between depression and the immune system. Inflammation, a response triggered by the immune system, has been observed at higher levels in some individuals with depression. This insight opens the door to new treatment possibilities, such as anti-inflammatory medications, to address this specific cause of depression.


Depression is not a one-size-fits-all condition; it's a multifaceted disorder that requires a personalized approach to treatment. Understanding the different types of depression is crucial for individuals seeking help and for those supporting loved ones dealing with this condition. At NAMI Montana, we are committed to providing education, support, and advocacy for Montanans with mental health conditions and their families. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, we encourage you to reach out for professional help and to explore the resources available through our organization.Remember, you are not alone. Together, we can navigate the complexities of mental health and work towards a brighter, healthier future for all. For more information and resources, please visit the NAMI Montana website.

Related Research

Wang H, He Y, Sun Z, Ren S, Liu M, Wang G, Yang J. Microglia in depression: an overview of microglia in the pathogenesis and treatment of depression. J Neuroinflammation. 2022 Jun 6;19(1):132. doi: 10.1186/s12974-022-02492-0. PMID: 35668399; PMCID: PMC9168645.

Maitra M, Mitsuhashi H, Rahimian R, Chawla A, Yang J, Fiori LM, Davoli MA, Perlman K, Aouabed Z, Mash DC, Suderman M, Mechawar N, Turecki G, Nagy C. Cell type specific transcriptomic differences in depression show similar patterns between males and females but implicate distinct cell types and genes. Nat Commun. 2023 May 22;14(1):2912. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-38530-5. PMID: 37217515; PMCID: PMC10203145.

Lundberg J, Cars T, Lööv SÅ, Söderling J, Sundström J, Tiihonen J, Leval A, Gannedahl A, Björkholm C, Själin M, Hellner C. Association of Treatment-Resistant Depression With Patient Outcomes and Health Care Resource Utilization in a Population-Wide Study. JAMA Psychiatry. 2023 Feb 1;80(2):167-175. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2022.3860. PMID: 36515938; PMCID: PMC9856735.

Find more about depression and other mental health conditions through participating in NAMI Montana's education programs.

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